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Films & Schedules - Tuesday, February 10, 2009

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


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


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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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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Tue, Feb 10, 2009
at 7 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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Tue, Feb 10, 2009
at 8:30 PM (B1)


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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Tue, Feb 10, 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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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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Tue, Feb 10, 2009
at 9:30 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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