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In this light-hearted musical comedy with a message, a North African pop group called Rap Oriental uses music to triumph over the bigotry and violence in their housing project on the outskirts of Paris. The band and their devoted fans are pitted against religiously conservative elders who want to stop the music. The film features Khaled and Cheb Mami, two real-life stars of rai music--a combination of North African sounds and western-style rap. The pair offers a message with a beat as they rock, groove, and ultimately soothe their 'hood with their unique sound. In French with English subtitles.
Mahmoud Zemmouri---France/Belgium/Switzerland---1997---85 mins.
A SOUL HAUNTED BY PAINTING
Gong Li stars as Chinese painter Pan Yuliang, whose beautiful work was condemned as "depraved" by officials in her own country. The film portrays her dramatic life, including working as a prostitute as a young girl and her studies at the Shanghai Arts Institute, which was later closed for allowing foreign influence and nude modeling. Pan Yuliang finds fame after she becomes her own model and the self-portrait,
, wins international acclaim. In Mandarin with English subtitles.
Huang Shuqin---China/Taiwan---1994---91 mins.
ADVENTURES OF LITTLE MOUSE 1
A good-hearted mouse tries to get along with his neighbors in the animal kingdom in these appealing Polish cartoons aimed at younger children. Very human characteristics come through in the animated critters, and the stories are told without dialogue, making them truly universal. Six stories as originally broadcast on Polish television: "The Cricket's Concert," "The Cat and the Mouse," "The Little Mouse and the Stork," "The Little Mouse and the Tramp," "The Little Mouse and the Owl," and "The Little Mouse Goes Skiing."
Eugeniusz Kotowski---Poland---1980-83---56 mins.
ADVENTURES OF LITTLE MOUSE 2
Small children will adore following the animated activities of Little Mouse as he encounters a variety of creatures and overcomes a number of problems. Originally made for Polish television, these cartoons (using no dialogue) cross national boundaries with their appeal. Seven stories: "The Little Mouse by the Water," "The Little Mouse Takes a Walk," "The Little Mouse and the Fox," "The Little Mouse Wishing a Happy Birthday," "The Little Mouse and the Car," "The Little Mouse and the Fly," and "The Little Mouse and the Mole."
Eugeniusz Kotowski---Poland---1975-83---61 mins.
AFRO-CUBA: YESTERDAY & TODAY
Two exciting, colorful films spotlight the African roots of Cuba's culture by focusing on two legendary artists. Afro-Cuban mythology plays a major part in
The Last Rumba of Papa Montero
(Octavio Cortazar, Martinique/Cuba, 1992, 52 mins.), a film about the rhythmic dance style known as the Rumba and the legendary rumbero, Papa Montero, who was assassinated during Carnival. Told through beautiful images, sensual music, and exciting dance performances, this story captures the traditions of Cuban life as it guides the main character to his fate. Next, the multilayered documentary
Sara Gomez: An Afro-Cuban Filmmaker
(Alessandra Muller, Switzerland/Cuba, 2005, 76 mins.), focuses on the biography of Cuba's first female director. Though trained in ethnography, Gomez later turned to making films that reflect her interests in Afro-Cuban culture and women's issues. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Octavio Cortazar/Alessandra Muller---Martinique/Cuba/Switzerland---1992/2005---128 mins.
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