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Films & Schedules - Friday, February 6, 2009

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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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