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American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre Presents...
Movies on the Big Screen Since 1940!
1328 Montana Avenue at 14th Street in Santa Monica

Click to print Page 1 or Page 2 or Full Text of an March Calendar!
Series compiled by:Gwen Deglise with the assistance of Grant Moninger.

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Special Thanks to:  Rebecca Fisher/ BLOCK-KORENBROT; Suzanne Leroy and Mike Schlesinger/; SONY REPERTORY; Sony Pictures Classics; The Weinstein Company; Olivia Colbeau-Justin/GAUMONT, Marc LIBERT& Grégoire MELIN/EUROPA CORPORATION


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SOLD OUT SCREENINGS: There will be a waiting line for Sold Out screenings. Tickets often become available at the door the night of an event.

Sold out programs will be indicated here if sold out 24 hours in advance of screening date.

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Tickets are $10 general admission unless noted otherwise.
(Aero by series)
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24-Hour Information: 323.466.FILM
Contact Us
The American Cinematheque is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization.
The Film Programs of the American Cinematheque are presented at the newly re-opened and renovated Aero Theatre at 1328 Montana Avenue in Santa Monica and at the magnificently renovated, historic 1922 Grauman's Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
Photo Credit: Barry Gerber. Aero Theatre (c) 2004.

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<< March 9 - 11, 2007 >>>

Luc Besson Retrospective

Discuss this series with other film fans on:


This Series is an Aero Theatre exclusive!


Presented in association with TV5 and Sony Pictures Classics


One of the most phenomenally successful and influential French directors of the past two decades, genre specialist Luc Besson (SUBWAY, LA FEMME NIKITA, LEON (aka THE PROFESSIONAL), THE FIFTH ELEMENT, THE BIG BLUE) has had an affectionate fascination for the sea that originally started him on the road to becoming a marine biologist. But these dreams came crashing down when he suffered a diving accident at the age of 17. After a stint in the military, then a short Hollywood sojourn as a studio hand at age 19, he returned to France with the determination to become a filmmaker. In 1980, at the age of 20, he made his first film, a short called "L'Avant Dernier" which he remade as his award-winning first feature, the post-apocalyptic LE DERNIER COMBAT in 1983. Besson's next, a black comedy called SUBWAY, received an astonishing 13 Cesar nominations. More kudos followed with his subsequent film, the shot-in-English THE BIG BLUE, winning four Cesars and enjoying an astonishing commercial success in France, something unfortunately not repeated when the film was drastically cut and re-edited for American release. But Besson's international renown increased by leaps and bounds with the release of popular cult action hits LA FEMME NIKITA (1990) and LEON (aka THE PROFESSIONAL) (1994). Besson went on to more audience and critical acclaim with 1998's THE FIFTH ELEMENT, which won him the Cesar for Best Director that year. During the last eight years, the bulk of Besson’s output has been as producer with easily more than three dozen credits in that capacity, the majority being in the vein of the hellzapoppin’, tongue-in-cheek cult action genre that has made him famous. The upcoming ANGEL-A (released in France in 2005) and the just-released, animated ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES are his first directorial efforts since the release of THE MESSENGER: THE STORY OF JOAN OF ARC in 1999.

We are thrilled to welcome producer/director Luc Besson to the Aero Theatre.



Friday, March 9 - 7:30 PM

Sneak Preview!

ANGEL – A, 2006, Sony Pictures Classics, 90 min. Dir. Luc Besson. Down-on-his-luck petty criminal Andre (Jamel Debbouze) has reached the end of his rope. Irreversibly in debt to a local gangster, with no one to turn to, his only solution is to plunge himself into the Seine. Just as he is perched to do so, a fellow bridge-jumper beats him to the water. Diving in, he saves Angela (Rie Rasmussen), a beautiful, statuesque and mysterious woman. As they pull themselves out of the water, the two form a bond and venture into the streets of Paris determined to get Andre out of the hole he has found himself in. As Andre will find out, not all debts are financial, and sometimes the solutions to life’s problems are found in the unlikeliest of places. Is Angela simply repaying Andre for his kindness, or are there other forces at work beyond his comprehension? "…a fable about self-acceptance set in a ravishingly lensed, hauntingly vacant Paris… Shimmering in the early morning light, it's a city whose streets and bridges exist only for Andre and Angela -- and for our aesthetic pleasure." – Lisa Nesselson, Variety   Discussion following with director Luc Besson.



Saturday, March 10 - 7: 30 PM

Double Feature:

SUBWAY, 1985, Gaumont, 104 min. Director Luc Besson’s second film and first bona-fide hit is a delicious neo-noir, live action comic book, a hymn to the new wave rhythms of nocturnal street life and private romantic fantasies. Inhabitant of the Paris subway and wannabe rocker Fred (Christopher Lambert) falls for Helena (Isabelle Adjani) after first trying to blackmail her. A rogue’s gallery of colorful sub-urban dwellers make up Fred’s neighbors. With Richard Bohringer, Jean-Hugues Anglade. "Subway brings to mind Orson Welles' quip about the cinema being the greatest electric train set a boy could have." – Variety

LEON (aka THE PROFESSIONAL), 1994, Sony Repertory, 145 min. Director Luc Besson's stylish, ultra-kinetic tale of the romance between introverted hitman Jean Reno and teenage waif Nathalie Portman had 26 minutes of footage deleted for the U.S. release. This is the complete international version, which restores key scenes detailing the growing love affair between Leon and his young protege. An atmospheric pulp saga co-starring an over-the-top Gary Oldman as the ruthlessly homicidal DEA agent searching for Portman, an eyewitness to his massacre of her family. "…one pretty awesome action movie. Set in the inflamed lower depths of New York City, this is the story of a doomed man redeemed by his love for a lost girl." – Hal Hinson, Washington Post. Discussion in between films with director Luc Besson.



Sunday, March 11 - 7:30 PM

Director's Cut:

THE BIG BLUE, 1988, Sony Repertory, 168 min. Although it was originally released in the USA in a severely-edited form and received mixed reviews, this full length original version was a smash hit in France, nominated for eight Cesar Awards and winner of two, including Best Music. Sea-lover Luc Besson lets his devotion to all things oceanic, particularly the experience of diving, run the full gamut of emotions here, making the water a character in and of itself. His very personal film is part mystical quest, part bittersweet romantic comedy, with Jacques (Jean-Marc Barr), who lost his diver father to the ocean, obsessed with proving himself more dolphin than man. It is just too bad that clerk Johanna (Rosanna Arquette) meets and falls in love with him while she is on a trip to Peru. She begins to follow Jacques on his mission, journeying to Taormina, Italy, where he will compete against childhood friend, Enzo (Jean Reno) for a deep sea free-diving championship (diving without oxygen tanks). "The real star of the film, however, is the third corner of the love triangle, the sea itself. Sumptuously captured by Besson's camera, and brought to life by Eric Serra's haunting score, it is sometimes beautiful and calm, other times dark and threatening…There are so many reasons to love this film, and an opportunity to catch it in all its soaring majesty on the big screen should not be missed." – Ben Stephens, Edinburgh University Film Society Rosanna Arquette will appear in person for discussion.