A-E | F-MI | MO-S | T-Z *recommended THE MONKEY'S MASK Australia, 2000. Director: Samantha Lang Fri., June 8, 7:15 p.m., Harvard Exit Mon., June>"/>
A-E | F-MI | MO-S | T-Z *recommended THE MONKEY'S MASK Australia, 2000. Director: Samantha Lang Fri., June 8, 7:15 p.m., Harvard Exit Mon., June 11, 5:00 p.m., Cinerama SIFF SEZ In this eerie film noir mystery, adapted from Dorothy Porter's best-selling novel, private eye Jill (Susie Porter) discovers the darkly seductive connection between sex, violence, and poetry. Eroticism complicates the case of a missing Goth teenager as Jill encounters the vanished young woman's professor (Kelly McGillis) and a strange, romantic dance of death ensues. MORTAL TRANSFER France, 2000.
Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix Cast: Jean-Hugeus Anglade, H鬨ne de Fougerolles, Miki Manojlovic Thurs., June 14, 7:15 p.m., Cinerama Sun., June 17, 9:30 p.m., Pacific Place Concluding SIFFs Jean-Jacques Beineix tribute is the U.S. premiere of his stylish, amusing noir spoof, filtered through the world of psychoanalysis. Here, Betty Blues Anglade is a shrink forced to play detective when one of his kinky patients winds up dead in his office. Was he asleep, or did he commit the murder himself? He voices his doubts to his own shrink, and suffers nightmares and flashbacks to his unsettled childhood (the films least successful aspect). As with every Beineix flick, sex lies at the heart of every problem and obsession, and Anglades increasingly twisted investigation suggests Eyes Wide Shut in a Paris demimonde. An inconvenient corpse makes for black comedy in a Hitchcock mode, although Transfers tangled script and plot holes require regular voice-overs to explain—plus a long final confession scene to tie up loose ends. Only in France could psychoanalysis still be treated with such respect; mercifully, Beineix gives the couch trip lots of silly flourishes. B.R.M. NANG NAK Thailand, 1999. Director: Nonzee Nimibutr Wed., June 6, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian Fri., June 8, 5:00 p.m., Cinerama SIFF SEZ A visually ravishing folk tale, ghost story, and horror flick in one, Nang Nak marries the parallel mysteries of the supernatural and immortal love. Mak returns from war to a ghostly wife and child and a town full of frightened souls. *NATIONAL 7 France, 2000. Director: Jean-Pierre Sinapi Cast: Nadia Kaci, Olivier Gourmet, Chantal Neuwirth, Sa鸞Taghmaoui Tues., June 5, 7:15 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall Fri., June 8, 5:00 p.m., Pacific Place Ever since Ren魭the diabetic, mostly paralyzed antihero of National 7—moved into a home for the handicapped, he's terrorized the entire community, brawling with the disabled ("extraterrestrials," he calls them) and ordering nurses to tack tittie posters to his bedroom wall. So it's a pleasantly jarring surprise when nurse Julie, the compassionate, sexually frustrated heroine of this DV-shot movie, grants her surly patient his wish to screw a prostitute, going so far as to measure the doors of hookers' trailers to make sure Ren駳 wheelchair will fit inside. Meanwhile, the other motley residents—including a gay Muslim paraplegic and a mohawked punker who's reckless with his motorized wheelchair—discover Ren駳 chauffeured trips to the whorehouse, then naturally clamor for similarly special treatment. An excellent film that's equally quirky and fascinating, irreverent and spiritual, National 7 asks an important question: Is there such a thing as giving too much? D.M. THE NEW COUNTRY Sweden, 2001. Director: Geir Hansteen J�nsen Thurs., June 14, 9:30 p.m., Pacific Place Fri., June 15, 12:00 p.m., Pacific Place SIFF SEZ Witnessing a scene of terrible brutality bonds Ali, a Somalian boy, and Massoud, an Iranian man. Avoiding deportation, they travel through southern Sweden until they meet a former Miss Sweden, who transforms the road trip into a man-and-boy-meet-girl adventure. The film received the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at Berlin International Film Festival, plus four Guldbagge nominations (the Swedish equivalent of the Oscars). U.S. premiere. NIGHT SHIFT France, 2001. Director: Philippe Le Guay Tues., May 29, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit Wed., May 30, 5:00 p.m., Harvard Exit SIFF SEZ Pierre (G鲡ld Laroche) joins the factory night shift to earn more but encounters Fred (Marc Barb马 who continually mocks and plays practical jokes on him, and then Pierre's relationships with his wife and son soon begin to deteriorate. When his wife starts going out with Fred, Pierre remains passive, but the situation takes a drastic turn when even the dupe's son goes over to the enemy. NO PLACE TO GO Germany, 2000. Director: Oskar Roehler Mon, May 28, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit Tues., May 29, 5:00 p.m., Egyptian SIFF SEZ Breathtaking in black and white, this beautifully visualized film portrays the final days of leftist writer Gisela Elsner (Roehler's mother). When the Berlin Wall falls in 1989, she is already in collapse, clinging to alcohol, drugs, and her former fame. Desperate to digest political change, she finds that she no longer has a place in this brave new world. (Official German Oscar submission: Best Foreign Film.) O U.S.A., 2001. Director: Tim Blake Nelson Cast: Rain Phoenix, John Heard Sat., May 26, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian Sun., May 27, 4:00 p.m., Egyptian Shakespeare goes to high school. Here, Othello is restaged at a lily-white Charleston, SC prep school where a black basketball star (Shafts Phifer) is dating the deans daughter (Stiles). His prestige galls the Iago figure (an impressive Hartnett of Pearl Harbor), triggering inevitable tragedy. Director Tim Blake Nelson is now best known as one of the fleeing prisoners in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, but his Eye of God earned a prize at SIFF 97. He elicits generally good performances in a film thats had its release repeatedly delayed because of recent school violence headlines (Columbine, etc.). True, theres ample blood in O, but scarcely more than in the play. The real problem is that Nelsons working with an often ham-fisted script, which also sticks too closely to the original plot. Iagos creaky revenge scheme doesnt mesh with the cell phones, hip-hop soundtrack, and teen slang, although the heros fall still resounds. B.R.M. O FANTASMA Portugal, 2000. Director: Jo㯠Pedro Rodrigues Sat., June 2, 12:00 a.m., Egyptian Mon., June 4, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit SIFF SEZ Jo㯠Pedro Rodrigues' first feature is shot completely at night and graphically explores the insatiable sexuality of Sergio, who obsesses over men—first in fantasy, then in reality. A visual—and very visceral—shocker, this voyeuristic film has explicit homoerotic scenes. Nominated for the Golden Lion award at the recent Venice Film Festival. ODD LITTLE MAN Norway, 2000. Director: Stein Leikanger Tues., May 29, 7:15 p.m., Pacific Place Wed., May 30, 5:00 p.m., Pacific Place Here's an odd little movie, strangely lacking in plot. Lovely Norwegian landscapes sparkle against this coming-of-age tale set just before World War II and German occupation. Oddemann, a towhead with Prince Charles' unfortunate ears, is caught in a web of family mores and sibling rivalry that seems all too familiar. Between watching for miracles, playing arctic explorer, and practicing air-raid drills in the root cellar, the boy devotes his mental energy to Jesus. As part of an austere Christian family (complete with grandmother who dresses in black and forbids whistling), Oddemann's experiences are colored by the so-called Pillar of Power. At the top there's Mother, Father, God, Jesus, the Heavenly Host, his older brother, and then himself. Framed by Oddemann's adult narration, the film seems to imply that there's an exact moment he leaves his youth behind—but it's left vague and, well, oddly mysterious. E.B.R. *101 REYKJAVIK Iceland, 2000. Director: Baltasar Kormr Mon., May 28, 6:30 p.m., Egyptian Wed., May 30, 5 p.m., Egyptian Just when you exclaim, "No more slacker movies!," that seemingly exhausted genre is unexpectedly revived. This oddball Icelandic feature does the trick nicely, despite excess voice-over narration (betraying its literary origin). Here, our resolutely
lazy hero falls for his mother's lesbian lover (Almod� vet Victoria Abril, an unstoppable force of eros) and possibly impregnates her. Other complications ensue (mostly sexual), but the path to eventual redemption is saved from clich頢y Reykjav weird fusion of ancient landscapes and modern rave-going kids. Hand-held cameras push through endless, smoky, alcohol-fueled, and ridiculously overcrowded house parties, accompanied by a genuinely eccentric soundtrack by Blur's Damon Albarn and the Sugarcubes' Einar ֲn that thumps and bleeps like a Moog synthesizer with a mind of its own. For those with a taste for gray-skied deadpan Nordic humor ࠬa Aki Kaurism䫩, 101 ReykjavI> is just the right postal code. B.R.M. THE OTHER GIRLS France, 2000. Director: Caroline Vignal Mon., June 4, 7:15 p.m., Egyptian Sun., June 10, 1:45 p.m., Harvard Exit Sexually curious girls, hairdressers, sleazy men—sounds like a French film all right. But this first-time feature is a well-directed, realistically acted drama that'll make you feel guilty for having enjoyed American Pie (and maybe for being American). It's closer in spirit to the great Australian coming-of-age film Flirting, with snooty peers who make main character Solange feel out of place because she's yet to bed a guy. At her hairdressing school, she befriends another misfit: an African girl avoiding the arranged marriage her parents are planning. Teenage Solange leans on her new friend, but their lives aren't as complementary as she'd hoped. Instead, Solange faces a lonely battle against her troubled home life (being only child of a dysfunctional couple) and an even more lonely quest to find a man who can satisfy her awakening sexual desires. It's a raw film with themes that'll appeal mainly to the French, to Francophiles, and the people who tolerate them. R.A.M. *OUR LADY OF THE ASSASSINS Colombia, 2000. Director: Barbet Schroeder Sun., June 10, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian Tues., June 12, 5:00 p.m., Cinerama This Spanish-language film is a quietly explosive return to independent form for Schroeder, the European director whose Hollywood career has pitched from excellent (Barfly, Reversal of Fortune) to middlebrow (Single White Female) to ho-hum (Desperate Measures). Having lived in Colombia as a child, Schroeder here animates the casual violence of the cocaine-saturated Medellia Fernando Vallejo's adaptation of his own 1994 novel. Colombia stage veteran German Jaramillo plays a writer confronting the bloody, callous beauty of his home city, while plucked-from-the-streets Anderson Ballesteros is the teenage assassin who becomes his lover. The two actors display a tender May-December eroticism (reminiscent of Almod�'s Law of Desire), lending Our Lady passion, spirituality, and a bottomless well of poignant gallows humor. The circumstances of the film's production—it was shot on high definition video in semi-guerrilla fashion, due to the very real possibility of kidnapping or murder attempts by local gangs—add an extra layer of intrigue. Jason Cohen OUT OF THE CLOSET, OFF SCREEN: THE WILLIAM HAINES STORY U.S.A., 2001. Directors: Fenton Bailey,
Randy Barbato Wed., June 13, 9:30 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall Thur., June 14, 5:00 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall SIFF SEZ Ever heard of William Haines? In this delightful documentary, the directors of last year's SIFF hit The Eyes of Tammy Faye introduce the number-one male star in Hollywood some six decades ago. Haines' stardom came to an abrupt end in 1933 when, at the start of the repressive Hays Code era, Louis B. Mayer ordered him to give up either his male lover or his studio contract. Haines retorted, "When you get rid of your wife." He soon became the most sought-after interior decorator in town. Presented with Way Out West (1930, 71 minutes), which features Haines' most outrageous performance. ("I'm the wildest pansy you ever *ed!") World premiere. PARSLEY DAYS Canada, 2000. Director: Andrea Dorfman Thur., June 14, 9:30 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall Fri., June 15, 12:00 p.m., Egyptian SIFF SEZ Summer in Halifax is the perfect backdrop for this lyrical comedy about ideal soulmates Kate and Ollie, the envy of an off-beat collection of friends. Just as Kate discovers she's pregnant by Ollie, the "king of contraception," her love begins to fade, causing dismay among their eclectic crowd. An herbalist friend says parsley will induce a natural miscarriage, and so begin Kate's "parsley days." U.S. premiere. PEACHES Ireland/Great Britain, 2000. Director: Nick Grosso Thur., June 14, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian Fri., June 15, 12:00 p.m., Harvard Exit Nick Grosso's stage-comedy-turned-film is surprisingly entertaining considering that you've seen everything in it done better before: the shaggy-dog sex-tutorials of Richard Lester's The Knack; the aimless, profane, guy-dialogues of Sexual Perversity in Chicago (a.k.a. About Last Night . . .); the ironic celebration of slackerdom of pre-Dogma Kevin Smith. The movie works as well as it does mainly because of clever casting. There's not a familiar face on screen, but even the smallest roles are filled out better than they deserve to be by talented young British stage actors. It's not easy to play a human black hole, but Matthew Rhys (who got baked in Julie Taymor's Titus) makes vacuity strangely attractive. Kelly Reilly almost convinces you that a woman with an IQ over 70 could fall for such a zero. U.S. premiere. R.D. *THE PERFECT SON Canada, 2000. Director: Leonard Farlinger Cast: Colm Feore, David Cubitt Tues., June 5, 7:15 p.m., Harvard Exit Sat., June 9, 4:00 p.m., Pacific Place An affecting AIDS drama doesn't have to be sappy. Son takes the story of a fractured relationship between two brothers and creates a quiet, harmonic balance between the older "perfect" one, Ryan (Feore), and Theo, the addict and sensitive screw-up (Cubitt). Soon we learn that the former druggie and alcoholic is back from a stint in rehab and wants to be a writer, while big brother is into guys and has end-stage AIDS. Once these facts are established the actors take over, circling each other and learning the vulnerabilities each has shielded from his brother and himself. After his stellar lead performance in 1993's Thirty-Two Films About Glenn Gould, Feore is believably unwilling to show the slightest chink in Ryan's armor, while Cubitt's emotional Theo pleasantly suggests a more polished George Clooney—and I mean that in a good way. E.B.R. *A PLACE NEARBY Denmark, 2000. Director: Kaspar Rostrup Mon., June 4, 7:15 p.m., Pacific Place Wed., June 6, 5:00 p.m., Pacific Place Danish actress Ghita Nrby delivers an intense performance as a haggard single mother who suspects her autistic 20-year-old son has killed a young woman. Her efforts to protect him from the cops and keep him out of a state-run home reveal intense devotion but also self-preservation—he's all she has to live for. As a dogged police detective keeps the case between his teeth, the tension rises with the temperature (the town's stuck in a heat wave). Anyone who disparages Hollywood for ignoring actresses over 40 should be thrilled with the powerful portrayal of a woman torn between deciding what's right for her son and the realization that she's been part of the problem. A.V.B. PLENILUNIO Spain, 2000. Director: Imanol Uribe Mon., May 28, 9:30 p.m., Pacific Place Wed., May 30, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit A thriller should never begin with its most unsettling scene. Such is the first mistake in Plenilunio when a coroner discovers a young girl's naked corpse. She was violated with an unknown object, then choked to death with her panties stuffed down her throat. The film then obliterates any sense of mystery by introducing the 22-year-old, less-than-intimidating (and kinda cute) killer who deems all women as "whores." It also racks up the usual crime movie clich鳬 from minor details—aggressive reporters, cheesy sex scenes—to its main character, Detective Solas, an ex-alcoholic, lapsed Catholic (because this is such a dark world, natch), who then decides that this case is personal! One last gripe with this overly serious flick with too many loose ends: Susana, the sunshiny, poetry-quoting teacher who brightens up the grim detective. Okay, she's a free spirit, but do we have to have her listening to jazz in every scene she's in? D.M. POSSIBLE LOVES Brazil, 2000. Director: Sandra Werneck Thur., May 31, 9:30 p.m., Pacific Place Sun., June 3, 11:30 a.m., Pacific Place Carlos (Murilo Ben), depending on which circumstance you choose to believe, is either a married man contemplating a relationship with the love of his life, a lothario looking for the love of his life, or a divorced gay man whose love of his life just may be his ex-wife. In each of director Sandra Werneck's three what-if scenarios, the result is heartfelt distraction for him and us. Though Carlos is increasingly selfish with each new twist, and the episodes aren't interlaced deeply enough to reveal any insight into chance and the human heart, this Portuguese-language film benefits from the high gloss of its surfaces: Ben is so off-the-chart gorgeous and the swoony notions of his escapades are so beguiling, that damned if you don't hope he gets whatever he wants. As a romantic statement, the whole thing may be inconsequential, but it's often delectable nonetheless. S.W. PRINCESA Italy/Germany/Brazil, 2000. Director: Henrique Goldman Wed., May 30, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian Mon., June 4, 9:30 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall SIFF SEZ The dream of becoming a princess means different things to different people. For Fernanda, a 19-year-old transvestite working the streets of Milan's red-light district, simply achieving middle-class normalcy with the man of her dreams would be enough. Henrique Goldman's Antonioni-like direction avoids easy sensationalism and instead allows images of Milan to tell much of this thoughtful and moving tale. Based on the real Fernanda's autobiography. THE PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR Germany, 2000. Director: Tom Tykwer Fri., June 15, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian Sun., June 17, 4:00 p.m., Egyptian Tom Tykwer, the German showboater fruitlessly obsessed with smooth surfaces, crane shots, and coincidence, follows the breakneck Run Lola Run with an ostentatiously languid romance: A cute psychiatric nurse and a cute ex-soldier with leaky tear ducts fall in love, in apparently cosmic ways. Lola's Franka Potente here plays the shy nurse Sissi, a considerably less dynamic role in a garbled but still consistently watchable film. (Look for Potente as Johnny Depp's cancer-afflicted, bikini-wearing '60s SoCal girlfriend in Blow.) D.L. *THE PUNISHMENT Austria, 1999. Director: Goran Rebic Sat., June 2, 4:00 p.m., Harvard Exit To extricate a pest named Slobodan Milosevic, an American-led NATO bombed Belgrade for 78 days in the spring of 1999. While the prolonged and perplexing Balkan conflict was briefly halted as a result, collective Western opinion continued to vilify the whole country as some sort of collective goon squad. Accordingly, Viennese filmmaker Goran Rebic's documentary of the bombing's aftermath is a deliberate, eye-opening prod to your conscience. Shooting in video against a tableau of burned-out, bombed-out, graffiti-splashed buildings, The Punishment acts as a kind of catharsis for the handful of students, professionals, and other civilians interviewed. Each of their articulate and passionate monologues ruminates upon international (i.e., American) politics, despotic leaders, and the conundrum of trying to make sense of madness in a "civilized society." Rebic may not specifically want Americans to feel ashamed for living so far and so safely away from the destruction we caused, but that's not a bad idea. Stewart A. Williams RAMAYANA: PRINCE OF LIGHT Japan/India, 1999. Directors: Ram Mohan, Yugo Sako, Koichi Saski Sat., June 2, 11:30 a.m., Pacific Place This animated feature devoted to the exploits of Prince Ram (Ramayana), hero of classic Eastern mythology, is passable only for children under 7 and hallucinogenic drug users. The animation and painfully insipid dialogue are reminiscent of cheap '70s Japanese manga fare, but Prince's overly earnest, humorless tone is even more hopelessly dated. (How could a movie with a cast of thousands of monkey-people be so unfun?) Looking like a frightening amalgam of Michael Jackson, Fabio, and Brian Boitano, the blanched, doe-eyed Ram is even more cloying and sterile than the safest Disney creation. Requiring $13 million and 6 years to produce, Prince is by all indications a folly of epic proportions. Surely the story of its making—I'd bet the house that an old loony rich guy bankrolled this one—is far more deserving of being committed to film. P.F. LE RAT France, 2000. Directors: Christophe Ali,
Nicolas Bonilauri Wed., June 13, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit Thur., June 14, 5:00 p.m., Harvard Exit Suggesting both Eraserhead and the Caro-Jeunet team behind Delicatessen, this hour-long black-and-white silent is more weird than whimsical, and not for the faint of heart. Be careful, stranger, goes the chorus to an old 30s tune played on a phonograph belonging to an apparent serial killer. He collects various body parts in a forest trove; meanwhile a rat surveys his activities in a squalid little apartment. The old killer is also plagued by nightmares of childhood loss, making him a not unsympathetic characterespecially in comparison to a bunch of ghouls also stalking the countryside. How much is real or imagined? Decide for yourself in this macabre, nightmarish film. Paired with Le Rat is the wonderful, wordless, black-and-white Scarecrow, which is made in Russia but universally accessible. A young boy lives with his aged grandfather in a caravan amid windswept hills; there, the lad bestows some eyes upon their tattered scarecrowwhich them seems to take a protective interest in him. Lovely cinematography and evocative peasant faces make the film a somber yet oddly affirmative meditation on the relentless seasons life and death. B.R.M. A REAL YOUNG GIRL France, 1975. Director: Catherine Breillat Sat., June 9, 12:00 a.m., Egyptian Tues., June 12, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian SIFF SEZ Breillat's debut film, adapted from an autobiographical novel, A True Young Lady provoked scandal when it appeared 25 years ago and was banned outright. In the '60s, a young woman spends summer break from boarding school in her parents' rural home. In the heat and haze of her hormonally fired sexuality, she fantasizes about and acts out various shocking scenarios—alone and with various boys. A fitting precursor to Breillat's controversial Romance. REEF HUNTERS Philippines, 2000. Director: Marilou Diaz-Abaya Fri., June 1, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit Mon., June 4, 5:00 p.m., Egyptian SIFF SEZ In a performance that netted him a best actor award at France's Festival International de Cinema last year, Filipino superstar Cesar Montano portrays a master fisherman who drives his underage crew over the edge in his relentless quest for a record-breaking catch. Stunning underwater free-diving sequences power this seagoing morality tale and reveal the destructive legacy of traditional coral reef fishing. RENNIE'S LANDING U.S.A., 2001. Director: Marc Fusco Cast: Peter Facinelli, Scott Foley Fri., June 15, 7:15 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall Sun., June 17, 4:00 p.m., Harvard Exit SIFF SEZ When four friends reunite a year after college, they realize that life isn't as rosy as they'd hoped. In order to "get control" of their lives, they devise a smartly performed heist that nets $5 million—more money than they'd ever dreamed of. But they lose more in the process than they could ever imagine. This character-driven drama features superb performances and a shocking denouement. World premiere. RING 0 Japan, 2000. Director: Norio Tsuruta Wed., June 13, 7:15 p.m., Cinerama Thur., June 14, 12:00 p.m., Cinerama This prequel to the 1998 Japanese "saiko-horaa" (psycho horror) mega hit The Ring *s up thirty years prior to that film's events to uncover the origins of Sadako, one of the great specters of contemporary horror. The original's subtext was "the medium is the message," since a cursed videotape killed viewers a week after watching it. While preserving that media-age mystery, Ring 0 now uses a theater troupe to suggest that all the world's a stage and that sound and fury are embodied by "weird" girl Sadako (Yukie Nakama). When the lead actress dies under mysterious circumstances and Sadako gets her role, the company becomes suspicious—especially since a snoopy reporter has been nosing around. Owing much to Carrie, Ring 0 is a solid—if not more intelligible—addition to the Ring franchise. It's much more satisfying if you've already experienced the chills of the four-part series' superior first installment. U.S. premiere. S.G. *THE ROAD HOME China, 2000. Director: Zhang Yimou Cast: Zhang Ziyi, Sun Honglei Fri., June 8, 7:15 p.m., Cinerama Tues., June 12, 5:00 p.m., Egyptian Like his 1987 Red Sorghum, Zhang Yimou's Road is a flashback story of parental courtship. Rather than the feudal era, the primal scene is set a year or two after the Communist revolution. Pointedly, Zhang juxtaposes the rainbow-hued past with a grimly monochromatic present—the contemporary sequences substitute a Titanic poster for the traditional image of Mao in a rural hut. This shamelessly traditional tale of a peasant girl's total devotion to the local schoolteacher—alternately touching and embarrassing in its puppy-dog insistence—takes on another subtext for starring a bright-eyed, pigtailed, coy-but-headstrong teenager, Zhang Ziyi (now famous for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), who bears an astonishing resemblance to the young Gong Li (the star of so many of Zhang Yimou's films). An award-winner at Sundance and Berlin. J.H. ROSELYNE AND THE LIONS France, 1989. Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix Cast: Isabelle Pasco, G鲡rd Sandoz Fri., June 1, 5:00 p.m., Harvard Exit SIFF SEZ Always idiosyncratic director Jean-Jacques Beineix focuses on a different kind of obsessive love in this tale of two young lovers and the passion they share for jungle cats. Thierry works at the Marseilles zoo, where he convinces the lion tamer to train him to work with the zoo's cats. Roselyne spends all of her free time at the lion cages as well, fascinated by the grace and power of these exotic beasts. One day, when the lion tamer returns to the cages to find the pair recklessly handling the lions, he fires Thierry. So the feline-obsessed Thierry and Roselyne take to the road determined to break into the big time as circus lion tamers. Beineix brings his customary visual flair and superb imagery to this whimsical story of youth and innocence. Particularly striking are his fluid tracking shots of the magnificent cats and the magical circus world Roselyne and Thierry come to inhabit. Free! *A RUN FOR MONEY Turkey, 2000. Director: Reha Erdem Wed., May 30, 9:30 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall Thur., May 31, 5:00 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall A fable set in modern-day Istanbul shows just how much money is at the root of all evil. Family-loving Selim is a shirt salesman known for his honesty and frugality. Yet after riding in the cab of a bank robber foolish enough to have left more than $400,000 in the back seat, Selim inadvertently ends up a rich man. And, he soon realizes, money complicates everything. Going from straight-and-narrow businessman to paranoid, obsessed spender and hoarder, Selim's life is insidiously undermined. Shot in the picturesque port city on ferries, in parks, at the beach, and near the minarets, the tragicomic story is one of the simplest that can be told. But it's nevertheless worth seeing how this particular man, with the barrage of circumstances that take him further and further from his ideals, attempts to live with his secret—and himself. E.B.R. A SAD FLOWER IN THE SAND Netherlands/U.S.A., 2001. Director: Jan Louter Tues., June 5, 5:00 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall Huge in Europe, Los Angeles novelist and screenwriter John Fante is basically unknown in this country, although his 1939 Ask the Dust is considered a minor classic of Depression-era fiction. Among his admirers in this largely uncritical documentary are Chinatown's Oscar-winning screenwriter Robert Towne (who appears on camera) and cult novelist Charles Bukowski (who, being dead, does not). Bukowski lauds Fante as his favorite writer, and one can place him as a kind of proto-Beat figure, ahead of his time and largely ignored during his lifetime (1909-1983). 1989's Wait Until Spring, Bandini is the only movie yet produced from his novels. While it includes some nice old newsreel footage of bygone L.A., Flower tills the usual sand, repeating the standard artistic complaints. ("Hollywood is a bad place; it kills writers.") Still, it just might inspire you to hunt up a copy of Dust (reprinted by Black Sparrow Press). B.R.M. SANDSTORM India, 2000. Director: Jagmohan Wed., June 13, 7:15 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall Fri., June 15, 2:30 p.m., Pacific Place Ripped from the headlines, this fact-based melodrama is like a Hindi-language version of The Accused. Amid the sand dunes of beautiful Rajasthan, a lower-caste peasant woman is raped by arrogant, upper-caste village elders. Can she find justice for the crime? Sandstorm frames her tale from the perspective of a cosmopolitan journalist and her hunky translator, also interspersing frequent pop tunes to help leaven what is, in point of fact, a fairly depressing tale. Portrayed by Nandita Das of Deepa Mehta's Earth and Fire, Sanwari is an appropriately dauntless, stoic heroine in this social-issue picture, intended to be an inspirational figure on her quest through an unfair legal system. Stereotypical villains embody the patriarchy, although Sandstorm actually improves considerably during its latter show-trial scenes, where a variety of smug, vested interests use Sanwari for their political purposes. It's a didactic yet commercial film plainly designed to foster feminism at home, necessarily seeming rather obvious abroad. U.S. premiere. B.R.M. SAROJA Sri Lanka, 2000. Director: Somaratne
Dissanayake Fri., June 1, 7:15 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall Tues., June 5, 5:00 p.m., Harvard Exit SIFF SEZ An award-winning film about deep-seated ethnic conflict: Forced to join rebel Tamils in their battle against Sri Lankan government forces, Sundaram flees with Saroja, his 7-year-old daughter, sending her to a nearby village when he is injured. A Sri Lankan child befriends Saroja, though her parents are divided over offering help. A bond develops between the two families, but can it withstand a decades-old conflict? *SCARECROW Russia, 2000. Director: Alexander Kott Wed., June 13, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit Thur., June 14, 5:00 p.m., Harvard Exit Paired with Le Rat is the wonderful, wordless, black-and-white Scarecrow, which was made in Russia but proves universally accessible. A young boy lives with his aged grandfather in a caravan amid windswept hills; there, the lad bestows some eyes upon their tattered scarecrow—which then seems to take a protective interest in him. Lovely cinematography and evocative peasant faces make the film a somber yet oddly affirmative meditation on the relentless seasons life and death. B.R.M. SCOUT'S HONOR U.S.A., 2001. Director: Tom Shepard Fri., May 25, 5:00 p.m., Egyptian Sat., May 26, 11:30 a.m., Egyptian SIFF SEZ Questions of tolerance vs. exclusivity are raised in this provocative look at the Boy Scouts of America. When a 12-year-old boy and a 70-year-old man, both Boy Scouts, both heterosexual, each opposed to the Scouts' anti-gay policy, speak out for their ideals and start an organization called Scouting for All, their beloved Boy Scouts of America turns against them. Preceded by Coming to Terms (Shawn Postoff, 1