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Films & Schedules - Friday, February 14, 2014

AMERICAN DREAMS IN CHINA

Fri, Feb 14, 2014
at 5:45 PM (Fox Tower)
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AMERICAN DREAMS IN CHINA

DIRECTOR: Peter Ho-Sun Chan - HONG KONG

In 1985, in the midst of China’s economic reform period, three college students in Beijing—an overzealous country boy who refuses to accept his destiny of being a farmer, a cynical intellectual with a superiority complex, and a romantic idealist who wants to be a movie star—bond through a shared fascination with Western literature, music, and movies and an ambition to live the American dream. This sets the three on a roundabout course toward the foundation of a wildly successful English-language tutorial institute—but fame, enormous fortune, and lawsuits test the bonds of ambition. Shot by superstar cinematographer Christopher Doyle and dubbed...

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COFFEE IN BERLIN

Fri, Feb 14, 2014
at 6 PM (OMSI)
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COFFEE IN BERLIN

DIRECTOR: Jan Ole Gerster - GERMANY

Gerster’s wry, breezy first feature (a.k.a. Oh Boy) swept all of the major German Film Awards this year with its sly subversion of Generation Y clichés, assured direction, and timeless black-and-white cinematography. Berlin slacker Niko is drifting through his twenties content to let life and responsibilities slide by and oblivious to his growing estrangement. But over the course of a single day, the cosmic balance shifts, imperceptibly at first, and a series of unfortunate and surprising encounters snowball into what could only be described as an existential crisis. His girlfriend turns on him, and when his disappointed father asks him—after...

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PEOPLE IN PLACES

Fri, Feb 14, 2014
at 6 PM (Cinema 21 (small theaters))
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PEOPLE IN PLACES

DIRECTOR: Juan Cavestany - SPAIN

“To uncover the strange in the ordinary, the unsettling in the everyday: this is the mark of imaginative wizardry that can be found in abundance in People in Places. Working with the tiniest of micro-budgets, Cavestany stages a series of bizarre, Buñuelian scenarios that offer a cracked view of contemporary Spain in the wake of the economic crisis. Making use of some of Spain’s greatest actors alongside faces, he places them in bizarre situations that will have you laughing out loud. Moving from one nondescript location to the next, a theme, or perhaps more of an undercurrent, emerges—until the fiercely...

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STRANGER BY THE LAKE

Fri, Feb 14, 2014
at 6 PM (Cinemagic)
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STRANGER BY THE LAKE

DIRECTOR: Alain Guiraudie - FRANCE

Franck is a regular at a secluded lakeside beach, a popular hotspot for gay men to sunbathe in the nude and sneak off for casual sex in the nearby woods. On the first day of the season, he spots the rugged, mustachioed Michel and is infatuated. Even after Franck witnesses Michel commit a sudden and shocking crime, it only serves to deepen Franck’s carnal attraction to the stranger, and the two men descend into a truly dizzying bout of amour fou. Filmmaker Alain Guiraudie’s tense, erotic, and lurid thriller won the top directing prize in the Un Certain Regard section...

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TIM’S VERMEER

Fri, Feb 14, 2014
at 6 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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TIM’S VERMEER

DIRECTOR: Teller - UNITED STATES

In 2001, in his book Secret Knowledge, artist David Hockney argued that some classical painters—Johannes Vermeer (“Girl with the Pearl Earring”) especially—had used camera optics in making their great paintings. There was controversy. Was this cheating? Why shouldn’t an artist do whatever he can think of? answered Hockney. But Tim Jenison, a Texas software inventor, considered how he might use 17th-century technology to achieve Vermeer’s photographic look. When his first experiment seemed to work, he thought, “Why not paint my own Vermeer?” Spanning eight years, Jenison’s riveting mystery-adventure takes him to Delft, where Vermeer painted his masterpieces, on a pilgrimage...

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A WORLD NOT OURS

Fri, Feb 14, 2014
at 6 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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A WORLD NOT OURS

DIRECTOR: Mahdi Fleifel - LEBANON

Drawing on a family history of videomaking, Fleifel offers an intimate glimpse into the crumbling Ain el-Helweh (“Sweet Spring”) refugee camp in Lebanon—a settlement of less than a square mile that has, for more than 60 years, been home to more than 70,000 people. Fleifel spent his formative years there in the 1980s, before his family settled in Denmark. For years he’s been returning and keeping a video diary, and in A World Not Ours, he provides a frank, funny, and nostalgic insider portrait of the community. The conversations with residents, friends, and family provide an unfiltered take on Palestinian...

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ALAN PARTRIDGE: ALPHA PAPA

Fri, Feb 14, 2014
at 8:30 PM (Cinemagic)
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ALAN PARTRIDGE: ALPHA PAPA

DIRECTOR: Declan Lowney - GREAT BRITAIN

“Those who have hungered for the big-screen debut of Steve Coogan’s singular comic creation need wait no longer: Alpha Papa has landed, and it is uproariously funny. Since 1994, various BBC series have chronicled the hilarious downward trajectory of the vain and obliviously tactless Alan Partridge, from failed television talk-show host to obnoxious regional radio broadcaster, mercilessly skewering English mediocrity and media ineptitude along the way. When the staff of Radio Norwich is seized at gunpoint by downsized DJ Pat, a siege scenario is set in motion, and Alan is obliged to risk his life by serving as the intermediary....

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HELI

Fri, Feb 14, 2014
at 8:30 PM (Fox Tower)
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HELI

DIRECTOR: Amat Escalante - MEXICO

Heli works at a car factory and tries hard to provide for his young wife, son, and sister Estela. Twelve-year-old Estela has fallen in love with a young police cadet with whom she wants to run away and marry. As she pursues her dream, one deadly mistake leads to another, and she unwittingly drags her family into the horror of devastating drug violence. Once events are set in motion, there is no escaping the destruction that results from a society ruled by men with guns. A portrayal of the most violent contemporary landscape imaginable, Escalante’s film confirms that it is...

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THE LUNCHBOX

Fri, Feb 14, 2014
at 8:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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THE LUNCHBOX

DIRECTOR: Ritesh Batra - INDIA

Ila (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is a lonely Mumbai housewife who yearns to spark the affections of her inattentive husband. She patiently prepares a special lunch for him to enjoy at work, but through a mix-up with the delivery service, the meal ends up at the desk of Saajan (Irrfan Khan), an isolated accountant on the verge of retiring. Thrilled by the great surprise but compelled to acknowledge the mistake, Saajan starts an ongoing exchange of warm letters between the lonely pair, through which they reveal their innermost secrets. On his retirement, Sajaan goes in search of the cook of his dreams....

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THE PRIEST’S CHILDREN

Fri, Feb 14, 2014
at 8:30 PM (OMSI)
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THE PRIEST’S CHILDREN

DIRECTOR: Vinko Brešan - CROATIA

A young Catholic priest takes subversive action to enforce the Church’s position on birth control among his flock and soon has a baby boom on his hands in Vinko Brešan’s acerbic satire, adapted from the scandalously popular stage play. New priest Father Fabijan takes charge of the parish on the bucolic Adriatic island of Dnevnik, a location that has seen its population steadily dwindle. After hearing confession from a devout kiosk vendor racked with guilt over selling condoms, Father Fabijan hits upon a solution to both their problems: pierce the prophylactics. Once they enlist a kooky nationalistic pharmacist in their...

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SALVO

Fri, Feb 14, 2014
at 8:30 PM (Cinema 21 (small theaters))
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SALVO

DIRECTOR: Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza - ITALY

A hit man for the Sicilian mafia, Salvo is solitary, cold, and ruthless. When he sneaks into a house on an assignment, he discovers Rita, an innocent young blind girl who must stand by powerlessly while her brother is assassinated. What follows is an intense exchange, fueled by adrenaline and fear, between the killer and his witness, one that changes their two lives in an instant. The darkness is lifted from Rita’s eyes just as Salvo decides, against his murderous instincts, to spare her life. Haunted by their encounter, both of these damaged souls will attempt to navigate their dangerous...

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WHAT IS CINEMA?

Fri, Feb 14, 2014
at 8:30 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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WHAT IS CINEMA?

DIRECTOR: Chuck Workman - UNITED STATES

Chuck Workman is best known for creating unforgettable Oscar montage sequences. In What is Cinema?, he shares his understanding and love of avant-garde cinematic language by creating a visual essay out of clips from films that have pushed the boundaries of the art form. Woven among them are new and archival interviews with a pantheon of personal filmmakers that provide food for thought on where cinema might be headed. Workman’s interview subjects include the likes of Mike Leigh, Jonas Mekas, Yvonne Rainer, David Lynch, video artist Bill Viola, Kelly Reichardt, Costa-Gavras, Ken Jacobs, and Michael Moore, who consider key artists...

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THE CONGRESS

Fri, Feb 14, 2014
at 11:45 PM (Cinema 21 - Large Theater)
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THE CONGRESS

DIRECTOR: Ari Folman - ISRAEL

“Folman’s follow-up to his strikingly rotoscoped Waltz with Bashir is a bold, metaphysical sci-fi satire: a live-action set-up that goes down the rabbit hole of loony animation partway through. Based on a novel by Solaris author Stanislaw Lem, The Congress sees Robin Wright playing Robin Wright, an actress with diminishing options in a savage and surreal movie business. When her agent (Harvey Keitel) delivers an ultimatum, Wright’s only choice is to sell her very identity. Plunged into a lurid Orwellian future, she must rediscover herself with the help of her personal animator (Jon Hamm) and human doctor (Paul Giamatti).”—London Film...

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