Two years ago, director Michael Govan said he’d close LACMA’s historic film screening series—to no less opposition than that of Martin Scorsese. As of last month, Elvis Mitchell, esteemed critic, documentary filmmaker, pop culture commentator and contributing editor to Interview, A.i.A.‘s sister publication, has spearheaded its return.
PHOTO BY MARC GOLDSTEIN
Mitchell’s series, “Film Independent at LACMA,” is now gearing up for a second month of screenings and live screenplay readings. Mitchell hopes the series of weekly screenings, a mix of foreign, independent and classic films, and conversations with filmmakers will create a community of enthusiasts. “We all underestimate the appetite for being part of an audience, seeing a movie together with a group of strangers, and being caught up en masse,” Mitchell told A.i.A. “It’s something we can still pull off here.”
Mitchell’s curatorial choices seem bent on revitalizing the popular LACMA audience.
October included Chaplin’s Modern Times and Bruce Robinson’s now-in-theaters adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s novel The Rum Diary.
Mitchell admires the efforts of the charismatic Ron Haver, LACMA’s director in the ’80s, who lifted the Museum’s film programming to international acclaim, drawing the likes of Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis to LACMA. “I’m trying to stand in Ron’s shadow a bit,” Mitchell said.
Director Jason Reitman’s “Live Read” of The Breakfast Club, a highlight of October’s offerings, involved a handpicked cast performing an interpretation of John Hughes’s cult favorite. The Breakfast Club’s popular following amazes Mitchell. “No one would’ve called The Breakfast Club a classic a couple decades ago. I called John Hughes the most influential director of the ’80s and people made fun of me,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell’s selections for the November installment include Steve McQueen’s Shame, for which both director and award-winning actor Michael Fassbender will be in attendance, and Alexander Payne’s The Descendants. Reitman will direct another “Live Read,” as yet unnamed and uncast.
FIND THE COMPLETE SCHEDULE FOR THE SERIES HERE.