The American Cinematheque Brings “Bleak Week” To Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre And The Los Feliz Three Theatre

33 Films From 18 Countries In One Week.

By Dolores Quintana

Sometimes when things are tough and you’re feeling down, it helps to have a good cry or watch a sad film. If you feel that pandemic angst, Wednesday, June 1 through Wednesday, June 8 is an excellent time to get your fill of some of cinema’s most sorrow-filled films. 

The American Cinematheque definitely has a cure for the blues with their latest film series entitled Bleak Week: The Cinema of Despair. After watching some of these films, even life going into the third year of a worldwide pandemic might not feel so bad. The biggest plus is that these films are some of the most beautiful and emotionally charged films in cinema history. You can buy tickets here

The films will be screened locally at the wonderful Aero Theatre at 1328 Montana Ave in Santa Monica and, for those looking for a short road trip, the amazing Los Feliz Theatre at 1822 N. Vermont Ave in Los Feliz. 

In a statement, Grant Moninger, Creative Director and Director of Programming at the American Cinematheque said, “We believe there is an audience for great films that are often bleak, that do not shy away from the darkest sides of humanity. There is a longing among modern audiences to be challenged. These audiences welcome an exploration of empathy and understanding, through the art of film. During troublesome times, we do not singularly need the art of comfort and distraction, we also need to engage in the art of honesty and compassion. These are some of the finest films ever made, made by filmmakers who are masters of their craft. While thematically depressing, the supreme storytelling brings a sense of solace to us all.”

Those 33 films from 18 countries include films from the UK, France, Italy, USA, Mexico, China, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, Ukraine, Brazil, and many more. 

What else could make this experience even better? Here’s the answer: the Cinematheque has arranged for these special guests at some of the screenings: Gus Van Sant, Bernard Rose, Buddy Giovinazzo, and Mick Jackson.

But wait, there is, even more, to catch a cinephile’s eye here. A number of the films will be premieres or rare archival prints such as the following: 

RATCATCHER, the Los Angeles Premiere of 4K Restoration
THE SEVENTH VICTIM, a rare 35mm print from the Library of Congress
KIDS in 35mm, courtesy of the Academy Film Archive
THE SWEET HEREAFTER, 35mm courtesy of the TIFF Film Reference Library
SPOORLOOS in 35mm courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive
BREAKING THE WAVES in 35mm courtesy of the Academy Film Archive

Here is the list of all of the films that are part of this series and its a list of some of the most impressive and, yes, inspiring cinematic achievements in film history:

SALÒ, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM
RATCATCHER
VAGABOND
THREADS
BASTARDS
CHINATOWN 
SORCERER
SHAME
LOS OLVIDADOS
MAN OF THE WEST
ELEPHANT
COME AND SEE
THE ASCENT
THE MIST
WINTER LIGHT
AN ELEPHANT SITTING STILL
THE KREUTZER SONATA
COMBAT SHOCK
THE RETURN
LEVIATHAN
FUNNY GAMES
AU HASARD BALTHAZAR
SÁTÁNTANGÓ
THE TRIBE
PIXOTE
KIDS
THE SEVENTH VICTIM
KORCZAK
THE SWEET HEREAFTER
SPOORLOOS
PENN & TELLER GET KILLED
BREAKING THE WAVES
CHINESE ROULETTE

Don’t miss a chance to watch something more than this week’s regulation release. This is a list of films that are cinematic experiences that will never be forgotten and a chance to watch them in the best way possible, at a theatre where cinema is loved and cherished.

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