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Films & Schedules - Friday, February 13, 2009

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

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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Fri, Feb 13, 2009
at 6:15 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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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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Fri, Feb 13, 2009
at 7 PM (B4)

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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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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Fri, Feb 13, 2009
at 8:30 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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Fri, Feb 13, 2009
at 8:45 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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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 9:30 PM (B4)

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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