WARRIOR'S DIRECTOR WALTER HILL IN PERSON
Walter Hill began his long career first as an assistant director on classic films like BULLITT and TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN before becoming a screenwriter for Sam Peckinpah (THE GETAWAY), John Huston (THE MACKINTOSH MAN) and many others. With his 1975 directorial debut, HARD TIMES, Hill announced himself as a stylist interested in defining character through action, and in action as presented via a clean, expressive visual design.
Merging the sensitivity and intelligence of European arthouse films with the visceral, violent pleasures of American genre filmmaking, Hill went on to breathe new life into action movies with THE DRIVER, THE WARRIORS, and 48 HRS., taking detours along the way into comedy, Westerns and even musicals (the singular and uncategorizable STREETS OF FIRE). The American Cinematheque at Aero Theatre is proud to present an in-person tribute to the director, which includes a selection of his classics as well as the Los Angeles premiere of his latest film, the provocative, riveting neo-noir thriller THE ASSIGNMENT, starring Michelle Rodriguez and Sigourney Weaver, which opens in theaters on April 7.
Friday, April 7th 7:30pm
THE WARRIORS (1979)
One of director Walter Hill’s finest films assumes a dark, comic book style, following the Coney Island Warriors as they run for their lives after being fingered for the murder of a peacemaking gang leader. The gangbangers brave a gauntlet of ghetto booby traps, unseen marauders, unsympathetic cops and rabid, teen NYC wolfpacks as they try to reach safe home turf. Tough-talking Michael Beck, James Remar and Deborah Van Valkenburgh lead a snarling young cast.
STREETS OF FIRE (1984)
One of the great guilty pleasures of the 1980s, director Walter Hill’s spectacular, rock & roll-fueled pulp classic roars at you like a souped-up roadster with the radio going full blast. B-movie god Michael Paré stars as an enigmatic loner who comes back to town to save former gal-pal Diane Lane from the clutches of sinister biker chieftain Willem Dafoe (sporting one of the wickedest hair-dos known to mankind.) Outtasight, baby! Discussion between films with director Walter Hill, moderated by Jim Hemphill.
Saturday, April 8th 7:30pm
THE DRIVER (1978)
An extremely tough, pared-to-the-bone noir, vastly underrated on its initial release, THE DRIVER pits existential getaway driver Ryan O’Neal against pitbull detective Bruce Dern in a cat-and-mouse pursuit through the wasted underbelly of mid-’70s Los Angeles. Walter Hill’s homage to Jean-Pierre Melville and the Euro crime film offers spectacular car chases and, in her first Hollywood film, Isabelle Adjani.
HARD TIMES (1975)
Walter Hill’s debut feature as director is this no-holds-barred tale of a bare-knuckle boxer (Charles Bronson) in Depression-era New Orleans and the fast-talking promoter (James Coburn) who parlays Bronson’s talents as a pugilist into quick money. “There's the temptation, with material like this, to fashion parables and give the characters portentous speeches about the meaning of it all. But HARD TIMES never steps back from itself, never lectures us. Its theme is buried in its material, and it's a hard-edged action film all the way.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.
Discussion between films with director Walter Hill, moderated by Josh Olson.
Sunday, April 9th 7:30 PM
GERONIMO: AN AMERICAN LEGEND (1993 / 70mm Print!)
A modern action master, director Walter Hill also displays a reflective side and almost Rossellini-esque historical perspective in his retelling of the last days of resistance of the great Apache leader. One of the most impressive and overlooked late Westerns. With Wes Studi, Matt Damon, Jason Patric, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman and Scott Wilson. Music by Ry Cooder.
Program notes by Aero Theatre.