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Films & Schedules - Saturday, February 7, 2009

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 7, 2009
at 1:30 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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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 1:30 PM (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 7, 2009
at 1:30 PM (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 7, 2009
at 1:30 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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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 1:30 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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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 1:30 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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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 1:30 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 1:30 PM (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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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 1:30 PM (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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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 2:30 PM (B2)

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 7, 2009
at 3 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)

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

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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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 4 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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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
at 5:15 PM (B4)

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

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

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

Blind Sunflowers

DIRECTOR: José Luis Cuerda - Spain

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

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

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

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

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

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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