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Films & Schedules - Friday, February 11, 2011

THE FIRST GRADER

Fri, Feb 11, 2011
at 6 PM (B2)
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THE FIRST GRADER

DIRECTOR: Justin Chadwick - GREAT BRITAIN

A deep and rich exploration of a man’s life-long fight for dignity and freedom, The First Grader, based on a true story, is set in a remote primary school in Kenya. Among the hundreds of children hoping to enroll for the free education newly promised by the government, one applicant causes astonishment. He is Maruge, an old Mau Mau veteran in his eighties. He fought for the liberation of his country and now wants the chance of an education so long denied. Moved by his passionate plea, head teacher Jane Obinchu supports his struggle to gain admission, and together they...

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KAWASAKI’S ROSE

Fri, Feb 11, 2011
at 6 PM (WH)
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KAWASAKI’S ROSE

DIRECTOR: Jan Hrebejk - CZECH REPUBLIC

Lacing a vivid family drama with light comedic flourishes, Hrebejk offers a poetic and political rumination on contemporary Czech life that reminds us that the present can never outrun the past. Pavel is an esteemed psychiatrist whose dissident activism during the days of Communist rule is about to be honored with a national award. Most everyone is pleased. But unfortunately the film crew documenting Pavel’s accomplishments includes his erratic, resentful son-in-law, Ludek, who is convinced Pavel’s righteous arrogance conceals a darker truth. When research reveals that Pavel had a sordid past with the Czech secret police, Ludek uncovers a shocking...

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SILENT SOULS

Fri, Feb 11, 2011
at 6:15 PM (B3)
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SILENT SOULS

DIRECTOR: Aleksei Fedorchenko - RUSSIA

The rites and rituals of the Merja people, an ethnic minority in a former Finnish enclave that became part of Russia under Ivan the Terrible, form the backbone of this lyrical, dreamlike movie about love and loss. After his beloved wife Tanja dies, Miron, the head of a paper factory in the town of Myra, calls on his best friend, Aist, to aid him on a journey to take Tanja to her final ritual farewell. As their road trip unfolds, it becomes apparent that Aist and Tanja were once more than friends. Along the way, the Merja myths and traditions...

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SON OF BABYLON

Fri, Feb 11, 2011
at 6:45 PM (B4)
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SON OF BABYLON

DIRECTOR: Mohamed Al-Daradji - IRAQ

A son’s search for his father and a mother’s search for her son form the centerpiece for an exploration of the aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Set in 2003, just after Hussein’s downfall, young Ahmed and his determined grandmother journey across Iraq in search of his father, Ibrahim, a soldier missing in action since 1991. Focusing on forgiveness and people’s ability to overcome rather than on the many atrocities of the regime, Son of Babylon offers a poignant, eye-opening take on post-war Iraq, telling the story of two as the story of many. “Chases a poetic answer for the crimes...

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IF I WANT TO WHISTLE, I WHISTLE

Fri, Feb 11, 2011
at 7 PM (B1)
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IF I WANT TO WHISTLE, I WHISTLE

DIRECTOR: Florin Serban - ROMANIA

Winner of the Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival and this year’s Romanian submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Serban’s film is a penetrating character study of misguided youth. Silviu has spent several years in a juvenile detention center after being arrested for theft, but just days before his release, he receives the dismaying news that his mother, who abandoned him and his younger brother years before, has returned. What’s more, she intends to take his brother, whom Silviu raised like his own son, to Italy. Devastated, resentful, and filled with an overpowering sense of betrayal, Silviu...

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HEARTBEATS

Fri, Feb 11, 2011
at 8:15 PM (B3)
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HEARTBEATS

DIRECTOR: Xavier Dolan - CANADA

Part quirky farce, part serious meditation on the insanity of unrequited love and desire, Heartbeats centers on best friends Francis (Xavier Dolan) and Marie (Monia Chokri). One evening they meet Nicolas (Niels Schneider), a striking young man from the country who has recently arrived in town. His boyish charm and classic good looks set off bells in both of them that neither can shut off. The threesome begins to spend more and more time together. But the closer the three seem to get, the more remote and unattainable Nico becomes—is he straight or gay, or just wanting to be friends?—sending...

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INCENDIES

Fri, Feb 11, 2011
at 8:30 PM (WH)
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INCENDIES

DIRECTOR: Denis Villeneuve - CANADA

Shifting between present-day Montreal and the Lebanese civil war of the 1970s, the story starts at the reading of twin brother and sister Simon and Jeanne’s mother’s will. It is revealed that they have a brother whom they never knew about and a father who is still alive. Their mother, Nawal, gives them the task of finding the two and delivering them her sealed letters. As the film cuts between the twins’ search and flashbacks to Nawal’s difficult past, Simon and Jeanne learn about their mother’s heart-breaking story and discover surprises about themselves. Adapted from Wajdi Mouawad’s acclaimed stage play,...

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THE FIRST BEAUTIFUL THING

Fri, Feb 11, 2011
at 8:45 PM (B2)
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THE FIRST BEAUTIFUL THING

DIRECTOR: Paolo Virzì - ITALY

Mixing warm comedy and nostalgic drama, Virzì tells the story of a misanthropic son named Bruno returning to his hometown to see his dying mother. When Bruno was eight, his sister Anna was roped into a beauty contest in their hometown of Liverno and, as a great beauty, easily won. His father, enraged by the leering attention she attracted, abandoned the family, setting in motion a life that led his spirited mother to do whatever was necessary to support Bruno and Anna. Always embarrassed by her ways, Bruno found a life as far away from Liverno as possible. When he...

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PEEPLI LIVE

Fri, Feb 11, 2011
at 9 PM (B4)
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PEEPLI LIVE

DIRECTOR: Anusha Rizvi - INDIA

A satire of the real-life epidemic of farmer suicides that have plagued India for the past decade, Rizvi infuses humor and buoyancy into his depiction of this tragic predicament. In the village of Peepli, two poor farmers, Natha and Budhia, face losing their land over an unpaid government loan. Desperate, they seek help from an apathetic local politician, who suggests they commit suicide to benefit from a government program that aids the families of indebted deceased farmers. When a journalist overhears Budhia urge Natha to “do what needs to be done” for the sake of their families, a media frenzy...

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GOOD MORNING TO THE WORLD

Fri, Feb 11, 2011
at 9:15 PM (B1)
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GOOD MORNING TO THE WORLD

DIRECTOR: Hirohara Satoru - JAPAN

High school boy Takahashi Yuta is effectively bringing himself up alone. His father is long gone, and his mother is constantly off on trips, leaving him notes and modest amounts of cash to keep himself fed. Not surprisingly, he’s a bit of a loner at school. But he’s fascinated by (identifies with?) the vagrant man who sleeps in a road tunnel near his home, and when that man is killed—apparently by a gang of local delinquents—he sets off on a quest to find the dead man’s family and friends, following clues in the man’s bag. “This debut feature from Hirohara...

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