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FOLLOW THAT DREAM
A jewelry thief wants Victor, an actor and violinist, to steal for him. When Victor is killed, police use a double in order to confuse and catch the murderer. Pedro Infante, in his last screen role, stars in dual roles as Victor and his look-alike, Raul. With Yolanda Verala as Victor's lover, and Rosa Arenas. In Spanish WITHOUT English subtitles. Rogelio A. Gonzalez---Mexico---1958---95 mins.
John Carpenter's superior
may have set the stage for the unfortunate wave of slasher movies that came in its wake, but this low-budget horror picture may have had an even greater influence on the genre--a dubious distinction to be sure. A group of teenaged camp counselors are stalked by a silent killer who wears a hockey mask in this crudely effective, grisly film that made a fortune and spawned nine (yes, nine!) sequels so far, with more in the planning stages. The cast of mainly unknown victims includes a young Kevin Bacon.
Sean S. Cunningham---USA---1980---95 mins.
Clint Eastwood stars as a retired FBI profiler who is pulled back into duty by the unsolved murder of the woman whose heart he received in the transplant operation that saved his life. With Jeff Daniels, Anjelica Huston, Paul Rodriguez and Wanda De Jesus. "...a bracingly no-nonsense, highly professional policier--as proudly old-fashioned as its curmudgeon hero" (J. Hoberman,
Clint Eastwood---USA---2002---111 mins.
Bruce Schwartz's cult drama follows a Mojave Indian displaced in the skid row section of downtown L.A. as he turns to a life of crime in order to support his family.
Famed curator, photographer, and historian John Szarkowski explores the significance of his own still photography in a fascinating filmed lecture laced with wit and intellectual rigor. 60 mins.
ALL THE KING'S MEN (1949)
Set in 1963, this elegant film tells the tale of a school in the middle of the desert. One day, the children find that their water jar, the sole vessel for drinking water, is cracked.
PARADISE UNDER THE STARS, A
Star-struck Sissy wants to sing at the Tropicana club, but her macho truck driver father forbids it. When he accidentally hits a biker on the road, he brings his victim home to recuperate. Sissy naturally falls hard for the hunk, but love--like stardom--does not come easy. Many more complications ensue in this "buoyantly entertaining" (
) Cuban comedy. Audience Award-winner at the Havana Film Festival. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Gerardo Chijona---Cuba---1999---90 mins.
TAMING OF THE SHREW, THE (FAIRBANKS)
The first feature from Belgian director Olivier Smolders is this haunting and mystifying psycho-drama, featuring a visual style adopted from the Expressionists and a dreamscape befitting Lynch. Our protagonist, Oscar (Fabrice Rodriguez), spends his days studying and filing away insects in a grotesquely boring museum. And by "day," we really mean night, since the sun only shines for 15 seconds in this world. When Oscar returns home from work, he discovers an ailing (and naked) South African woman in his bed. She has come there to die, and her presence starts Oscar down a slippery slope into his subconscious. "
envelops rather than illuminates the viewer" (
). In French with English subtitles. Olivier Smolders---Belgium---2004---90 mins.
YESTERDAY GIRL (DVD-R)
As the flagship film of the "young German cinema" movement, Alexander Kluge's first feature,
, paved the way for the New German Cinema of the 1970s. Produced immediately after the Oberhausen Manifesto,
is an experimental, youth-oriented satire with a fragmentary story about an unruly heroine named Anita G. (Alexandra Kluge, the director's sister and frequent collaborator.) Like any postwar German youth worth her salt, Anita wants to break free of the collective baggage left by her parent's generation, but her flee from East to West Germany only confirms that conservatism and scarred memories thrive on both sides of the wall. A nominee for the Golden Lion and winner of a Special Jury Prize at the 1966 Venice Film Festival,
made it clear the waning German film industry was headed for a renaissance. In German with English subtitles.
Alexander Kluge---West Germany---1966---88 mins.
4 MONTHS 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS
Before directing the Oscar-nominated
Children of Heaven
, Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi crafted this sensitive melodrama about the conflict between a boy and his new stepfather. After the death of his father, young Mehrollah leaves his rural town to earn money to support his grieving mother and siblings. Upon his return at age 14, he finds his mother has remarried. Mehrollah rejects the new man of the house and sets off into the desert. When his stepfather goes after him, the two realize they will need mutual respect in order to survive the harrowing journey home. Winner of Jury Prizes at the San Sebastian, Sao Paulo, and Torino Film Festivals. In Farsi with English Majid Majidi---Iran---1996---96 mins.
BOTHERSOME MAN, THE
This absorbing documentary follows Kenzo Okuzaki--a veteran of Japan's WWII campaign in New Guinea--as he searches out those responsible for the mysterious deaths of several soldiers in his unit. Though he holds Emperor Hirahito accountable for all the suffering caused by WWII, he painstakingly tracks down former military officers and accuses them of specific war crimes, often times abusing them verbally and physically. Director Kazua Hara's subtle
not only captures the zeal of Okuzaki's lifelong mission, but also exposes the atrocities committed by the Japanese military against its own soldiers. The film created such controversy in Japan upon release that no major distributor would touch it. "The most amazing piece of filmmaking" (Michael Moore). Winner of the Caligari Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. In Japanese with English subtitles.
Kazuo Hara---Japan---1987---122 mins.
LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, THE (CRAVEN)
Originally aired on Canadian television as
The Evelyn Dick Story
, Kathleen Robertson (
) plays the real-life wife-and-mother who went to trial in 1946 for murdering her husband, but was later acquitted. That is, until authorities discovered the remains of an infant in her attic, too. Based on a book by Marjorie Freeman Campbell.
Alex Chapple---Canada---2002---90 mins.
Directed by Yash Chopra,
is a lyrical love triangle story featuring memorable music and a great central performance by Sridevi. Chandni (Sridevi) and Rohit (Rishi Kapoor) fall in love at first sight. They want a happy future together, but a cruel stroke of fate separates them. Then Chandni meets Lalit (Vinod Khanna), whose affection gives a new direction to Chandni's life. One day, by chance, Lalit meets Rohit and the two become friends. They relate their love for the one special woman in their lives--without realizing they have both set their sights on Chandni. In Hindi with English subtitles.
Yash Chopra---India---1989---171 mins.
RING, THE (2002)
Kevin Costner stars in this supernatural romance about a doctor who loses his wife in a freak accident on a Red Cross mission. To help with the grief, he visits her former patients at the hospital. One of the sick children has a near-death experience and claims to have a message from beyond the grave. Costner is initially skeptical, but the paranormal occurrences and "Ditto" moments start to stack up.
Tom Shadyac---USA---2002---105 mins.
MURDER OF FRED HAMPTON, THE
An unprecedented, historically significant documentary on the slain leader of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, Fred Hampton, killed in 1969 by Chicago police while he slept in his apartment. Filmmakers Mike Gray and Howard Alk were already shooting a portrait of this charismatic speaker and community organizer when his murder occurred. Arriving at the crime scene only a few hours after the police raid, the unsettling footage they captured was later used to contradict news reports and police testimony in what many believe to be Hampton's assassination. "Political dynamite" (Roger Ebert,
Mike Gray/Howard Alk---USA---1971---88 mins.
AMERICAN REVOLUTION 2
A gritty but essential documentary charting social turbulence in late 1960's Chicago.
American Revolution 2
includes footage of the 1968 Democratic Convention protest and riot, a critique of the events by working class African-Americans in Chicago, and attempts by the Black Panther Party to organize poor, southern white youths on the city's north side. Using direct sound, a handheld camera, no script, black-and-white film stock, and natural lighting, the directors' no-frills approach appropriately reflects the raw energy of this upheaval. "A powerful documentary...see this film" (Roger Ebert,
Mike Gray/Howard Alk---USA---1969---76 mins.
This double release boasts the talents of Abbas Kiarostami, Ken Loach, Ermanno Olmi, Lars von Trier, and Carl Theodor Dryer.
When Mama Santos declares, "Something bad is going to happen" in
, it becomes a bad omen rather than a mere statement. Her provincial town quickly transforms from a close-knit village into a virtual ghost town. Few townsfolk can find work; guilt and hatred permeate the community with devastating results. As Mama Santos (Anita Blanch) watches one resident after another vacate the premises, her self-fulfilling prophecy comes full circle. Written by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, with photography by Gabriel Figueroa (
), and directed by Luis Alcoriza.
Luis Alcoriza---Mexico---1974---118 mins.
MEN ON THE MOUNTAIN
The first film by Hungarian director Istvan Szots tells the story of a woodcutter who moves his family into the serene mountains of Transylvania in search of a better life, only finding tragedy instead. Deviating from mainstream comedies and melodramas of wartime Hungary, this film captures the hardships of people living in such a beautiful yet harsh environment. Also known as
People of the Alps
, the film was shot on location in Transylvania with a straightforward realist aesthetic and a devotion to the details of daily life, both of which made a sizable impression on the emerging Italian Neorealists. Winner of the Biennale Award at the Venice Film Festival.
Istvan Szots---Hungary---1942---90 mins.
A harrowing film about the extraordinary social and personal transformations within Poland's crumbling communist society.
, focuses on two friends and former secret police agents who attempt to remain friends and find their identities in the new state. Director Wladyslaw Pasikowski burst on the scene as part of the new group of post-Communist filmmakers who churn out "Kielbasa Easterns"--fast-paced, hard-edged action flicks influenced by Hollywood. With Boguslaw Linda, Marek Kondrat and Janusz Gajos. "Gripping" (
). In Polish with English subtitles.
Wladyslaw Pasikowski---Poland---1992---110 mins.
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