I grew up and lived in Los Angeles for many years, but it was only after I moved away that I began to fully appreciate the tremendous variety of films presented by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Early this year the Archive launched its first season of programming at the brand new Billy Wilder Theater in the Hammer Museum in Westwood, near the UCLA campus. I haven't been there yet, but it certainly sounds like a fabulous screening facility, and this weekend sounds like a great time to go see a movie (or two or four).

The Archive's New Chinese Cinemaseries, presented in collaboration with the California Institute of the Arts, gets underway tonight (October 5) with a double bill of Still Lifeand Dong, two works by Jia Zhangke that tackle a similar subject from both a fictional and documentary perspective. Jia was invited by the artist Liu Xiaodong to document his working process as he created one of his "monumental, fractured paintings." The location was the Three Georges area in China, where a huge dam is being constructed. Jia was inspired by the location to make the feature Still Life and also slightly "fictionalized" the documentary Dong.

The series continues with the US Premiere of Eye in the Sky on Saturday night. Eye in the Sky is the debut film by Yau Nai-hoi, who has written several films for director Johnny To (PTU, Running on Karma, Election). Tony Leung Ka-Fai is a criminal in this one and Simon Yam is a cop in the Surveillance Unit assigned to catch him.

Sunday takes a decided turn toward the independent with Huang Weikai's street musician doc Floating and Yang Heng's debut feature Betelnut, a "gently observational portrait of youthful aimlessness," as described in the program notes. The series continues through October 26 with screenings also taking place at the Roy and Edna Disney/Cal Arts Theater (REDCAT).
categories Cinematical