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Films & Schedules - Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 6 PM (WH)

Idiots and Angels

DIRECTOR: Bill Plympton - United States

Plympton's latest cartoon noir--what he calls an "intimate one man film"--tells the provocative tale of Angel, a cruel, misanthropic, sex-hungry, gun-dealing businessman who hangs out at his local bar, berating the other patrons.  One day Angel, much to his dismay, mysteriously wakes up with a pair of wings on his back.  The wings gradually spur him into doing good deeds for the fellow inhabitants of his suburban world of dive bars and seedy unhappiness.  Unfortunately he is shot by Bart, the nasty bartender, who then has a doctor sew the wings onto his own back and uses them to his...

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Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 6 PM (B1)

Katyn

DIRECTOR: Andrzej Wajda - Poland

Following the Soviet Union's invasion of Poland in 1939, nearly 15,000 Polish army officers, police, gendarmes, and civilians were taken prisoner by the Red Army and executed at three different sites, the most famous of which was Katyn Forest.  In 1943, the Germans announced the discovery of the Katyn graves, but the Soviets denied the killings, fabricating evidence that implicated the Germans.  In Communist Poland, asserting the truth about Katyn resulted in persecution by the Secret Police.  Katyn does not tell the story of the massacre, but rather of the families that had to live with both the pain of...

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Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 6:15 PM (B4)

Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 9:30 PM (B3)

Opium War

DIRECTOR: Siddiq Barmak - Afghanistan

High in the Taliban-controlled mountains of Afghanistan, two American officers are lost in the desert after their helicopter crashes. Of different minds about what to do, they are nonetheless dependent on each other for survival. Mixing ultra-realism with a good dose of absurdity--both comic and tragic--Barmak relates their complex interactions and their surprising encounter with an opium-producing Afghan family living in a Russian armored personnel carrier. Winner of the Best Film Prize at the Rome International Film Festival, and this year's Afghan submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

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Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 6:45 PM (B2)

Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 9:15 PM (B2)

Lake Tahoe

DIRECTOR: Fernando Eimbcke - Mexico

In an attempt to escape from a home where sorrow reigns, 16-year-old Juan crashes his family's car into a pole on the outskirts of town.  He sets off in search of spare parts and help, but in this sleepy Yucatan town his options are limited.  His encounters with the few people he does manage to find are gently comic, and only after considerable time has passed do we learn that Juan's father has recently died, his grief-stricken mother isn't coping, and his younger brother has been left to fend for himself.  Minimalist and understated, Lake Tahoe has echoes of Aki...

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Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 7 PM (B3)

The Garden

DIRECTOR: Scott Hamilton Kennedy - United States

The focal point of Scott Hamilton Kennedy's impassioned film is a 14-acre community garden, once the nation's largest, in South Central Los Angeles.  Following the riots of 1992, an embattled group of mostly Latin-American immigrants known as the South Central Farmers turned a vacant lot at the corner of 41st and Alameda into a repository of civic pride, beans, corn, papaya trees, and more--along with seeds of hope for their families.  But five years ago, a developer began making plans to raze their oasis and thus their dreams.  Kennedy takes us into the heart of the battle to save the...

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Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 8:30 PM (B4)

Karamazovs

DIRECTOR: Petr Zelenka - Czech Republic

A drama company from Prague arrives in Krakow to present a stage adaptation of Dostoyevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" at the city's alternative theater festival. The production is to be staged in an unusual venue: the local steelworks.  During rehearsals, the drama on stage spills over into the lives of the actors.  Dostoyevsky's themes of faith, immortality, and salvation cross borders as the film moves between its alternating perspectives.  Focusing on the trial scenes, this provocative film examines the subject of patricide and the complicity of the three younger Karamozovs and Smerdyakov. Hailed as the Czech film of the year, Karamazovs...

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Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 8:30 PM (WH)

Lemon Tree

DIRECTOR: Eran Riklis - Israel

Lemon Tree turns a minor political skirmish into an affecting parable of a region relentlessly divided.  Salma, a Palestinian widow, finds her beloved lemon grove--a family legacy--threatened when a stubborn Israeli defense minister moves in next door and declares the trees, which straddle the Israel/West Bank border, a security threat.  Salma takes her seemingly hopeless case all the way to the Israeli High Court with the help of a young Palestinian attorney. The legal battle stirs the compassion of the minister's wife, a woman left unhappy and marginalized by her husband's blossoming career, and she forms a surprising solidarity with...

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Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 8:45 PM (B1)

Jerusalema

DIRECTOR: Ralph Ziman - South Africa

"I had two heroes: Karl Marx and Al Capone." So begins the story of Lucky Kunene, a small-time South African hood who makes crime his career choice when he can't afford his college tuition.  Realizing that small-time crime doesn't pay, he decides to turn himself into a "businessman": a real estate developer who hijacks groups of buildings from white slumlords, offering to sell them back in exchange for improved living conditions.  While gaining Robin Hood status for good works and a talent for evading the law, Kunene soon finds out that success unfortunately makes enemies.  Ziman's fast-paced crime rama, based...

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