The UCLA Film & Television Archive’s summer 2023 program showcases a diverse lineup of cinematic and television offerings across a range of artistic styles, from early works combining electronic music and moving images to contemporary feature-length and short films on queer experiences and episodes of cult-classic TV.
The season begins July 7 with a three-night tribute to the award-winning composer and electronic music pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto, who died earlier this year. Co-presented with the Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities, “Ryuichi Sakamoto: A Tribute” (July 7–9) captures Sakamoto’s boundless creative spirit and delves into his innovative explorations at the intersection of music, sound, images and technology. The “async surround” program (July 8) includes screenings of short-film competition winners inspired by Sakamoto’s groundbreaking 2017 album “async,” recorded after his cancer diagnosis. “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence” (U.K./Japan, 1983), the World War II–set film for which Sakamoto composed the score and starred alongside David Bowie and Takeshi Kitano, screens on July 9.
“The Archive’s summer programs reflect the rich breadth of past and modern-day storytelling through a multitude of perspectives, historical moments and identities,” said May Hong HaDuong, director of the Archive, a division of UCLA Library. “This season deepens ongoing partnerships and creates new encounters for our audiences — from a collaboration with the Hammer Museum, ‘Food and Film: Farming’ to a series exploring the allure captured in the scenery of iconic pictures with ‘San Francisco Plays Itself.’”
Running over five nights between Aug. 19 and 25, “Masc: Trans Men, Butch Dykes, and Gender-nonconforming Heroes in Cinema” brings stories of queer, masculine identity from the Criterion Channel to the big screen with films such as the documentary “Chavela” (2017), exploring the celebrated Costa Rican–Mexican singer Chavela Vargas, whose approach to music and life resonated with queer audiences, and “Pariah” (2011), filmmaker Dee Rees’ debut feature about a young, queer Black woman.
As part of the ongoing Archive Television Treasures series, remarkable cult-classic TV gets a showing with “Ernie Kovacs: Television of the Absurd” (July 22), a tribute to the legendary comedian, actor and writer, and “Honey West: TV Private Eye ’65” (Aug. 26), the trailblazing series starring Golden Globe Award–winning actress Anne Francis as a detective and inspired by Britain’s spy show “The Avengers.”
The series “Telegrams from the Edge: The Message Picture in the Age of Noir” will run from July 14 to Aug. 6, presenting a sample of Hollywood message films from the 1950s and ’60s in the film noir and pulp genres.
The first night of “Flaming Creatures: Jack Smith, Barbara Rubin and the Cinematic Orgiastic” (July 15–16) marks the 60th anniversary of the double-bill theatrical premiere of Smith’s “Flaming Creatures” (1962), in which images and bodies slide over one another in a tumult of freedom and feeling, and Ken Jacobs’ “Blonde Cobra” (1963) at the Bleecker Street Cinema in New York. The second evening of the program features three works inspired by “Flaming Creatures”: Ron Rice’s Chumlum (1963), Jud Yalkut’s “Kusama’s Self-Obliteration” (1967) and Barbara Rubin’s “Christmas on Earth” (1963).
To view the full summer 2023, including additional programs and details, visit the UCLA Film & Television Archive events page.
In-person screenings take place at the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd. (map). All programs are free through June 2024, thanks to a gift from an anonymous donor.