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Films & Schedules - Monday, February 17, 2014

AGLAJA

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 12 PM (Fox Tower)
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AGLAJA

DIRECTOR: Krisztina Deák - HUNGARY

In the hope of a better life, a Hungarian-Romanian family of circus artists escapes from the Ceausescu dictatorship in Romania to the West in the early 1980s. There they realize that to stay in the ring they will need to devise an exotic and different performance. The mother devises a special act in which she hangs by her hair in the circus dome. However, her daughter Aglaja is constantly worried that her mother will fall to her death, and this fear becomes an everyday burden for her to bear. Yet one day—following the family tradition—she herself will become “the Woman...

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Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 12 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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SHORT CUTS II: INTERNATIONAL TIES

SHORT CUTS

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AYA OF YOP CITY

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 12:15 PM (Cinema 21 (small theaters))
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AYA OF YOP CITY

DIRECTOR: Clément Oubrerie, Marguerite Abouet - FRANCE

Based on the series of young adult graphic novels, this vibrant animated tale unfolds in a colorful, working-class neighborhood in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Life is good in Yop City: its sun-soaked markets, open air bars, and quirky cafés are the perfect backdrop for 19-year-old Aya and her two best friends, Adjoua and Bintou. While the bookish Aya hopes to get a degree in medicine, the ambitions of Adjoua and Bintou lean more toward the degree to which they can attract young men. In this upbeat, gentle weave of modern urban Africa, the three girls navigate nosy neighbors, meddling relatives, young...

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THE LAST STEP

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 12:15 PM (Cinemagic)
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THE LAST STEP

DIRECTOR: Ali Mosaffa - IRAN

Inspired by James Joyce’s “The Dead,” this engrossing tale of grief, guilt, and lost love is narrated from beyond the grave by architect Khosro (Mosaffa), who has died in a mysterious fall but lingers around his beautiful film star wife, Leila (Leila Hatami), reviewing their complicated but loving marriage. Hanging around the set where she is trying to finish shooting the film begun before his death, previously unexplained truths dawn on him, but Leila, who manages to insert her perspective into the story, still has some secrets. This complex, ironic, and delicate psychological thriller is lead actor Mosaffa’s sophomore directing...

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COFFEE IN BERLIN

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 2:30 PM (Cinemagic)
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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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THE GOLDEN DREAM

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 2:30 PM (Cinema 21 (small theaters))
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THE GOLDEN DREAM

DIRECTOR: Diego Quemada-Díez - MEXICO

Quemada-Díez brings a gritty realism and social conscience to a story about the excitement and horror young Central American migrants regularly face in trying to make it to the United States. Sara, a Guatemalan teenager, chops her hair off and disguises herself as a boy. She’s joined by her friends Juan and Samuel on a thrilling and brutal journey north, hopping freight trains heading for Los Angeles. As the group faces life-and-death challenges from bandits and corrupt law enforcement, they learn crucial life lessons about friendship and loyalty. This poetic thriller was inspired by the true stories unfolding daily along...

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LEVITATED MASS

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 2:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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LEVITATED MASS

DIRECTOR: Doug Pray - UNITED STATES

Levitated Mass chronicles the journey of a 340-ton granite boulder that was moved from a quarry in Riverside to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and mounted upon the walls of a 456-foot-long concrete slot. First attempted in 1968, the 2012 permanent installation “Levitated Mass” is the latest land sculpture by one of America’s most misunderstood and exciting artists, Michael Heizer. His rock’s 105-mile transport captured international media attention and challenged the imagination of thousands of southern Californians over 10 nights as it crawled through four counties on a football-field-long transport. As fascinating is the dramatic story of Heizer’s...

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THE TOUGH GUYS

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 2:30 PM (Fox Tower)
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THE TOUGH GUYS

DIRECTOR: Christian Lo - NORWAY

Eleven-year-old Modulf fancies himself as something of a superhero, saving the other kids at his school from being bullied by “allowing” the tough kids to pick on him so they can escape. While he’s the one being soaked in the bathroom, the other kids are protected. Then one day Lise joins Modulf’s class, wreaking havoc with his plan. Lise doesn’t agree with his theories, and her interfering suddenly makes her a target for trouble, forcing him to reexamine his strategy and save her. Winner of the Best Children’s Film Prize at the Nordic Film Days. (74 mins.)

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IN BLOOM

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 5 PM (Fox Tower)
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IN BLOOM

DIRECTOR: Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Gross - GEORGIA

It’s 1992 in Tbilisi, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but 14-year-old best friends Eka and Natia are unfazed by the fear and insecurity lurking around them. As civil war rages in the rest of the country, the girls are preoccupied with school gossip, learning how to smoke cigarettes, and flirting with the neighborhood boys. Their lives change when Natia receives a pistol as an unexpected love gesture, and suddenly the girls must face circumstances beyond their control. Loosely based on Ekvtimishvili’s experiences, In Bloom portrays distinctively fierce female characters who struggle to escape their turbulent families and male-dominated...

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PEOPLE IN PLACES

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 5 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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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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THE PRIEST’S CHILDREN

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 5 PM (Cinemagic)
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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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TELEVISION

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 5 PM (Cinema 21 (small theaters))
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TELEVISION

DIRECTOR: Mostofa Sarwar Farooki - BANGLADESH

Tradition and technology clash in this satire set in rural Bangladesh. On religious grounds, a local community leader, Chairman Amin, bans every kind of image in his little village, including televisions and mobile phones. He even declares that imagination is sinful as it leads one into prohibited territory. His order is met with revolt, even within his own family, and the once peaceful village is riven by the decision. As he enters into a bitter dispute with his beloved son and the repercussions of his decision become more and more serious, the chairman himself needs a reinvigoration of his faith....

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CIRCLES

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 6:30 PM (OMSI)
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CIRCLES

DIRECTOR: Srdan Golubovic - SERBIA

Circles unfolds as a triptych, exploring the moral convolutions of guilt and complex story strands that emerge from one fateful moment. Marco, a Serbian soldier on leave during the war in 1993, returns to his Bosnian hometown. When three fellow soldiers accost Haris, a Muslim shopkeeper, Marco intervenes, but it costs him his life. Twelve years later, the war is over, but the wounds remain open. Marco’s father is rebuilding a church when Bogdan, the son of one of Marco’s killers, appears looking for work. Meanwhile in Belgrade, Marco’s friend Nabobs, a renowned surgeon, debates whether or not to operate...

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NOBODY’S DAUGHTER HAEWON

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 7:30 PM (Fox Tower)
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NOBODY’S DAUGHTER HAEWON

DIRECTOR: Hong Sang-soo - SOUTH KOREA

Why does Seoul student Haewon keep dozing off? Is she depressed by her mother’s departure for Canada? Tired of her relationship with her teacher, the fickle—and married—filmmaker Seongjun? Will the events of the coming weeks rouse her from her listlessness, or will she carry on dreaming? With its focus on fraught male-female relationships, mix of gentle comedy and meditative melancholia, and playful way with narrative repetition and fragmentation, this is clearly a Hong Sang-soo film. In Hong’s view of human foibles, the various men hitting on Haewon are again prone to bathos and self-delusion, while she herself is as insecure...

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STRAY DOGS

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 7:30 PM (Cinemagic)
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STRAY DOGS

DIRECTOR: Tsai Ming-Liang - TAIWAN

In Ming-Liang’s vision, existence seems to hang by a thread that could snap at any moment. Under a torrential downpour in Taipei, a single father does odd jobs to make a meager living. His children, left without supervision, roam the streets. Their divorced mother spends her nights creeping around like a ghost in her rundown building and feeding the stray dogs that take shelter there. With his latest offering, the Taiwanese filmmaker delves deeper into his evocative cinematic world, one where disenfranchised people are overcome with an uneasiness they can’t explain. With its gorgeous lighting and striking locations and compositions,...

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WALESA: MAN OF HOPE

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 7:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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WALESA: MAN OF HOPE

DIRECTOR: Andrzej Wajda - POLAND

This remarkable historical epic, tracing Lech Walesa’s rise from simple shipyard electrician to leader of Poland’s Solidarity movement and Polish president, is the last part of venerable director Andrzej Wajda’s trilogy about how worker disillusionment with Communism helped to bring about the system’s demise. Centering on Walesa and his wife Danuta, the screenplay, built around a 1981 interview he gave to Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, chronicles two decades of high stakes events while, in Wajda’s words “...making a movie about a people’s hero...a politician who came from the social lows and rose to his position purely and only thanks to...

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THE WAY WE DANCE

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 7:30 PM (Cinema 21 (small theaters))
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THE WAY WE DANCE

DIRECTOR: Adam Wong - HONG KONG

A surprise hit in Hong Kong, the low-budget The Way We Dance, like most dance movies, is a celebration of vibrant youth, as well as hopes and dreams fulfilled. Leaving her parents’ tofu restaurant behind, aspiring dancer Fleur enters university and joins the hip-hop dance club. Her idiosyncratic moves are too advanced for the other dancers, but she finds approval from the chairman of the tai chi club, who encourages her to connect with her inner martial artist. With an appropriately minimalist (romantic drama) plot, Wong inventively mashes contemporary street and traditional Chinese moves with Kung-fu spirit to capture “the...

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