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32nd Annual Portland International Film Festival
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Films & Schedules - Sunday, February 15, 2009

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 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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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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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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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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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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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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Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 12:45 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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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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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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Sun, Feb 15, 2009
at 2 PM (B4)

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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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 15, 2009
at 3:45 PM (B2)

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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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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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 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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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 6:30 PM (B2)

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

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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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 15, 2009
at 7:30 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 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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