After six years of silence, the venerable Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe is firing up the projectors once again. The theater was purchased earlier this year by famed fantasy author (and longtime Santa Fe resident) George R.R. Martin. The 129-seat theater has spent the summer undergoing a major facelift and will reopen to the public this Friday, Aug. 9. Jon Bowman, former director of the Santa Fe Film Festival and longtime contributor to the Santa Fe New Mexican’s weekly Pasatiempo magazine, is the theater’s knowledgeable new manager. Bowman has been working with Martin to create an exciting repertory schedule of new and classic films. At least two films will screen at the theater each week, with matinees and midnight movies to come. The Jean Cocteau welcomes film lovers back into its fold with a week of free screenings, Aug. 9 through 15. Things start off in grand style with the 1956 sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet. John Carpenter’s 1974 space comedy Dark Star grabs the late-night slot on Friday and Saturday. And what would reopening week at the Jean Cocteau Cinema be without one of the French filmmaker’s masterpieces? How about Cocteau’s dreamy 1950 take on the legend of Orpheus? All three of these films will be presented free of charge. Get there early, though. Seating is first-come, first-served. The newly renovated Jean Cocteau Cinema is located at 418 Montezuma Ave., next to the Sanbusco Market Center. For complete opening week film times, as well as a list of upcoming features, got to jeancocteaucinema.com.
The timing couldn’t be better. AMC’s hit series “Breaking Bad” begins airing its final eight episodes this Sunday. On Saturday, Aug. 10, actor Giancarlo Esposito (who played the late, lamented chicken king / drug lord Gus Fring) will be in Albuquerque to receive a special award from the Albuquerque Film and Media Experience. Esposito was supposed to get the award at the inaugural AFME in June, but schedule conflicts prevented it. Now festival sponsors Robert and Sybille Redford will be returning to town to hand over that Creative Achievement award. The event will take place at the KiMo Theatre in Downtown Albuquerque. The evening begins with a screening of the 1995 thriller The Usual Suspects (in which Esposito plays the thoroughly flummoxed Det. Jack Baer). A 30-minute, post-film Q&A with Esposito will be followed by the award presentation and a dessert reception at the KiMo Theatre Art Gallery. Doors open at 5 p.m. Film starts at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available through kimotickets.com.
Head out on the highway
Reel New Mexico, Santa Fe’s monthly independent film series, returns on Tuesday, Aug. 13, with a screening of the offbeat 1989 road trip comedy Powwow Highway. The film stars noted Native American actor Gary Farmer and was directed by Jonathan Wacks, former department chair of the film program at the College of Santa Fe. The screening begins at 7 p.m. at The Performance Space in La Tienda Center off Avenida Vista Grande and 285. A suggested contribution of $5 gets you in the door. For more info go to reelnewmexico.com.