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Dark Matters: The Films of William Friedkin

September 12, 2013 - September 21, 2013


When you think of William Friedkin, you think of The Exorcist. This singular thought has possessed much of his rep like an erroneous wraith. But that devilishly good chiller from 1973 is the exception to his rule, the rule being that darkness comes from within, not some satanic squatter. From the late sixties to the present, Friedkin has delved into the dark matter that dwells in the human soul, from the ill behavior of boys bashing boys in The Boys in the Band to the deadly but kinky incantations of Killer Joe. But in Friedkin’s most compelling cautionary tales like The French Connection, Cruising, and To Live and Die in L.A., good intentions breed bad results. This unholy trinity of policiers features righteous defenders of right, led by the inimitable Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman), who dive into their own dark sides, only to find violence, chaos, and obsession lingering in the complicated corners. Friedkin’s tribute to The Wages of Fear, the overlooked Sorcerer strips away all civil pretense from his desperate antiheroes, Roy Scheider and cohorts. Centered on a set piece with a rickety bridge suspended above a swollen river, the first thing that is washed away is the social contract. Daring and sometimes diabolical, William Friedkin has ingeniously illuminated our darkest matters. On the occasion of his newly published autobiography, The Friedkin Connection, we invite you to look into the light.

We are pleased to welcome William Friedkin for a book signing on September 21 and an Afterimage conversation with film critic Michael Guillen, following a screening of Sorcerer, on September 19. After a lifetime of looking lustily at cinema, Michael Guillen launched The Evening Class, a film-centric blog. His knowledgeable and unreserved prose has graced numerous publications, including Film International, MovieScope, Fandor, MUBI, GreenCine, and Twitch.

Steve Seid, Video Curator

Thursday, September 12, 2013
7:00 p.m. To Live and Die in L.A.
William Friedkin (U.S., 1985). Secret Service agent William "CSI" Petersen and counterfeiter William Dafoe dodge one another across a pastel-painted, smog-stained LaLaLand, in Friedkin’s poem of Los Angeles. It’s a SoCal where nothing is what it seems: cons carouse with artsy cool and cops crave kinks. (116 mins)

Saturday, September 14, 2013
8:30 p.m. The French Connection
William Friedkin (U.S., 1971). Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman) chases punks and corporate drug lords across New York (and under its elevated subway) in one of the finest gangster films ever made, and one of the greatest achievements of seventies Hollywood. Winner of six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Direction: see it on the big screen. (104 mins)

Sunday, September 15, 2013
5:00 p.m. The Boys in the Band
William Friedkin (U.S., 1970). Friedkin’s adaptation of Matt Crowley’s groundbreaking play involves the reunion of a group of gay men, right around the corner from Stonewall. In the midst of this reluctant revelry, male hysteria is all dressed up with nowhere to go. (118 mins)

Thursday, September 19, 2013
7:30 p.m. Sorcerer -- AT THE CALIFORNIA THEATER
William Friedkin (U.S., 1977). William Friedkin and Michael Guillen in conversation. U.S. Premiere of Remastered Version! Several desperate men, Roy Scheider included, must transport truckloads of nitroglycerin through a treacherous jungle in Friedkin’s existential thriller, based on The Wages of Fear. (121 mins) THIS SCREENING HAS BEEN MOVED TO THE CALIFORNIA THEATER. NEW START TIME 7:30 PM

Saturday, September 21, 2013
6:00 p.m. Book Signing with William Friedkin, followed by Cruising
William Friedkin (U.S., 1980). William Friedkin in person. Al Pacino goes undercover in New York’s leather bars and porn parlors to discover who’s killing the city’s gay men in Friedkin’s once controversial film. Paul Sorvino and Karen Allen costar. Friedkin introduces and signs copies of his new autobiography before the screening. (102 mins)

Saturday, September 21, 2013
6:00 p.m. Book Signing with William Friedkin, followed by Cruising

Saturday, September 21, 2013
8:50 p.m. Killer Joe
William Friedkin (U.S., 2011). William Friedkin in person. Matthew McConaughey plays a for-hire killer with more kinks than steel wool, chosen by dope-peddler Emile Hirsch to bump off the kid’s mother. A grubby tribute to family values, few of which are on display. Costarring Juno Temple and Gina Gershon. (102 mins)

This presentation is part of our ongoing series Afterimage: Filmmakers and Critics in Conversation, which is made possible by generous funding from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association®. Special thanks to Marcia Franklin at William Friedkin’s office and Ned Price and Linda Evans-Smith at Warner Bros.