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At the Movies: Free Films in Santa Monica for July:

Film events are happening all over Santa Monica this month, and the Santa Monica Pubic Library has films for everyone.   The library continues its Summer Family Film Series, and although August brings such great movies as Ratatouille and E.T., Hannah Montana and Toy Story, July still has some decent offerings left for the little ones. 

Akeelah and the Bee (July 16) should turn any kid into a wanna-be bee spelling champion.   The following week is Surf’s Up (July 23), and the delightful Mary Poppins, a film all kids should be required to see at least once in their life, will screen on July 30.  All of the films are shown at the MLK Jr. auditorium at the Main Library (601 Santa Monica Blvd.) at 3 p.m. 

On Thursday evenings the auditorium will host the Incredibly Strange Film Festival, which opens with Ed Wood’s camp classic, Plan 9 From Outer Space (July 10), followed by Infra-Man (July 17), Can’t Stop the Music (July 24), The Thing with Two Heads (July 31), and For Your Height Only (August 7).  Most films begin at 7 p.m. but it’s always a good idea to arrive early for the best seat. 

The Monthly Movie Classic of choice on July 26 is Billy Wilder’s seminal comedy Some Like it Hot, starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis (both in drag), and Marilyn Monroe. The film screens at 3 p.m. in the MLK Jr. Auditorium.  The library will also offer a closed-captioned screening of Sean Penn’s Into the Wild on July 23 at 6:30 p.m.

The Fairview Branch Library at 2101 Ocean Park Boulevard. will screen the Oscar-nominated documentary, War/Dance at 7 p.m.  This is one of the most beautiful films made last year, not just in its devastating subject matter, but the cinematography will also leave you breathless.  War/Dance is about a group of displaced kids at a refugee camp who must learn to play music and dance as a way out of the misery.

The Cinematheque at the Aero, in addition to its regularly fabulous programming, is also screening family matinees on Sundays, beginning on July 20 with Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown, followed by Charlotte’s Web on July 27.   

Dante’s Inferno, an oddly constructed paper doll or puppet movie, is screening on July 19 at the Santa Monica Museum of Art as part of their exhibit “Puppet.”  The exhibit focuses on the intersection of contemporary art and puppetry.  The Museum is located in Bergamot Station and the film, which is free, begins at 7 p.m.

And of course, the Westside staples Documental and 7 Dudley Cinema will screen interesting and mostly unseen films in July.  On July 14, Documental will be showing the Sierra Club Chronicles (7 p.m.) about a group of farmers, families, and community members who fight against pollution, and The Freedom Files (8 p.m).  On July 16, 7 Dudley will show films by women, including Stacey Steers’ Phantom Canyon about a woman’s backwards journey through her memories and Courtney Egan’s Big Shtick.  The program starts at 8 p.m.  Both Documental and 7 Dudley screen at the Unurban Coffeehouse, 3301 Pico Blvd.

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