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Screening Room: French crime films at the Aero

Also: Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles; Cinefamily staff picks at Silent Movie Theatre

September 09, 2010|By Susan King, Los Angeles Times

With the critically acclaimed two-part French gangster thriller "Mesrine" still in theaters, the American Cinematheque is taking the opportunity to celebrate the illustrious tradition of the French crime film, which stretches back to the 1930s, with a screening series running Thursday through Saturday at the Aero Theatre. The mystery and intrigue begin with 1937's "Pepe le Moko," starring the inimitable Jean Gabin as a sexy fugitive hiding from the cops. The 1947 Henri-Georges Clouzot thriller, "Quai Des Orfevres," starring Bertrand Blier and French icon Louis Jouvet, follows.

On Friday, Jacques Deray's 1969 murder thriller "The Swimming Pool," with Alain Delon and Romy Schneider, will screen along with 1983's "One Deadly Summer," about an emotionally unstable woman ( Isabelle Adjani) who is obsessed with finding the soldiers who raped and impregnated her mother after World War II.

The retrospective closes Saturday with Georges Lautner's darkly funny 1963 gangster spoof "Crooks in Clover" and Alain Corneau's 1979 film "Serie Noire," based on Jim Thompson's "A Hell of a Woman." Patrick Dewaere stars.

Back in February, Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal appeared at the Cinematheque's Elia Kazan retrospective for a screening of the filmmaker's 1957 drama "A Face in the Crowd," in which she starred opposite Andy Griffith and Lee Remick. This Sunday, the Aero Theatre will pay tribute to Neal, who died last month of lung cancer, with screenings of "A Face in the Crowd" and 1963's western "Hud." She won the lead actress Oscar for her turn in the latter film as the housekeeper to a rancher ( Melvyn Douglas) and his slick, womanizing son ( Paul Newman).

Downtown fest

The Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles, which opened Wednesday, continues through Sunday at various venues. Among the 17 features scheduled to screen as part of the festival are "How Weed Won the West," "Sick Amour, "Echotone" and " The Red Hot Chili Peppers: Untitled Documentary." The festival's centerpiece gala world premiere screening of "Everything Will Happen Before You Die," will take place Saturday at the new Ronald F. Deaton Civic Auditorium.

Cinefamily faves

The Cinefamily staff at the Silent Movie Theatre are screening their favorite films every Thursday in September. The specially selected programming begins with 1965's "The Loved One," Tony Richardson's outlandish adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's satire of the funeral and movie industries in Hollywood. Robert Morse, Robert Morley, Rod Steiger, Liberace and John Gielgud are among the stars. The second feature is 2004's "Renegade," an off-kilter western starring Vincent Cassel, Juliette Lewis and Eddie Izzard.

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