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A Lennon Time is Guranteed for All! A Celluloid Celebration of John Lennon’s 70th Birthday


September 30th - October 3rd

A Lennon Time is Guranteed for All! A Celluloid Celebration of John Lennon's 70th Birthday

John Lennon loved movies. It was in a Liverpool cinema that he first encountered Elvis Presley onscreen. It led to John taking up music as his rock 'n' roll ticket-to-ride out of the nowhere that was post-war Liverpool. One year later he was playing live to 400 villagers at a church garden party when he met Paul McCartney - the Big Bang that led to the Beatles. And exactly 10 years after that, he and Paul (together with George and Ringo) were playing live to 400 million members of the global village as they performed "All You Need Is Love." No scriptwriter would have dared to write such an implausible scenario. Yet it all happened in what Derek Taylor rightly described as the 20th century’s greatest romance. Celebrate the 70th anniversary of John Lennon’s birth with a rich mix of features and documentaries that capture the insouciant charm, biting wit and inspiring music that has endeared Lennon to every generation to encounter his unique genius. And under it all, the films also show the emotional scars and pain that he channeled into his music and activism. From the exuberant lightning-caught-in-a-bottle of WHAT’S HAPPENING! to the giddy pop art of HELP! ... From the insightful IMAGINE to the heart-breaking mind games played on him revealed in THE US VS JOHN LENNON - his fearless honesty and passion shine like a beacon. TWO OF US poignantly captures the last time John and Paul met, while our L.A. premiere of NOWHERE BOY portrays their first meeting, the evolution of the Beatles and the entire backdrop of John’s complex childhood in a way that helps the audience "understand the little child inside the man." And we’re truly blessed to have his original band mates the Quarrymen performing a full concert on opening night (after NOWHERE BOY). A splendid time is guaranteed for all! Celebrate the 70th anniversary of John Lennon’s birth with a rich mix of features and documentaries that capture the insouciant charm, biting wit and inspiring music that has endeared Lennon to every generation to encounter his unique genius.

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Thursday, September 30 - 8:00 PM

Movie & Concert 70th Birthday Salute to John Lennon! In Person: Director Sam Taylor-Wood & star Aaron Johnson Los Angeles Premiere! NOWHERE BOY, 2010, The Weinstein Co., 98 min. Dir. Sam Taylor-Wood. This dramatic and poignant story of a teenage John Lennon follows his struggles with the complexities of his home life and his initiative to start the band The Quarrymen as his rock 'n' roll ticket to ride out of his painful circumstances. Starring Aaron Johnson and Kristin Scott Thomas. Discussion between the film and concert with director Sam Taylor-Wood, star Aaron Johnson plus the Quarrymen and Beatles scholar Martin Lewis. Special ticket prices: $25 general, $23 student/senior; and $20 Cinematheque members. No passes accepted. Following: The Quarrymen will play a full set of the songs they performed with John, Paul and George in the early days.

Friday, October 1 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature: Ultra-Rare Documentaries! WHAT’S HAPPENING! THE BEATLES IN THE USA, 1964, Maysles Films, 81 min. The Maysles Brothers were commissioned by UK TV network to document The Beatles' first U.S. visit. After completing the 30-minute program, they fashioned the wealth of material they'd shot into a full-length feature - but their hoped-for theatrical release in 1964 was quashed because of contractual conflicts. The original full-length film - as shot, edited and directed in 1964 by the Maysles Brothers - has rarely been seen anywhere.

MIGHTY GOOD! THE BEATLES 1976, Isolde Films, 60 min. British enfant terrible Tony Palmer first befriended John Lennon in 1963. In 1968, Lennon instigated Palmer's film "All My Loving," which provocatively documented the massive cultural earthquake of late ‘60s music. Thrilled with that, Lennon suggested in 1972 that Palmer make a PBS "Civilization"-type series chronicling 20th century popular music. Palmer took up the challenge and both Lennon and McCartney assisted him in producing this first-ever overview documentary about The Beatles as one of the series' set-pieces.

"Things They Said Today: Reflections on A Hard Day's Night", 2002, Shenson Films, 35 min. Dir. Martin Lewis. A penetrating documentary about the instigation, production and release of the Beatles' first movie. With rare scenes and exclusive interviews.

Saturday, October 2 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature: Ultra-Rare L.A. Screening of the Digitally Restored 1965 Classic! HELP!, 1965, Apple, 81 min. Dir. Richard Lester. Now recognized as a pop-art classic in the Lester canon, HELP! overflows with sumptuous mid-era Beatles tunes and the charismatic cheek and charm of the Fab Four - who incidentally (by their own admission) were high as kites throughout the shoot! This digitally restored print has only screened once before in L.A. Don't miss this special salute to John.

L.A. Premiere! TWO OF US, 2000, Aaronson/Falk Prods, 89 min. Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg who had directed The Beatles early promotional music films and their 1970 swansong LET IT BE, made this charming dramatization of the true-life last encounter between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Nineteen years after these musical blood brothers first met, what would be their last time together is charming, funny, insightful and poignant. Introduction by Beatles scholar Martin Lewis.

Sunday, October 3 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature: IMAGINE: JOHN LENNON, 1988, Warner Bros., 100 min. Director Andrew Solt sifted through hundreds of hours of footage to shape this evocative and definitive portrait of John Lennon. Narrated by Lennon himself, using the wealth of interviews he gave during his life, the film somehow crams in the 10 Beatles years, 10 solo years and 20 formative years that preceded their fame.

THE U.S. VS JOHN LENNON, 2006, Lionsgate, 99 min. Dirs. David Leaf & John Scheinfeld. That John Lennon was feared by the president of the United States speaks volumes. This powerful documentary explores the illegal abuse of power by Richard Nixon’s White House to sic the FBI on Lennon and reveals Lennon's courage in the face of all that Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover did to try to muzzle him.