"We pursue a policy of trying to get the best films from all over the world, aiming at more discriminating tastes among moviegoers," Max Laemmle says. With his son Robert, Laemmle operates 17 screens in nine theaters.
Laemmle's father's cousin, Carl Laemmle, gained fame for the family name with the 1912 founding of Universal Pictures. Max Laemmle, 80, was born and raised in Germany; he started working for Universal as a young man, later becoming general manager of distribution with headquarters in Paris. He lived in Paris for 10 years, moving his family to the United States in the spring of 1939.
Once in the United States, Laemmle became involved in film exhibition. Eventually his son joined him and became his partner. Their first theater was the Los Feliz, at that time a neighborhood second-run movie house.
"It was only because of my predilection for European films that once in a while I would book a foreign film," Laemmle recalls. "The audience showed approval and asked why we didn't do that more often. Then they asked, 'Why don't you go whole hog into the art business?' That's what we ultimately did."
After great deliberation, Laemmle chose the following 10 art films as his personal favorites (following each title is the film's director and year of release):