Upcoming Screenings

Support the Grand Illusion Cinema today with a tax-deductible donation.  

Thanks, 4Culture!

4Culture LogoWe're grateful to 4Culture for a grant to help us purchase equipment and services to reopen as safely as possible. In addition, our entire slate of reopening films is brought to you by a Sustained Support grant from 4Culture.


  • All patrons are required to show proof of vaccination (card or photo of card) or proof of a negative COVID test from the last 48 hours.
  • Masks required for all.
  • No eating in the auditorium. We will not sell concessions for the time being. We'll have bottled water for sale for $2 or feel free to bring your own non-alcoholic beverage and keep your mask on when not drinking.
  • Our auditorium capacity is reduced by 50% and we are limiting showtimes to one per night, plus one matinee on weekend afternoons.
  • We now accept debit/credit cards (in addition to cash) and offer advance ticket purchases for all shows. No refunds.
  • We installed filtration capable of removing airborne COVID particles in the auditorium, lobby, and projection booth.
  • We are doing all of this to keep you safe as well as our volunteers, who donate their time to run the cinema.


Viktor Kossakovsky · 2021 · Norway, Spain, USA
93min · digital
Playing Nov 30 through Dec 2

Part of our “Pandemic Rewind” series of films that were robbed of the theatrical experience.

Experiential cinema in its purest form, Gunda chronicles the unfiltered lives of a mother pig, a flock of chickens, and a herd of cows with masterful intimacy. Using stark, transcendent black and white cinematography and the farm’s ambient soundtrack, director Victor Kossakowsky invites the audience to slow down and experience life as his subjects do, taking in their world with a magical patience and an other worldly perspective. Gunda asks us to meditate on the mystery of animal consciousness, and reckon with the role humanity plays in it. Executive Produced by Joaquin Phoenix.

Amazing plant-based bakers Lazy Cow Bakery will be at the Sunday screening to talk about the opening of their brick-and-mortar location in Fremont.

Gunda is pure cinema… It’s jaw dropping images and sound put together with the best ensemble cast and you have something more like a potion than a movie.” Paul Thomas Anderson

“You don’t have to be an animal lover to appreciate the craft and the genuine poetic vision of a film which, though strictly unsentimental, is intensely moving, transfixing and quite genuinely unique.” Jonathan Romney, Screen International

“CRITIC’S PICK! Sublimely beautiful and profoundly moving, it offers you the opportunity to look – at animals, yes, but also at qualities that are often subordinated in narratively driven movies, at textures, shapes and light.” Manohla Dargis, New York Times


Tuesday, Nov 30: 7:30 pm
Thursday, Dec 2: 7:30 pm

First Cow

Kelly Reichardt · 2020 · USA
122min · digital
Playing Dec 1

Part of our “Pandemic Rewind” series of films that were robbed of the theatrical experience.

A taciturn loner and skilled cook (John Magaro) has traveled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon Territory, though he only finds true connection with a Chinese immigrant (Orion Lee) also seeking his fortune; soon the two collaborate on a successful business, although its longevity is reliant upon the clandestine participation of a nearby wealthy landowner’s prized milking cow. From this simple premise Kelly Reichardt constructs an interrogation of foundational Americana that recalls her earlier triumph Old Joy in its sensitive depiction of male friendship, yet is driven by a mounting suspense all its own. Reichardt again shows her distinct talent for depicting the peculiar rhythms of daily living and ability to capture the immense, unsettling quietude of rural America.

“Kelly Reichardt gives us a terrifically tough and sinewy tale of the old west, shaped by the brutally implacable market forces of capitalism.” Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“CRITIC’S PICK! …deceptively simple and wondrously subtle… like many great westerns it critiques some of the genre’s foundational myths with bracing, beautiful rigor, including the myth of heroic individualism.” A.O. Scott, New York Times

“A picture that’s both tranquil and dazzling, two qualities that should be at odds with one another yet somehow bloom in tandem under Reichardt’s gentle touch.” Stephanie Zacharek, TIME Magazine


Wednesday, Dec 1: 7:30 pm

Fire Music

Tom Surgal · 2018 · USA
90min · digital
Playing Dec 3 through Dec 9

Although the free jazz movement of the 1960s and ‘70s was much maligned in some jazz circles, its pioneers – brilliant talents like Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, and John Coltrane – are today acknowledged as central to the evolution of jazz as America’s most innovative art form. FIRE MUSIC showcases the architects of a movement whose radical brand of improvisation pushed harmonic and rhythmic boundaries, and produced landmark albums like Coleman’s Free Jazz: A Collective Inspiration and Coltrane’s Ascension. A rich trove of archival footage conjures the 1960s jazz scene along with incisive reflections by critic Gary Giddins and a number of the movement’s key players. From producers Ron Mann, Thurson Moore, and Nels Cline. Directed by Tom Surgal.

“CRITIC’S PICK! Crammed with exhilarating sounds, moving reminiscences and stimulating arguments that [free jazz] is not just music, but vital music… [It] highlights are incredibly well-curated archival footage and contemporary interviews that allow the viewer to briefly commune with some beautiful souls… This movie constituted a too-short heaven on earth. I’d binge on an expanded series, honestly.” Glenn Kenny, The New York Times

“Fire Music sets a new benchmark. The film clearly lays out how the original wave of free jazz evolved from what came before and how, for a brief yet indelible period, yielded a wealth of music that’s still unparalleled in its gritty intensity and deep spiritual resonance. Thanks to Tom Surgal, we have a record of what it felt like to be there.” Hank Shteamer, Rolling Stone

“An immersive primer told from the performers’ perspectives. It’s a rich and highly spirited account, driven by candid and extremely “real” interviews.” Steve Dollar, Filmmaker Magazine


Friday, Dec 3: 7:30 pm
Saturday, Dec 4: 4:00 pm, 7:30 pm
Sunday, Dec 5: 4:00 pm, 7:30 pm
Monday, Dec 6: 7:30 pm
Tuesday, Dec 7: 7:30 pm
Wednesday, Dec 8: 7:30 pm
Thursday, Dec 9: 7:30 pm

It’s A Wonderful Life

Frank Capra · 1946 · USA
130min · 35mm + digital
Playing Dec 10 through Dec 30

** Limited seating! Advance tickets recommended! **
75th anniversary! This cinema’s 51st consecutive engagement! 35mm film (except for a few shows—see ticketing page)!

“It’s a great — really great — film, so densely well made that to watch any three minutes is to realize how paltry the vast majority of movies are by comparison.” Richard T. Jameson

“The epiphany of movie sentiment and a transcendent experience.” Dave Kehr

Tuesday, 12/14 show is pay-what-you-can!
No screening Monday, 12/27.


Friday, Dec 10: 7:00 pm
Saturday, Dec 11: 3:30 pm, 7:00 pm
Sunday, Dec 12: 3:30 pm, 7:00 pm
Monday, Dec 13: 7:00 pm
Tuesday, Dec 14: 7:00 pm
Wednesday, Dec 15: 7:00 pm
Friday, Dec 17: 7:00 pm
Saturday, Dec 18: 3:30 pm, 7:00 pm
Sunday, Dec 19: 3:30 pm, 7:00 pm
Monday, Dec 20: 7:00 pm
Tuesday, Dec 21: 7:00 pm
Wednesday, Dec 22: 7:00 pm
Thursday, Dec 23: 7:00 pm
Friday, Dec 24: 3:30 pm
Saturday, Dec 25: 8:00 pm
Sunday, Dec 26: 3:30 pm
Tuesday, Dec 28: 7:00 pm
Wednesday, Dec 29: 7:00 pm
Thursday, Dec 30: 7:00 pm

VHS Uber Alles December

· 1989 · Italy
97min · VHS
Playing Dec 11

VHS Uber Alles presents: INTERZONE! Only $3!

The Interzone is the last habitable area on Earth after the nuclear apocalypse, rumored to be holding treasure protected by psychic warrior-monks, The Veterans. These monks, led by elderly "General Electric" (yes) send their most gifted Veteran, "Panasonic" (we can't make this up) on a mission to protect the Interzone against a marauding gang of barbarians and wasteland raiders wrangled by a powerful dominatrix-like leader named Mantis (bodybuilder Teagan Clive!). Road-warrior type drifter Swan (Bruce Abbott) hears of the treasure and decides to make a go for it, teaming up with Panasonic and rescued slave girl Tera to defeat the raiders. Interzone...It's The Last Safe Sanctuary On Earth... And The Battle Is On...!


Saturday, Dec 11: 10:00 pm

Rad – 4K restoration

Hal Needham · 1986 · Canada
91min · digital
Playing Dec 16

35th anniversary 4k restoration! A BMX racer, who lives in a small town with his mother and sister, is faced with a tough decision, qualify for Helltrack or take his SATs in order to attend college.

"Brimming with energy, passion, and an underdog spirit... there's not a cynical note to be found in the absolutely delightful Rad!" Ed Travis, Cinapse

"Needham lovingly films the BMX riders, so, if you don't mind cheese and love bikes, you'll get a lot out of the movie." Bobby LePire, Film Threat

"Whooshing and swirling with mad abandon, Hal Needham's teen flick is a blast of nostalgic joy." Peter Martin, ScreenAnarchy


Thursday, Dec 16: 8:00 pm


Paul Verhoeven · 2021 · France, Italy, Netherlands
131min · digital
Playing Jan 1 through Jan 6

Sex, power, plague and the Church collide in Verhoeven’s barnburner of a historical drama, based on real events. In 17th-century Tuscany, a sheltered nobleman’s daughter who experiences overpowering visions takes vows to become a nun. Devout and obedient, Benedetta (Virginie Efira) only occasionally brushes up against her abbess’s (Charlotte Rampling) warning that “intelligence can be dangerous.” But when a coarse and carnal novice enters the convent, Benedetta finds herself obsessed, and their relationship quickly grows physical—threatening to destroy everything around them.

“Wild, intelligent, pulsating, provocative and vibrantly alive.” – Todd McCarthy, Deadline

"The carnal Catholicism which permeates the film is...to be expected...but equally so is the film's ability to utilize eroticism as a vehicle to examine pain, paranoia and power." Natalia Keogan, Paste Magazine


Saturday, Jan 1: 7:30 pm
Sunday, Jan 2: 4:00 pm, 7:30 pm
Monday, Jan 3: 7:30 pm
Tuesday, Jan 4: 7:30 pm
Wednesday, Jan 5: 7:30 pm
Thursday, Jan 6: 7:30 pm