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32nd Annual Portland International Film Festival
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Films & Schedules - All

Fri, Feb 13, 2009
at 6 PM (B1)

Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 1:45 PM (B1)

24 City

DIRECTOR: ZhangKe Jia - China

"The dean of Chinese independent cinema, Jia's latest bulletin on the state of the world's most rapidly expanding economy is more obviously documentary than the director's previous fiction films--or perhaps more obviously fictional than his documentaries.  24 City takes as its subject a gigantic Chengdu munitions plant slated for conversion into high-rise luxury apartments. A half-dozen retired workers, brought form all over China to labor in the massive factory, play themselves as the (barely) living monuments of Mao's China, their stories supplemented by monologues delivered by several professional actors, including Joan Chen.  Jia's framing is, as always, impeccable.  His oral...

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 1:30 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 11:45 PM (WH)

6.5 Minutes in Tel Aviv

DIRECTOR: Mirev Brantz - Short Cuts I: International Ties (Israel)

A Tel Aviv bus station is the setting for an unexpected confrontation brought on by fear and panic.  In this part of the world, it only takes a minute for the landscape to become completely unrecognizable.

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

Across the Sound

DIRECTOR: Brian Libby - Short Cuts II: Oregon Made (Oregon)

Shot on a ferry from Seattle to Victoria, this moody and minimalistic visual poem floats to the music of French electronica artist Colleen.

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 7:45 PM (B1)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 5 PM (WH)

All Around Us

DIRECTOR: Ryosuke Hashiguchi - Japan

"This wise and deliciously witty film chronicles eight years of a marriage.  In 1992, shoe repairman Kanao ties the knot with Shoko, who works in publishing, because he's got her pregnant.  Apart from liking each other, they don't have too much in common.  She's a bit of a control freak, and he's, well, loose and easy-going.  Kanao takes over a TV news job as a courtroom sketch-artist and he soon finds himself exposed to--and drawing--some of the most disturbed people in Japan, from child murderers to a member of the Aum sect which gas-attacked the Tokyo subway.  Meanwhile Shoko, traumatized...

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 12 PM (WH)

The Apology Line

DIRECTOR: James Lee Director - Short Cuts III: International Ties (Great Britain)

What happens when the desire for redemption meets an answering machine?

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 2:15 PM (B4)

Fri, Feb 13, 2009
at 7 PM (B4)

Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 4:45 PM (B1)

As Simple As That

DIRECTOR: Seyyed Reza Mir-Karimi - Iran

A nuanced portrait of a religious housewife in distress, As Simple As That offers a rare, realistic depiction of a middle class Iranian woman.  Put-upon Tanareh has a problem common to all sorts of women world-wide: she's suffering form a stressful routine so centered on husband, kids and home that she's completely lost any sense of herself, and has fallen into a deep depression.  Her self-absorbed husband is an engineer who is so busy that he doesn't bother to tell her that he's changed the number of their joint bank account; their two materialistic children are hurtfully unappreciative of her...

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Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 12 PM (WH)

At the Heart of a Sparrow

DIRECTOR: Barry Doupe - Short Cuts IV: Sketched in Time (Canada)

A series of episodic narratives, role reversals and associations that highlight the rift between mind and body.

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 7:30 PM (WH)

Mon, Feb 9, 2009
at 7 PM (B3)

The Baader Meinhof Complex

DIRECTOR: Uli Edel - Germany

Edel's riveting thriller chronicles the rise and fall of the left-wing militant group the Red Army Faction (RAF), which carried out an international terrorist campaign in the 1970s opposing American imperialism and the West German establishment.  Based on Stefan Aust's definitive book about the group, Edel's film mixes tense action sequences with character studies, deftly exploring the contradictory mentality of a croup that murdered over 30 public figures to thwart what they perceived as a new fascist state.  An exceptional cast of young German actors, along with screen legend Bruno Ganz (portraying the head of the German police force charged...

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Fri, Feb 20, 2009
at 6:15 PM (B1)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 12:15 PM (B1)

The Beaches of Agnès

DIRECTOR: Agnès Varda - France

Since the 1960s Agnès Varda has been making her idiosyncratic and beautiful films, and is honored as "the grandmother of the French New Wave."  In The Beaches of Agnès, which she declares is her last film, Varda turns her camera on herself, returning to the beaches which have played such a significant part in her life and her films.  "If you opened people up, you would find landscapes; if you opened me up, you would find beaches. Many old people wish to tell their life.  As an old filmmaker, with the enthusiasm and energy of my youth, I tried to...

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 12 PM (WH)

Because There are Things You Never Forget

DIRECTOR: Lucas M. Figueroa - Short Cuts III: International Ties (Spain)

Napes, Italy, 1950.  Four friends are playing soccer when their ball is accidentally kicked into the evil old lady's yard.  They'll never play with their ball again… and for that the revenge will be deadly.

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Fri, Feb 6, 2009
at 8:45 PM (B3)

Mon, Feb 9, 2009
at 6:45 PM (B1)

The Black Balloon

DIRECTOR: Elissa Down - Australia

A witty, insightful drama, The Black Balloon is a story about fitting in, discovering love and accepting family.  When Thomas (Rhys Wakefield) and his family move to a new home and he starts at a new school, all he wants is to fit in.  As if first love and being the new boy aren't enough to worry about, Thomas must also control and confine the behavior of his autistic brother, Charlie.  With his mother (Toni Collette) about to give birth, and his father taking on a new job, it's left to Thomas to keep an eye on the brother he...

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 6:15 PM (B1)

Thu, Feb 12, 2009
at 8:30 PM (WH)

Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 3 PM (B2)

Blind Sunflowers

DIRECTOR: José Luis Cuerda - Spain

Filmography: El Bosque Animado (87), La Marrana (92), Butterfly Tongues (99).

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 12 PM (WH)

Boar Attack

DIRECTOR: Jay White - Short Cuts III: International Ties (Canada)

A young man fears the worst while waiting for his father's safe return from a walk in the woods.

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Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 12 PM (WH)

Box Office

DIRECTOR: Jenny Perlin - Short Cuts IV: Sketched in Time (United States)

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker compared the war in Iraq to a three or five-reel movie, depending on where one is living.  So begins this hand-drawn meditation. 

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Wed, Feb 11, 2009
at 7 PM (B1)

Thu, Feb 12, 2009
at 8:15 PM (B4)

Burned Hearts

DIRECTOR: Ahmed El Maanouni - Morocco

The contradictions of Moroccan society--culturally vibrant and playful, yet stiflingly traditional and patriarchal--are viewed with bemusement in writer-director Ahmed El Maanouni's unique take on the melancholy truism, "You can't go home again."  Having escaped the tumult and tension of his birthplace a decade ago, young architect Amin hesitantly returns to Fez when he learns that his overbearing uncle is on his deathbed.  Long-dormant resentments surface, and Amin must reconcile his family ties with the hard-won independence of adulthood.  Shot in luminous black and white and scored with evocative Moroccan folk music, Burned Hearts--like the Sufi philosopher whose ruminations bookend the...

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 8 PM (B4)

Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 12:45 PM (B2)

Tue, Feb 17, 2009
at 8:45 PM (B2)

Cape No. 7

DIRECTOR: Te-Sheng Wei - Taiwan

In a uniquely Taiwanese style, Wei exquisitely portrays a hidden love from the 1940s Japanese-occupied Taiwan.  Starring popular singers from Taiwan and Japan, Cape No. 7 took the Grand Prize at the Taipei Film Festival with its heartwarming tale of music and longing.  After running dry in Taipei, failed rock singer Aga returns to his picturesque coastal hometown of Hengchun and joins a band thrown together by Japanese concert promoter Tomoko.  With members ranging in age from 10 to 80, there is more bumbling than rocking for the ragtag band, but a new love song awaits when Aga and Tomoko...

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Fri, Feb 6, 2009
at 9 PM (B2)

Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 2:45 PM (B2)

Wed, Feb 11, 2009
at 9 PM (B4)

Captain Abu Raed

DIRECTOR: Amin Matalqa - Jordan

Winner of the World Cinema Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, Matalqa's touching drama presents a multilayered look at contemporary life in Amman, with a fine performance from veteran actor Nadim Sawalha.  A widower and airport custodian, Abu Raed (Sawalha) is content to blend into the background and mind his own business.  Finding a pilot's cap in the garbage one day, he wears it home on a whim, and the children in his neighborhood decide he's a world traveler.  As "Captain Abu" obliges, telling the children stories about his journeys far and wide, he becomes increasingly involved in their...

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 2:30 PM (WH)

Chainsaw

DIRECTOR: Dennis Tupicoff - Short Cuts III: International Ties (Australia)

Chainsaws, bullfighters, cowboys, husbands, wives.

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Fri, Feb 6, 2009
at 9:30 PM (B1)

Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 1:15 PM (B1)

The Chaser

DIRECTOR: Hong-jin Na - South Korea

A box office sensation in South Korea, this unconventional, sometimes violently graphic thriller focuses on cop-turned-pimp Joong-ho's probe into the recent disappearances of his prostitutes.  As Joong-ho is searching for one of his missing girls, Mi-jin, he spots and chases down a man he suspects may be holding Mi-jin captive, but they both wind up at the police station.  Onve there, he realizes that the man, Young-min, is a deranged killer and that he has only hours to find Mi-jin before the police, lacking evidence, must let Young-min go.  Hong-jin Na's execution of the plot is unpredictable, and he reveals...

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 3 PM (WH)

Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 5 PM (WH)

Cherry Blossoms

DIRECTOR: Doris Dörrie - Germany

Dörrie draws from Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu's classic Tokyo Story for this emotional tale of love and renewal.  Middle-aged couple Trudi and Rudi lead a routine life in a sleepy German town.  When Trudi learns that Rudi is terminally ill, she will not tell him, but she wants him to see his children one last time.  They go to Berlin to visit two of their grown children, who have little time for or interest in them, but their plans to travel to Tokyo to see their other child are unexpectedly disrupted when Trudi herself dies.  Left with Trudi's suitcase, which...

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 4 PM (B3)

Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 5:15 PM (B3)

The Chicken, the Fish and the King Crab

DIRECTOR: José Luis López-Linares - Spain

Founded by legendary chef Paul Bocuse, the Bocuse d'Or competition is pretty much the Olympics of haut cuisine, bringing 24 virtuoso chefs from around the world to Lyon every other year for a competition in which they have five and a half hours to prepare 12 portions of two complete meals.  The chefs represent not only themselves, but also their nations and national cuisines.  Spain's 20-year victory drought is something of a thumb in the eye, especially since San Sebastian boasts more Michelin-starred restaurants per square kilometer than any other place in the world.  López-Linares' mouth-watering film follows master chef...

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Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 12 PM (WH)

Children of Shadows

DIRECTOR: Naoyuki Tsuji - Short Cuts IV: Sketched in Time (Japan)

Black-and-white drawings with lingering shadows of children set the stage for this dark and mysterious animated film.  In a sparse and haunting soundtrack, teardrops mingle and mutate into fields of daises and slow drips turn to bunnies hopping down a woman's legs.

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 2:30 PM (B2)

Mon, Feb 9, 2009
at 9 PM (B1)

The Country Teacher

DIRECTOR: Bohdan Sláma - Czech Republic

Sláma's touching film explores the search for affection and the plight of those who long for love but are somehow too afraid to seek it out or give in to it.  Leaving behind a promising career and a lover in Prague, a young teacher escapes to the countryside to work in a village school.  His own difficulties in accepting his sexual identity as a gay man are reinforced by the conservative social climate of the small community.  He befriends a local widow who soon wants to take the relationship further.  But the teacher, unable to tell the truth about himself,...

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 6 PM (B2)

Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 1 PM (B4)

Crossing

DIRECTOR: Tae-Kyung Kim - South Korea

Although living in extreme poverty in North Korea, Yong-su and his family find contentment and comfort just being together.  When his pregnant wife becomes ill, Yong-su secretly crosses the border to China to find medicine to cure her. There, he's arrested as an illegal worker and events quickly spiral out of his control.  He finds himself a pawn of the "North Korea Liberation Coalition," and is ultimately sent to South Korea.  Meanwhile, his wife's situation turns dire, and his son Jun is taken to a labor camp in Mongolia.  Undeterred by their circumstances, father and son keep faith that they...

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

Dangerous Loop

DIRECTOR: Brian Knowles - Short Cuts II: Oregon Made (Oregon)

Exhilarating stop-motion blossoms of cut paper burst forth in colorful and decorative formations. 

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 2:45 PM (B1)

Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 1:30 PM (WH)

Dream Weavers: Beijing 2008

DIRECTOR: Jun Gu - China

This year's Chinese submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar--a rare documentary in a category dominated by narrative films--offers a fascinating, human perspective on Beijing's preparations for the 2008 Olympics.  Filmed over the course of five years, Dream Weavers follows five interwoven story lines: the plight of one of the 4,000 families who were relocated to make room for the Olympic Village; the construction of the innovative, welded-steel Bird's Nest stadium; the grueling regime of young female gymnasts; the training of hurdler Liu Xiang; and the training of the Beijing SWAT team.

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Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 12 PM (WH)

Duim | Lantaarnpaal | Windvlagg | Schoorsteenhuisje | Rijwind | Boom

DIRECTOR: Tomas Schats - Short Cuts IV: Sketched in Time (Netherlands)

In Schats' subtle "clear-line drawings" of man's opportunities and limitations, the seemingly personal becomes extraordinarily universal. Duim: a thumb nail, Lantaarnpaal: a lamppost, Windvlaag: a gust of wind, Schoorsteenhuisje: a house, Rijwind: a moped passing by, Boom: a tree.

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 8:45 PM (B1)

Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 7 PM (B4)

Mon, Feb 9, 2009
at 8:30 PM (B4)

Dunya & Desie

DIRECTOR: Dana Nechushtan - Netherlands

A spin-off of an award-winning TV series of the same name, this warm-hearted and upbeat film catches up with best friends Dunya (Moroccan-born, Muslim and conservative) and Desie (Dutch, outgoing and fond of skimpy clothes) at age 18.  To her chagrin, Dunya's parents are taking her to Morocco for an arranged marriage.  Meanwhile, Desie faces a very different problem: she's pregnant.  When Desie learns that her estranged father lives in Morocco, a spontaneous cross-cultural road trip ensues, as the two friends attempt to navigate familial expectations and learn what it means to straddle two worlds. "Sunny and clever, never preachy,...

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 5:15 PM (B4)

Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 8 PM (B2)

Tue, Feb 10, 2009
at 6:45 PM (B2)

Eldorado

DIRECTOR: Bouli Lanners - Belgium

A droll and idiosyncratic addition to the Belgian noir tradition, Eldorado stars director Lanners as Yvan, a world-wise, quick-tempered vintage car dealer. When he surprises the young and inept Elie trying to burglarize him, he doesn't call the police. Instead, he winds up developing a strange affection for the guy and agrees to drive him home so that he can visit his parents. It's the start of an absurdist, odd-couple road trip in a '79 Chevy though a magnificent, but nonetheless whacked-out, country.  Stylishly directed and driven by a savvy soundtrack, Eldorado is "a small but damn-near perfectly formed serio-comedy...never...

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Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 12 PM (WH)

Ema/Emaki 2

DIRECTOR: Takashi Ishida - Short Cuts IV: Sketched in Time (Japan)

An experiment in parallel forms that converge and overlap, Ema/Emaki 2 reconsiders the basic ways in which sound and image are synthesized through perception.

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 3 PM (B4)

Tue, Feb 10, 2009
at 9:30 PM (B4)

Wed, Feb 11, 2009
at 6:30 PM (B4)

Empty Nest

DIRECTOR: Daniel Burman - Argentina

Both comic and nostalgic, Burman's film ponders reality itself while offering a careful consideration of memories and how they are created. Leonardo is a successful playwright married to Martha.  Now that their children are grown--and indifferent to their parents--Leonardo is forced to deal with the strange realities of their monotonous life together.  On the romantic streets of Buenos Aires he struggles to find joy in the mundane as he looks for new meaning in his life.  As Leonardo and Martha neurotically struggle to find value in the mysteries of marriage and infidelity, the film remains both playful and profound as...

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 3:45 PM (B3)

Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 4:15 PM (WH)

The English Surgeon

DIRECTOR: Geoffrey Smith - Great Britain

London neurosurgeon Henry Marsh spends his vacation time donating his professional skills at a hospital in Kiev, where the patients are desperate for care and the doctors are frustrated with their rudimentary medical equipment.  For Marion, a poor young Ukrainian man diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, the arrival of Marsh ay be an answered prayer.  Before Marion's complicated surgery, Marsh makes a poignant journey to seek out the mother of a patient he failed to save several years earlier, in an attempt to let go of the memory that haunts him.  Featuring an original score written by Nick Cave...

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 4:30 PM (WH)

Tue, Feb 10, 2009
at 7 PM (WH)

Everlasting Moments

DIRECTOR: Jan Troell - Sweden

Maria, a working-class woman in the village of Malmö, wins a Contessa camera in a lottery.  It is 1907. Over the span of a decade, as Maria struggles to keep her home and growing family together in the face of the Great War, a workers' strike, unemployment, and a chronically philandering and abusive husband, the camera records a gallery of "everlasting moments."  Tentative at first, under the tutelage of the kindly village photographer who counsels that "not everyone has the gift of seeing," Maria discovers her talent, and her newfound skill thrusts her on a journey that changes her entire...

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Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 2 PM (B4)

Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 5:30 PM (B2)

Thu, Feb 19, 2009
at 9:15 PM (B2)

Fermat's Room

DIRECTOR: Luis Piedrahita, Rodrigo Sopeña - Spain

Invitations have been sent to four notable Spanish mathematicians to attend a mysterious weekend excursion to a remote location (rowboat-across-the-lake remote).  Code names of famous mathematicians from history are assigned to protect their identities--or for some other sinister purpose?  The host is named Fermat, and the weekend's goal is to solve one of the world's greatest enigmas.  After an elegant dinner, though, the real challenge is presented: the foursome must solve incoming logic puzzles and submit the answers through a handheld PDA, or else… let's just say that not knowing your math might be dangerous to your health.  With their...

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 1:30 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

Forty Men for the Yukon

DIRECTOR: Tony Massil - Short Cuts I: International Ties (Canada)

This postcard from the isolated wilds of the Yukon introduces us to a couple of old codgers who have lived the rough life for decades.

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 12 PM (WH)

Frankie

DIRECTOR: Darren Thornton - Short Cuts III: International Ties (Ireland)

Frankie is a 15-year-old boy who wants to be the best dad ever, but as his day goes on, he starts to realise how impossible this will be for him.

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Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 7 PM (B4)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 5:30 PM (B1)

The Friend

DIRECTOR: Micha Lewinsky - Switzerland

As quirky and humorous as it is heartbreaking, this gentle coming-of-age tale proves that losing someone can sometimes help you find yourself.  When Larissa asks awkward college student Emil to pretend to be her "boyfriend," he readily agrees.  Even if it is a ruse for her parents, it's a dream come true for Emil. But before he's even gotten to know Larissa, she dies unexpectedly.  Taken as her real boyfriend, Emil is asked to meet the family and help plan the funeral.  Swept up by the easy acceptance of Larissa's parents and sister, Emil is transformed from a wallflower into...

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 1:30 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

Friends Forever

DIRECTOR: Marçal Forés - Short Cuts I: International Ties (Great Britain)

Returning to school following the death of his closest friend, young George is bedeviled by his friend's ghost who seems to follow him everywhere.  But who is following whom?

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 6:30 PM (B3)

Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 7 PM (B3)

The Garden

DIRECTOR: Scott Hamilton Kennedy - United States

The focal point of Scott Hamilton Kennedy's impassioned film is a 14-acre community garden, once the nation's largest, in South Central Los Angeles.  Following the riots of 1992, an embattled group of mostly Latin-American immigrants known as the South Central Farmers turned a vacant lot at the corner of 41st and Alameda into a repository of civic pride, beans, corn, papaya trees, and more--along with seeds of hope for their families.  But five years ago, a developer began making plans to raze their oasis and thus their dreams.  Kennedy takes us into the heart of the battle to save the...

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Fri, Feb 6, 2009
at 6:30 PM (WH)

Mon, Feb 9, 2009
at 6 PM (WH)

Gomorrah

DIRECTOR: Matteo Garrone - Italy

"From Roberto Saviano's bestselling 2006 book about the international influence of the Italian organized crime empire known as the Camorra, Garrone has made an electrifying mob mobie set in Naples that will impress an unnerve even the most demanding aficionados of the genre.  In this deft interweaving of five stories, the Camorra's reach extends from the heights of haute couture to the depths of toxic waste, and Garrone coolly observes all the attendant brutality.  The great Neapolitan director and actor Toni Servillo heads a strong cast as a lethally smooth businessman in a sharp suit who specialize in the illegal...

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Tue, Feb 17, 2009
at 6:15 PM (WH)

Goodbye Solo

DIRECTOR: Ramin Bahrani - United States

Solo (Souleymane Sy Savane) is a loquacious Senegalese taxi driver living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who dreams of becoming a flight attendant.  One night he strikes up an unlikely rapport with a taciturn older passenger, William (Red West), who cryptically asks Solo to pick him up again in two weeks and take him up to Blowing Rock, a cliff-top view point.  Solo suspects that William plans to jump, and takes it upon himself to try to befriend the man and help him find a new lease on life.  Solo's cajoling is unappreciated, and his efforts are complicated by the demands...

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Thu, Feb 19, 2009
at 9 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 3 PM (B1)

The Great Buck Howard

DIRECTOR: Sean McGinley - United States

Troy, a young law school dropout, answers an ad for a "personal assistant to a celebrity performer," hoping it will catapult him into a glamorous career in the entertainment industry.  Little does he know that the performer is a "mentalist" prima donna infamous for his 61 performances on the Tonight Show.  John Malkovich revels in his over-the-top performance as Howard, who is counting on the debut of an astounding new trick to trigger a comeback.  In an inspired bit of casting, Tom Hanks plays Troy's father, who ironically disapproves of show business, and Emily Blunt is the fiery publicist hired...

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 12 PM (WH)

The Heart is a Hidden Camera

DIRECTOR: Gabriel Judet-Weinshel - Short Cuts III: International Ties (United States)

A young boy discovers at an early age that his heart is a camera, capable of capturing the beauty and horror of the world around him.

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 3:30 PM (B2)

Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 3:45 PM (B2)

Tue, Feb 17, 2009
at 9 PM (WH)

Home of Dark Butterflies

DIRECTOR: Dome Karukoski - Finland

Juhani, a troubled teen with a tragic past, lands in a home for boys known as "the Island." A world unto itself, the Island is run by Mr. Harjula, a strict disciplinarian intent on shaping his charges into respectful, confident young men.  When a romance between Juhani and Harjula's daughter, Juhani discovers something he has never before experienced: a home.  As his haunting childhood slowly comes into focus, Juhani is forced to confront his demons, risk vulnerability and learn to forgive himself.  Niilo Syväoja shines as Juhani, delivering a nuanced performance that at once captures Juhani's heartbreaking inner trauma and...

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 12 PM (WH)

Hot Dog

DIRECTOR: Bill Plympton - Short Cuts III: International Ties (United States)

In the second sequel to Plympton's Guard Dog, our intrepid canine hero eagerly joins the local fire department--and, as always, chaos ensues.

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 8:30 PM (WH)

Wed, Feb 11, 2009
at 8:30 PM (WH)

Hunger

DIRECTOR: Steve McQueen - Great Britain

Turner Prize-winning video artist McQueen won the Camera d'Or (Best First Film) at Cannes Film Festival for Hunger, a provocative exploration of the politics of torture and the yearning for spiritual transcendence.  Set in Belfast's Maze Prison, the film is an interpretation of the highly emotive events surrounding the 1981 Irish Republican Army hunger strike, led by Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender).  Hunger plunges us into the world of the infamous H-blocks, a hellish place for prisoners and guards alike.  Their bodies are the prisoners' only weapons, and after a new round of humiliation and violence, Sands decides to start a...

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 12 PM (WH)

Hungu

DIRECTOR: Nicolas Beault - Short Cuts III: International Ties (Canada)

Inspired by African rock paintings and the musical instrument from which it takes its name, Hungu is a tale of hope amid death.

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Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 6 PM (WH)

Thu, Feb 19, 2009
at 6:45 PM (B4)

Idiots and Angels

DIRECTOR: Bill Plympton - United States

Plympton's latest cartoon noir--what he calls an "intimate one man film"--tells the provocative tale of Angel, a cruel, misanthropic, sex-hungry, gun-dealing businessman who hangs out at his local bar, berating the other patrons.  One day Angel, much to his dismay, mysteriously wakes up with a pair of wings on his back.  The wings gradually spur him into doing good deeds for the fellow inhabitants of his suburban world of dive bars and seedy unhappiness.  Unfortunately he is shot by Bart, the nasty bartender, who then has a doctor sew the wings onto his own back and uses them to his...

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 8:30 PM (WH)

Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 7 PM (WH)

Il Divo

DIRECTOR: Paolo Sorrentino - Italy

Giulio Andreotti, arguably the most famous and notorious Italian politician of the post-war era, was prime minister in his country no less than seven times.  His professional career is a history of contemporary Italian politics, and the allegations repeatedly leveled against him of corruption and Mafia involvement reflect the darkest elements of Italian society from the 1960s through the 1980s.  Sorrentino manages to weave a complicated maze of political conspiracies and skullduggery into an engrossing, stylistically dazzling drama. "To call Il Divio a biopic would be a gross injustice.  It is, indeed, a depiction of the life and times of...

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Fri, Feb 13, 2009
at 6:15 PM (B3)

Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 1:30 PM (B3)

In a Dream

DIRECTOR: Jeremiah Zagar - United States

Winner of the audience award at the South by Southwest Film Festival, In a Dream takes us on an intimate, visceral journey into the world of artist Isaiah Zagar, the director's father, who over the course of four decades has covered more than 50,000 square feet of Philadelphia with stunning mosaic murals.  Beyond exploring the artist's astounding life's work, the film chronicles his tumultuous relationship with his wife and the implosion of a marriage.  As it turns from a character study ingo an incredibly personal, stirring drama, In a Dream explores both the power of art and the mysteries of...

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 5 PM (B1)

Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 8:45 PM (B1)

Jerusalema

DIRECTOR: Ralph Ziman - South Africa

"I had two heroes: Karl Marx and Al Capone." So begins the story of Lucky Kunene, a small-time South African hood who makes crime his career choice when he can't afford his college tuition.  Realizing that small-time crime doesn't pay, he decides to turn himself into a "businessman": a real estate developer who hijacks groups of buildings from white slumlords, offering to sell them back in exchange for improved living conditions.  While gaining Robin Hood status for good works and a talent for evading the law, Kunene soon finds out that success unfortunately makes enemies.  Ziman's fast-paced crime rama, based...

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Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 3:30 PM (B4)

Tue, Feb 17, 2009
at 8:15 PM (B1)

Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 8:30 PM (B4)

Karamazovs

DIRECTOR: Petr Zelenka - Czech Republic

A drama company from Prague arrives in Krakow to present a stage adaptation of Dostoyevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" at the city's alternative theater festival. The production is to be staged in an unusual venue: the local steelworks.  During rehearsals, the drama on stage spills over into the lives of the actors.  Dostoyevsky's themes of faith, immortality, and salvation cross borders as the film moves between its alternating perspectives.  Focusing on the trial scenes, this provocative film examines the subject of patricide and the complicity of the three younger Karamozovs and Smerdyakov. Hailed as the Czech film of the year, Karamazovs...

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Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 6 PM (B1)

Thu, Feb 19, 2009
at 8:45 PM (B1)

Katyn

DIRECTOR: Andrzej Wajda - Poland

Following the Soviet Union's invasion of Poland in 1939, nearly 15,000 Polish army officers, police, gendarmes, and civilians were taken prisoner by the Red Army and executed at three different sites, the most famous of which was Katyn Forest.  In 1943, the Germans announced the discovery of the Katyn graves, but the Soviets denied the killings, fabricating evidence that implicated the Germans.  In Communist Poland, asserting the truth about Katyn resulted in persecution by the Secret Police.  Katyn does not tell the story of the massacre, but rather of the families that had to live with both the pain of...

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Wed, Feb 11, 2009
at 6:15 PM (B2)

Thu, Feb 12, 2009
at 6 PM (B1)

Fri, Feb 13, 2009
at 9:15 PM (B2)

King of Ping Pong

DIRECTOR: Jens Jonsson - Sweden

Winner of the Cinematography and Grand Jury Prizes at the Sundance Film Festival, King of Ping Pong is a shrewd, chilly and offbeat observation of one boy's struggle to find happiness despite grim circumstances.  Overweight teen Rille is already dealing with his divorced parents, harassment from bullies, unrequited love, and his little brother's excessive popularity when his long-absent father drops back into his life.  The one place where Rille rules all is ping pong.  "The film is about how the past has an unpleasant tendency of bouncing back at you.  Like some damn ping-pong ball. I wanted to make a...

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Fri, Feb 13, 2009
at 8:45 PM (B1)

Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 5:45 PM (B4)

Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 4:45 PM (B1)

Kisses

DIRECTOR: Lance Daly - Ireland

On Christmas day, Dylan, a sullen, asthmatic 11-year-old boy living in a Dublin slum, flees his father's drunken violence with Kylie, the neglected but determined girl next door.  Hoping to find Dylan's older brother, who ran away from home two years earlier, the two head for downtown Dublin, embarking on an adventure in which they will encounter both wonders and dangers greater than any they've faced before.  Along the way they discover, to their surprise, how deeply they love each other, and how much they love a world both magical and sordid.  Winner, Best Irish Feature at the Galway Film...

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

The Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

DIRECTOR: Byrd McDonald - Short Cuts II: Oregon Made (Oregon)

From a cloudy, perhaps psychotic, point of view, the story of an unsettled mother unfolds.

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Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 6:45 PM (B2)

Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 9:15 PM (B2)

Lake Tahoe

DIRECTOR: Fernando Eimbcke - Mexico

In an attempt to escape from a home where sorrow reigns, 16-year-old Juan crashes his family's car into a pole on the outskirts of town.  He sets off in search of spare parts and help, but in this sleepy Yucatan town his options are limited.  His encounters with the few people he does manage to find are gently comic, and only after considerable time has passed do we learn that Juan's father has recently died, his grief-stricken mother isn't coping, and his younger brother has been left to fend for himself.  Minimalist and understated, Lake Tahoe has echoes of Aki...

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Tue, Feb 17, 2009
at 7:15 PM (B4)

Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 8:30 PM (WH)

Lemon Tree

DIRECTOR: Eran Riklis - Israel

Lemon Tree turns a minor political skirmish into an affecting parable of a region relentlessly divided.  Salma, a Palestinian widow, finds her beloved lemon grove--a family legacy--threatened when a stubborn Israeli defense minister moves in next door and declares the trees, which straddle the Israel/West Bank border, a security threat.  Salma takes her seemingly hopeless case all the way to the Israeli High Court with the help of a young Palestinian attorney. The legal battle stirs the compassion of the minister's wife, a woman left unhappy and marginalized by her husband's blossoming career, and she forms a surprising solidarity with...

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Fri, Feb 20, 2009
at 8:45 PM (B1)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 7:45 PM (B1)

Lion's Den

DIRECTOR: Pablo Trapero - Argentina

Director-screenwriter Pablo Trapero's redemptive story of a young pregnant woman trying to survive in prison offers a poetic and moving take on the women-behind-bars film. Julia (Marina Gusman), convicted of killing her lover, gives birth to a son, Tomas, in prison.  With the help of her fellow prisoner Marta, Julia is allowed to raise Tomas in a ward for mothers.  Motherhood brings her a new maturity, and a determination to obtain a retrial that could allow her son to lead a normal life. But when Julia's mother angles to gain custody, a wrenching struggle is set in motion that will...

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

Little Pleasures

DIRECTOR: Jamie Marie Waelhcli - Short Cuts II: Oregon Made (Oregon)

This maddening and excruciating piece demonstrates how self-destructive behaviors can stem from rituals intended to bring comfort.

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Mon, Feb 9, 2009
at 6:15 PM (B4)

Tue, Feb 10, 2009
at 8:45 PM (B2)

Wed, Feb 11, 2009
at 8:45 PM (B2)

Loose Rope

DIRECTOR: Mehrshad Karkhani - Iran

Two young men from an Iranian village who work in an animal market are given a seemingly simple task: to deliver a large, wounded cow to Tehran.  As we follow the struggling pair on their panoramic cross-country journey, Karkhani shows the divide between rural and urban life in modern day Iran, while finding moments of gentle humor and stinging truth.  Rather than dwelling on the overtly political, Loose Rope tells a wonderfully human tale of two wandering souls experiencing the wide-eyed wonder of the big city and the simple pleasures of smiling girls, overly officious traffic wardens and bemused crowds...

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Fri, Feb 13, 2009
at 6 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 12:15 PM (B1)

Lorna's Silence

DIRECTOR: Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne - Belgium

Winner of the Best Screenplay Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Lorna's Silence continues the Dardenne brothers' examination of the dark side of European immigrant life. Desperate to stay in the Belgian city of Lièg and make a better life, Lorna, a young Albanian woman, is seduced into a dark immigration scheme by Fabio, an unscrupulous gangster.  She is to marry Claudy, a weak-willed junky, in order to earn her Belgian citizenship.  That done, the plan is to leave him, without arousing the suspicion of the authorities, so that she chan marry a Russian Mafioso who will pay handsomely to...

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Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 7:45 PM (B2)

Tue, Feb 17, 2009
at 6 PM (B1)

Thu, Feb 19, 2009
at 7 PM (B2)

Loss

DIRECTOR: Maris Martinsons - Lithuania

Inspired by Six Degrees of Separation and a  line from Dostoyevsky about "the tears of that one tortured child," Loss tells of a tangled web of lineage, adoption and deception.  This brooding drama delves into the harsh lives of six people whose destinies are intertwined after a tragic accident more than two decades before.  The story unfolds as a priest in Ireland meets a woman, Valda, from his native Lithuania, and dark secrets from his past emerge.  Valda herself is locked in a desperate struggle to honor a promise she made to her son: to return to him.  "Gints Berzins'...

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Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 6:30 PM (B2)

Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 7:15 PM (B4)

Love of Siam

DIRECTOR: Chookiat Sakveerakul - Thailand

Love of Siam is part domestic drama and part a sensitive and honest exploration of teenage sexuality.  Childhood friends Mew and Tong are living peacefully with their families in Bangkok when their lives are disrupted by the mysterious disappearance of Tong's older sister.  Tong's shattered family moves away, separating the boys for years, until they encounter each other again in their late teens. Mew is now the leader of an aspiring boy band whose managing assistant bears a striking resemblance to the lost sister.  As they reestablish family and social connections, lingering feelings from their youth become an emotional attachment...

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 1:30 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 11:45 PM (WH)

Manon on the Asphalt

DIRECTOR: Elizabeth Marre, Oliver Pont - Short Cuts I: International Ties (France)

After a bicycle accident, Manon has an out-of-body experience that gives her a new, birds-eye perspective of her life.

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Fri, Feb 6, 2009
at 6:15 PM (B3)

Tue, Feb 10, 2009
at 6 PM (B1)

Mermaid

DIRECTOR: Anna Melikyan - Russia

An urban fairytale set in contemporary Moscow, Mermaid centers on Alisa, a quiet girl who can control the weather and make wishes come true.  When you Alisa is denied the opportunity to take ballet lessons, she makes a ten-year vow of silence and is sent to a special school, where she begins to recognize her unique talents.  Upon turning 17, she moves from her small seaside town to Moscow, only to fall immediately in love with a troubled young man named Sasha, who does not return her affection, despite the fact that he benefits from her magic.  Eventually, as the...

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Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 4:15 PM (B3)

Thu, Feb 19, 2009
at 6 PM (B3)

Milking the Rhino

DIRECTOR: David E. Simpson - United States

Dispelling the prevailing western myth of Africa as a sort of wilderness theme park populated by people who despoil the land and slaughter endangered species, Milking the Rhino tells the inside story of Africa's environmental revolution and community-based conservation efforts.  Director Simpson follows members of two tribes, the Masai of Kenya and the Himba of Namibia, through fledgling plans to balance their ancient cattle-based economies with new initiatives for a lucrative eco-tourism industry.  The triumphs and the perils of this risky endeavor play out against the backdrop of some of the most sumptuously beautiful footage of Africa ever put on...

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

The Mixtress

DIRECTOR: Peter Hermes - Short Cuts II: Oregon Made (Oregon)

This quick documentary profiles a woman with a passion for sharing music; she has created an international phenomenon by leaving mixed CDs for others to discover.

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 4 PM (WH)

Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 5:30 PM (B3)

Modern Life

DIRECTOR: Raymond Depardon - France

Depardon's beautiful film is a moving portrait of the changing face of life in rural France.  In the Haut-Garonne, the octogenarian Privat brothers struggle with age and declining health; an elderly couple see their dairy herd dwindle to just one cow; a middle-aged man resents his responsibility for the family farm; and an enthusiastic young woman finds herself faced with insurmountable obstacles as she attempts to acquire her own place.  Depardon approaches all of them--people not necessarily at ease with talking about themselves or their situations--with great empathy and affection, and the quiet beauty of the landscape has a voice...

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Thu, Feb 12, 2009
at 6:45 PM (B2)

Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 8:45 PM (B3)

Moscow, Belgium

DIRECTOR: Christophe Van Rompaey - Belgium

Moscow, Belgium is a charming romantic comedy about two misfits faced with each other's messed-up lives and irresistibly drawn together.  In the small, middle-class section of Ghent known as Moscow, Matty struggles with three kids and ex-husband Werner, who dumped her for a young art school student. One day she meets Johnny, by ramming into his truck in a parking lot.  After their initial fight, he takes a liking to her. She spurns his dogged advances--he's much younger and working class--but little by little, she ceases to yearn for Werner and gives in to Johnny's charms.  Naturally, that's precisely when...

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 4 PM (B1)

Mon, Feb 9, 2009
at 1:45 PM (B1)

The Necessities of Life

DIRECTOR: Benoît Pilon - Canada

Inuit hunter Tivii, stricken with tuberculosis, leaves his northernhome and family in 1952 to recuperate in a sanitarium near Quebec City. Uprooted, unable to speak French, and faced with a completely alien world, Tivii becomes despondent.  His fading will to live is suddenly reinvigorated when his nurse arranges for a young Inuit to be transferred to the same hospital.  The boy, and orphan named Kaki, manages to help Tivii adjust.  In exchange for his kindness, Tivii educates his newfound friend about the ways of the land and the Inuit people, and rediscovers hope through his plan to adopt Kaki and...

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

Nickel and Dimin' It With Buddy

DIRECTOR: Tomas Soderberg - Short Cuts II: Oregon Made (Oregon)

Buddy, a homeless man in Portland, makes his living returning cans and bottles.

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Fri, Feb 13, 2009
at 8:30 PM (WH)

Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 2 PM (WH)

Nightwatching

DIRECTOR: Peter Greenaway - Netherlands

Rembrandt's painting "The Night Watch" was considered to be a radical political statement in its day, brimming with political and aesthetic allusions.  It provides the inspiration for Greenaway's masterful tale of aristocratic intrigue and art.  In 1642, at the absolute height of his career, Rembrandt is commissioned to paint the Amsterdam Musketeer Militia.  He soon learns of the seedy conspiracies within the soldiers' ranks and resolves to expose their hypocrisies through the portrait itself.  Greenaway tells the story as a theatrical suspense thriller, employing his characteristic visual invention and splendor to cinematically realize the fabrics, metals, light, and exquisite details...

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

Nous Deux Encore

DIRECTOR: Heather Harlow - Short Cuts II: Oregon Made (Oregon)

Maxie Leoussis recalls the love of her life, her departed husband Yiannis.  "The most horrible thing he did to me was to die."

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

November Light

DIRECTOR: Cheryl Lohrmann - Short Cuts II: Oregon Made (Oregon)

This elegiac poem to a least-favorite time of year reminds us that summer will always end.  Forever.

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 6:15 PM (WH)

Tue, Feb 10, 2009
at 8:30 PM (B1)

O'Horten

DIRECTOR: Bent Hamer - Norway

In examining the choices faced by Odd Horten (Bård Owe), writer-director Hamer deploys bone-dry Scandinavian humor and an entertaining absurdist perspective.  O'Horten is a shy, willfully withdrawn man whose life has been organized around the rigidities of his career as a train conductor.  When he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 67, he is robbed fo his accustomed routines, and sees chaos and death, in forms alternately poignant and slyly humorous, around every corner.  Hamer dramatizes his hero's perplexity wit a cool precision while Owe gives O'Horten a disarming, compassionate dignity.  As O'Horten finds himself in new fixes and akes...

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Thu, Feb 12, 2009
at 9 PM (B3)

Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 6:15 PM (B4)

Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 9:30 PM (B3)

Opium War

DIRECTOR: Siddiq Barmak - Afghanistan

High in the Taliban-controlled mountains of Afghanistan, two American officers are lost in the desert after their helicopter crashes. Of different minds about what to do, they are nonetheless dependent on each other for survival. Mixing ultra-realism with a good dose of absurdity--both comic and tragic--Barmak relates their complex interactions and their surprising encounter with an opium-producing Afghan family living in a Russian armored personnel carrier. Winner of the Best Film Prize at the Rome International Film Festival, and this year's Afghan submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

Oscillating Fan

DIRECTOR: Rob Tyler - Short Cuts II: Oregon Made (Oregon)

A quiet symphony of circulating air.

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 2 PM (WH)

Fri, Feb 13, 2009
at 8:15 PM (B3)

Paper Cannot Wrap Up Embers

DIRECTOR: Rithy Panh - Cambodia

Winner of the European Film Award for best documentary, Paper Cannot Wrap Up Embers is an exploration of contemporary Cambodia and the legacy of its recent past, as seen through the eyes of a community of prostitutes who inhabit a decaying apartment building in Phnom Penh.  Driven to prostitution by the necessities of survival, they relate their sense of disconnection from the very forces that have shaped their destinies: the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge, Western tourism, UN peacekeeping and the all-encompassing winds of capitalism.  Panh's haunting film captures them away from their customers and the noises of the street,...

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 1:30 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 11:45 PM (WH)

Portrait of a Woman

DIRECTOR: Margot Quan Knight - Short Cuts I: International Ties (United States)

A woman, well-documented by home snapshots (Kodachrome to digital), ages before our eyes.

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Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 12 PM (WH)

The Presentation Theme

DIRECTOR: Jim Trainor - Short Cuts IV: Sketched in Time (United States)

The story of a Peruvian POW outmaneuvered by a blood-sucking priestess.

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Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 6 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 2:15 PM (WH)

Pressure Cooker

DIRECTOR: Jennifer Grausman, Mark Becker - United States

Fighting to overcome the challenges of broken homes, abusive relationships and financial burdens, three inner-city seniors and Philadelphia's Frankford High School find an unlikely champion in Wilma Stephenson, cooking instructor.  A legend in the school system, Mrs. Stephenson is a force to be reckoned with, and her boot camp method of teaching the culinary arts is not for the faint of heart.  Under her fierce direction, the usual distractions of high school--the cheerleading practices, football games, and school dances---are swept aside as the students prepare for a citywide cooking competition to win scholarships to some of the country's top culinary...

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 1:30 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 11:45 PM (WH)

Procrastination

DIRECTOR: Johnny Kelly - Short Cuts I: International Ties (Great Britain)

An amusing animated meditation on the subject of inertia.

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Fri, Feb 6, 2009
at 7 PM (B4)

Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 1:30 PM (B1)

Wed, Feb 11, 2009
at 7:15 PM (B3)

The Rest is Silence

DIRECTOR: Nae Caranfil - Romania

"The biggest production in Romanian cinema, Caranfil's exuberant moviemaking comedy reimagines the creation of The War of Independence (1912), his country's first feature film.  As Grig, that film's director, embarks upon his inspired, remarkably ambitious project, he finds himself at odds with the financiers.  Soon, Grig's vision--one that he envisioned uniting his country--has been hijacked.  Caranfil sprinkles the film with droll insider jokes about moviemaking then and now, packing romance, tragedy and even an animated interlude onto the movie's already bountiful bill of fare.  In outlining the framework in which Romanian cinema was born, he suggests that the conflict between...

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 8:30 PM (B3)

Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 5:15 PM (B2)

Mon, Feb 9, 2009
at 9 PM (WH)

Revanche

DIRECTOR: Götz Spielmann - Austria

"The ex-con Alex and his immigrant prostitute girlfriend Tamara are desperate to escape the dangerous brothel where they work.  Robert is a police officer happily married to Ursula, the two enjoying the serene splendor of a farmhouse they've designed and built themselves.  A botched robbery and a bullet fired astray set these characters on a collision course.  What begins as a grim, melodramatic thriller soon spins into completely unexpected emotional territory as writer-director Götz Spielmann reveals the characters' wounded psyches and traces their uneven arcs of redemption.  With its long, carefully composed medium shots, the film ventures into rich, temporal...

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Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 4:30 PM (B4)

Salt of This Sea

DIRECTOR: Annemarie Jacir - Palestine

Soraya, a young Palestinian-American woman, travels to her family's native Palestine for the first time.  Arriving at the airport in Tel Aviv, she comes face to face with a humiliating interrogation.  Shaken, she sets of for Ramallah where she intends to reclaim her grandfather's modest legacy from a Palestinian bank account dating back to 1948, the year of the partition of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel.  When she learns that all of the bank's accounts were emptied after partition and that nothing now exists, Soraya decides to rob the bank.  She joins forces with local waiter...

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Wed, Feb 11, 2009
at 6 PM (WH)

Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 8 PM (WH)

Séraphine

DIRECTOR: Martin Provost - France

The year is 1912. Wilhelm, a German art critic and collector, moves to a small village north of Paris and rents an apartment from Madame Duphot.  Séraphine, Madame Duphot's maid, paints in her spare time, using everything she can find that is free: wine, mud, fruit and flowers.  The locals don't take Séraphine or her paintings seriously, but when Wilhelm, an enthusiastic advocate of modern and "primitive" artists, comes across one of her paintings, he's mesmerized.  It is the beginning of a nurturing relationship that allows her to invisible career to blossom.  Based on the little-known story of one of...

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Thu, Feb 12, 2009
at 6 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 6 PM (WH)

Shall We Kiss?

DIRECTOR: Emmanuel Mouret - France

Woody Allen meets Eric Rohmer in writer-director-actor Emmanuel Mouret's delicately droll romantic comedy.  After a chance encounter on the streets of Nantes, Gabriel and Emilie sense romance in the air, though alas, they are both involved with other people. When Gabriel proposes "a kiss with no consequences," Emilie--knowing there is no such thing--pauses to tell a story.  Through flashbacks, we learn the story of her friends Nicolas and Judith and the brief, seemingly innocent kiss they once shared--which led to the transformation of their entire lives.  Far from a simple kiss-and-tell tale, Mouret's ingenious interweaving of characters and courtship explores...

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 1:30 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 11:45 PM (WH)

Sikumi (on the Ice)

DIRECTOR: Andrew Okepeaha MacLean - Short Cuts I: International Ties (United States)

A troubling tale about a conflict between members of an Eskimo tribe in a remote, visually spectacular locale.

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 5:30 PM (B2)

Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 8 PM (B2)

Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 1:15 PM (B3)

Snow

DIRECTOR: Aida Begic - Bosnia

The year is 1997, and the village of Slavno, recovering from war, is occupied by a mere handful of mostly female residents.  Some are widows.  Many of their children have been executed by the nearby Bosnian Serbs, their bodies never found.  Trying to keep themselves alive by keeping their memories, they have made a dreamland out of their village without even realizing it.  When two businessmen unexpectedly arrive and offer to buy the residents out, the villagers face a choice between survival and the preservation of their souls.  Winner of the Critics' Week Grand Prize at Cannes Film Festival and...

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Fri, Feb 6, 2009
at 6:45 PM (B2)

Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 6 PM (B3)

The Song of Sparrows

DIRECTOR: Majid Majidi - Iran

In this sentimental and sometimes humorous story, a hardworking rural ostrich farmer, Karim (Reza Naji, awarded best actor at the Berlin International Film Festival), is fired from his job and must move his family to Tehran to look for work.  Due to a case of mistaken identity, he finds opportunity behind the wheel of a gypsy taxi.  The sudden exposure to more affluent people and their material preoccupations starts to transform Karim's generous and honest nature, much to the distress of his wife and daughters.  It is up to those closest to him to help him remember the values he...

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Thu, Feb 19, 2009
at 6 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 2:15 PM (WH)

Sugar

DIRECTOR: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck - United States

Every year, hundreds of aspiring baseball talents from the Dominican Republic are drafted into minor teams in the U.S. Sugar follows Miguel Santos, a player struggling to make it to the big leagues and pull his family out of poverty.  Traveling from his tight-knit community to a small town in Iowa, Miguel struggles to make his living in a language he doesn't speak, and as the dream of making it to the majors starts to fade, he must question his choices.  What starts out as a classic rags-to-riches sports story turns into a much more complex and realistic examination of...

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Thu, Feb 19, 2009
at 8:15 PM (B3)

Tehran Has No More Pomegranates

DIRECTOR: Massoud Bakhshi - Iran

"In this beautiful and sometimes mischievous homage to the weird and wonderful city of Tehran, the curious contradictions of Iranian history are playfully exposed.  Bakhshi constructs a century-spanning postmodern portrait of a metropolis turning megalopolis, increasingly an unsustainable urban mess of pollution, inadequate infrastructure and overcrowding.  Using an energetic mix of archival footage, unconventional photography and sometimes asynchronous music and sound, Bakhshi considers the aesthetic and cultural values that have shaped old and new Tehran.  The chaotic impulse of the film's construction is a fitting parallel to the development of a city that has haphazardly survived oppressors, wars and internal...

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Fri, Feb 13, 2009
at 9:30 PM (B4)

Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 3:15 PM (B4)

Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 7:15 PM (B1)

Terra Nova

DIRECTOR: Aleksandr Melnik - Russia

It is 2013.  The entire world has abolished capital punishment.  Prisons are over-crowded with formerly condemned men.  The international community decides to launch a risky experiment called "Terra Nova": a trial group of hardened convicts is sent away to a deserted Northern island, far from civilization, to see if they can start a new life.  There, free from the control of wardens and guards, the convicts begin a fierce struggle for survival and coexistence.  One of the most expensive Russian productions ever made, Melnik's anti-utopian meditation is part savage action film and part intellectual thriller, and despite its grim "Lord...

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

These Pancakes are Small

DIRECTOR: Matthew Seely - Short Cuts II: Oregon Made (Oregon)

Two average brothers trade f-bomb insults over breakfast in this animated slice of life.

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 3 PM (B3)

Thu, Feb 12, 2009
at 7 PM (B3)

Of Time and the City

DIRECTOR: Terence Davies - Great Britain

Of Time and the City was commimssioned to celebrate Liverpool, which won England's bid to become the European Union's Capital of Culture for 2008.  The idea was to commission a straightforward tribute film, but writer-director Davies had something else in mind, and crafted a very personal, poetic meditation--alternately angry, funny and moving--on his birthplace.  The film seamlessly fuses his distinct voice and wry humor with rich archival footage and half-forgotten bits of nostalgia.  Davies reflects on the feeling of timelessness and a lost sense of place, fashioning a love song and personal eulogy that invites one to "come closer.  See...

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

To Remember That our Skies are the Same Skies

DIRECTOR: Chris Lael Larson - Short Cuts II: Oregon Made (Oregon)

Exquisite, state-of-the-art motion graphics poetically render the universality of humanity.

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 7:15 PM (B1)

Tue, Feb 10, 2009
at 6:15 PM (B3)

Tokyo Sonata

DIRECTOR: Kiyoshi Kurosawa - Japan

Based on a story by Australian writer Max Mannix, Tokyo Sonata follows the unraveling of a Japanese family riddled with deception and alienation.  Father Ryuhei is too proud to tell his family his job has been outsourced to China; oldest son Takashi is devising secret plans; young Kenji is secretly taking piano lessons against his father's wishes; and mother Megumi feels cut off from everyone.  Masterfully pitched between comedy, tragedy and surreal irrationality, Kurosawa's fable perfectly captures the impact of the upheavals of uncertainty in an age of globalization.

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 1:30 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

Toyland

DIRECTOR: Jochen Alexander Freydank - Short Cuts I: International Ties (Germany)

When a young boy's mother, responding to her son's question about the whereabouts of his best friend whose family has been sent to a concentration camp, tells her son that his friend has been sent to Toyland, the boy sneaks off to join him.

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Thu, Feb 12, 2009
at 9:15 PM (B2)

Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 8:30 PM (B2)

Treeless Mountain

DIRECTOR: So Yong Kim - United States

Inspired by childhood events, Treeless Mountain has been described by So Yong Kim as a letter to her mother.  The film tells a poignant emotional story of growing up in the Korean countryside and the joys, worries, and hurts of early childhood.  Sent by their impoverished mother in Seoul to live with an aunt in a small village, six-year-old Jin and her younger sister Bin find themselves at the mercy of their selfish, alcoholic "Big Aunt."  Reduced to selling fried grasshoppers to earn money, their misery is compounded when their mother writes to say that she cannot take them back...

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 7:45 PM (B4)

Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 4:45 PM (B4)

Wed, Feb 11, 2009
at 9:15 PM (B1)

Tricks

DIRECTOR: Andrzej Jakimowski - Poland

Jakimowski's warm, quirky drama follows the daily lives of Stefek, a precocious six-year-old boy, and his teenage sister Elka during one magical summer in their small provincial mining town.  A loner, young Stefek wanders the streets of his seemingly dull neighborhood in search of connection.  Sincehis father, a man he barely knew, left his mother for another woman, Stefek has been trying to figure out how to reconcile them and trick fate into bringing him back.  Sister Elka--preoccupied with her auto mechanic boyfriend Jerzy and jer job prospects at a big Italian firm--takes turns ignoring and helping him, assuring him...

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Fri, Feb 20, 2009
at 6 PM (WH)

Tulpan

DIRECTOR: Sergei Dvortsevoy - Kazakhstan

Dvortsevoy's charming tale centers on Asa, a Kazakh sailor who returns home dreaming of a life as a shepherd on the windswept and remote plains of the Kazakh steppe.  Asa's stoic brother-in-law holds back on giving him his own flock until Asa finds a wife, but there is only one girl (Tulpan) of marrying age, and she rejects him.  Her dreams are of the big city, not settling down with the boastful seaman whose ears are too big.  Filled with simple grandeur of the land and its animals, Dvortsevoy's film is a humorous and thoroughly engaging portrait of life in...

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Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 12 PM (WH)

Tusalava

DIRECTOR: Len Lye - Short Cuts IV: Sketched in Time (New Zealand)

Lye created this film about the beginnings of organic life in 1929, inspired by the totem of a tribe which believes that grubs are ancestors of humans.

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Mon, Feb 9, 2009
at 8:45 PM (B2)

Thu, Feb 12, 2009
at 8:30 PM (B1)

Fri, Feb 13, 2009
at 6:45 PM (B2)

Under the Bombs

DIRECTOR: Philippe Aractingi - Lebanon

During the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, which devastated Lebanon's infrastructure and civilian population, filmmaker Aractingi experienced firsthand the rocket attacks on Beirut.  He shot footage of the destruction and chaos and then, following the ceasefire, filmed a fictitious narrative, a thriller about a Shiite woman searching for her missing son with the aid of a Christian cab driver.  These combined elements form his engrossing docu-fiction road movie in which we see the reality of incredible destruction and devastating community trauma.  Despite the context, Aractingi does not opt for political diatribe, but rather for an emotional, strikingly authentic cry...

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Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 7:30 PM (B3)

Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 6:30 PM (B3)

Upstream Battle

DIRECTOR: Ben Kempas - Germany

One of the most infamous environmental battles in the last decade has centered on the four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River, which runs from Southern Oregon through Norther California to the Pacific.  In 2002, an estimated seventy thousand salmon died from water management decisions that did not favor fish runs.  In Upstream Battle Kempas tells the remarkable story of the battle over the use of the river, in which the stakeholders in this ecosystem--farmers who rely on the water for irrigation; tribes of the Hoopa, Yurok, Karuk and Klamath whose cultures are based on salmon fishing; and commercial fishermen...

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

Water Paper Time

DIRECTOR: Gretchen Hogue - Short Cuts II: Oregon Made (Oregon)

Exploiting the compression of time possible with motion pictures, this documentary artfully shows paper artist Helen Hiebert's process.

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 1:30 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 11:45 AM (WH)

The Wednesdays

DIRECTOR: Conor Ferguson - Short Cuts I: International Ties (Ireland)

An elderly couple utilize an illicit substance to inject some zing back into their marriage.

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Fri, Feb 6, 2009
at 7:15 PM (B1)

Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 4:30 PM (B1)

Tue, Feb 10, 2009
at 9:15 PM (B3)

The Window

DIRECTOR: Carlos Sorin - Argentina

Set in the lush Patagonia countryside, The Window is a tender, nostalgic film about nature, memory, aging and impending death.  Ill and bedridden, 80-year-old Antonio awaits a visit from his estranged son, now a world-famous concert pianist. He wants everything to be perfect for the reunion, and the women who coddle and nurse him in his hacienda work non-stop to make him happy. A piano tuner arrives make sure that the instrument is in working order, and the champagne bottle that has been kept in the cellar for 40 yars is on hand for the welcome toast.  Unable to assist...

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 1 PM (B2)

Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 2:30 PM (B1)

Tue, Feb 17, 2009
at 6:30 PM (B2)

Wolf--The Laws of Wilderness

DIRECTOR: Daniel Alfredson - Sweden

A riveting study of man vs. nature and traditional society vs. modern life, Wold boasts a bravura performance from Coen Brothers veteran Peter Stormare (Fargo, The Big Lebowski), stunning panoramic vistas of the Arctic wilderness, and intense courtroom drama. Stormare plays Klemens Klemensten, a native Sami (or Lapplander) in the far north of Sweden who herds reindeer as his father did before him, assisted by his teenage nephew Nejla.  When a wolf attacks the herd, the two track the predator down, and, in a gripping encounter, Nejla kills the wolf with a single ax blow.  But wolves are endangered species...

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Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 7 PM (B1)

Fri, Feb 20, 2009
at 8:30 PM (WH)

Worlds Apart

DIRECTOR: Niels Arden Oplev - Denmark

Based on a newspaper story Oplev read about a girl expelled from the Jehovah's Witness Church, Worlds Apart tells the story of Sara, a pretty, sheltered 17-year-old who goes from door to door with her community members to preach about judgment day and eternal salvation.  But when Sara meets and falls in love with the worldly Teis--not a Jehovah's Witness--she is confronted with the most difficult choice of her life.  Torn between her conscience, faith and passion, she is forced to choose between her own desires and those of her family.  As Sara, Rosalinde Mynster gives a magical, sensitive portrayal...

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Tue, Feb 10, 2009
at 7 PM (B4)

Thu, Feb 12, 2009
at 6:15 PM (B4)

The Yellow House

DIRECTOR: Amor Hakkar - Algeria

Winner of the Jury Award at the Locarno Film Festival, Hakkar's picturesque film is as much an ode to the Algerian countryside as it is a poignant tale of a man's struggle to keep his family intact. When Mouloud learns that his son has been killed in a car accident, he leaves his wife and daughter and embarks on a meditative journey across Algeria to bring back his body. Traveling through the majestic Aurès Mountains, he overcomes the obstacles he faces thanks to the remarkable kindness and sensitivity of his countrymen in the neighboring town and villages.  Upon returning home...

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Fri, Feb 6, 2009
at 9:30 PM (WH)

Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 7:45 PM (B3)

Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love

DIRECTOR: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi - United States

Youssou Ndour has been one of the brightest--and most courageous--stars in African music for over three decades.  Youssou was born into the West African griot tradition, in which musicians themselves must earn and command the status position of stateman.  His mélange of meringue, hip-hop, juju and funk manages to get everyone from prime ministers to street kids into his singular groove.  Vasarhelyi's film centers on the creation of his 9/11-inspired "Egypt," a joyous pan-African album in praise of the prophets and saints that gives Islam a human and smiling face.  Shocking backlash at home in predominantly Muslim Senegal takes the...

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