Friday, April 13
Belle de Jour, Luis Buñuel's taboo-busting international hit about an unsatisfied housewife who moonlights as a high-class prostitute, has had a new 4K digital restoration to celebrate its 50th anniversary. This may be the ultimate Catherine Deneuve vehicle, with the French beauty's masklike visage and sculptural features concealing a wellspring of dark fantasy. This approach is mirrored in Buñuel's aesthetic strategy as well: serene, unruffled, yet always in total command of the kinky material. Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.; Fri., April 13, 12:30 p.m. (also 2:50, 5:10, 7:30 & 9:45 p.m.); runs through Thu., April 19; $9. (310) 473-8530, landmarktheatres.com.
Noir City: Hollywood, the longest-running festival of vintage crime films in Los Angeles, kicks off its 20th year at the Egyptian. The first program in the 10-night series begins with a 35mm screening of The Blue Dahlia, a classic yet seldom seen postwar murder mystery. The implacable Alan Ladd plays a returning veteran whose best bud's wife is murdered shortly upon their arrival in Los Angeles. Raymond Chandler's original screenplay furnishes the entire cast (including a peak peekaboo Veronica Lake) with enough piquant dialogue to last several noirs. I Love Trouble, a private-eye yarn starring Franchot Tone, will conclude the evening. Eddie Muller of the Film Noir Foundation will provide an introduction. Cocktails will be served in the courtyard between features. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., April 13, 7:30 p.m.; $15. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.
Stan Brakhage, whose radically subjective style signaled a sea change in American avant-garde filmmaking, is the subject of a special weekend tribute at the Billy Wilder Theater. Titled Metaphors on Vision after Brakhage's 1963 manifesto (newly reprinted by Anthology Film Archives and Light Industry), the series' first night features several key transitional works. Among them are Anticipation of the Night (1958), framed as a phantasmagoric dream occurring the moment before death; and The Dead (1960), based on Brakhage's sojourn in Europe. All films are presented in 16mm, the postwar experimentalist's weapon of choice. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., April 13, 7:30 p.m. (different program Sat., April 14, 7:30 p.m.); $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu.
Saturday, April 14
The second night of Noir City will be a highlight, simply by virtue of the appearance of James Ellroy, the unofficial Los Angeles laureate of hardboiled crime fiction. Ellroy will appear in conversation with Eddie Muller following a 35mm screening of L.A. Confidential, the highly decorated 1997 police thriller helmed by Curtis Hanson. Years ago, Muller and Ellroy teamed up for two DVD commentary tracks (Crime Wave and The Lineup), and if Saturday's Q&A is half as lively, audiences are in for an entertaining night. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., April 14, 7:30 p.m.; $15. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.
Wednesday, April 18
New Wave icon Jean-Luc Godard is the focus of a four-night retrospective at the Aero Theatre coinciding with the release of Godard Mon Amour, the new biopic based on the director's relationship with Anne Wiazemsky. La Chinoise will screen first in a luscious DCP from Kino Lorber. Godard's brightly colored provocation about a group of young Maoists was released slightly ahead of the infamous May 1968 uprisings, and may have been at least partially responsible for a real-life student revolt at Columbia University. Artfully blurring the line between fiction and documentary, the film is an essential record of the 1960s counterculture. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Wed., April 18, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Nathaniel Bell
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