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After Life In Hirokazu Kore-eda's 1999 heavenly drama, the dead find themselves in an afterlife that looks


Feb. 1-8, 2006

This week's specialty screenings and venues.

Send listings two weeks in advance to

After Life In Hirokazu Kore-eda's 1999 heavenly drama, the dead find themselves in an afterlife that looks a lot like a dilapidated college dorm. They are told that they have three days to choose the most important moment of their lives. The staff will then make a film of that moment. The dead will watch the film of their chosen moment, then disappear into eternity, accompanied only by that single memory. The angelic auteurs stay up late at night planning their shots. Quantities of tea are consumed as they argue over details. If After Life were an American film, the angel filmmakers would turn out perfect little films with swell special effects. The studio lot would bustle. Instead, they operate on a shoestring budget: The clouds that fly past the Cessna are pieces of cotton batting strung onto wire. (NR) CLAIRE DEDERER Shoreline Community College (Room 1102), 16101 Greenwood Ave. N., 206-533-6700. Free. 7 p.m. Wed. Feb. 8.

Amélie The eponymous heroine of this sweetly whimsical 2001 comedy by Jean-Pierre Jeunet won't take no for an answer. Discovering a cookie tin treasure trove in her Paris apartment, Amélie (the Audrey Hepburn-like Audrey Tautou) first sets out to reunite the precious boyhood tokens with their (now) aged owner, then stumbles upon an entire secret city of hidden connections and amorous links. From there, impulsively deciding to act as an agent of destiny, she sets about solving mysteries, setting up lovers, and transforming Paris with spontaneous acts of kindness. If Amélie is about anything, it's about the overlooked, invisible bonds between us distracted, harried urban dwellers. Amélie reminds us that we're neighbors. (R) Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 206-781-5755. $6-$9. Midnight. Fri. Feb. 3-Sat. Feb. 4.

Attack! More movies should use exclamation points in their titles. This 1956 WWII flick by Robert Aldrich merits the embellishment, as Jack Palance goes toe-to-toe with his incompetent captain (Eddie Albert). USMC veteran Lee Marvin lends further credence to the battlefield proceedings. Screened on video; admission includes discussion and snack. (NR) Movie Legends, 2319 N. 45th St., 206-632-2092. $5. 1 p.m. Sun. Feb. 5.

A Chef in Love From 1997, this French film looks back at the journey of a French gourmet to Georgia during the 1920s, just before the Red Army sweeps across the old Russian empire. Chef Pascal finds love and opens the restaurant of his dreams (the New Eldorado), but he and his fellow revelers can only keep politics off their plates for so long. (PG-13) Shoreline Community College (Room 1102), 16101 Greenwood Ave. N., 206-533-6700. Free. 7 p.m. Wed. Feb. 1.

Chocolat From 2000, Lasse Hallström's lovingly constructed and altogether pleasant late-'50s fable celebrates the power of chocolate as a symbol for sensual disinhibition. Part clairvoyant, part chocolatier, Vianne (Juliette Binoche) joins forces with a nomadic Irish gypsy (Johnny Depp) to free a pleasure-hating town from the grip of its mayor (a tragicomic Alfred Molina). Among others liberated by the taste of sweets are Judi Dench, Lena Olin, and Carrie-Anne Moss. 21 and over for this wine tasting event. (PG-13) Shannon Gee Pink Door, 1919 Post Alley, 206-443-3241. $20. 7 p.m. Sun. Feb. 5.

Eyes on the Prize The award-winning 1987 civil-rights miniseries is screened two episodes per evening through the rest of February. Discussion follows. (NR) Bethany United Church of Christ, 6230 Beacon Ave. S., 206-324-1041. 7 p.m. Fri. Feb. 3-Sat. Feb. 4.

Foreign Correspondent Underrated among Hitchcock's thrillers, this brisk 1940 pursuit tale of journalists, spies, and Nazis suffers slightly from the lead casting of Joel McCrea (Hitchcock wanted Gary Cooper) and Laraine Day, and from its tendency toward propaganda—understandable for its time and place. (In McCrea's final Murrow-esque radio appeal, he says of darkening Europe, "It's as if the lights were all out everywhere, except in America. Keep those lights burning there!") This is Hitchcock's second Hollywood movie after emigrating, so he's looking back at the old world from his new home without quite bridging the two. Classic sequences here include the gun-inside-the-camera assassination (a favorite of film theorists) and subsequent rainy escape through umbrellas; the mystery of the wrong-way windmill; and the final plane crash into the ocean. The pieces don't quite fit together into a perfect whole; you could almost call it The 38 Steps. (NR) Museum of History and Industry, 2700 24th Ave. E., 206-654-3121. $7. 7:30 p.m. Thurs. Feb. 2.

In Cold Blood Remember the scene in Capote where the writer, following the premiere of this film, snubs it? The joke is that he wouldn't want the movie, which is quite good, to attract any attention away from him. Made in 1967 by Richard Brooks, Blood is a different, more condensed achievement as compared to Capote's book. Brooks can't possibly pack in all that research and accreted detail while following the two killers (Robert Blake and Scott Wilson) of the Clutter family—in whose own home some scenes were shot. Instead, aided by the great black-and-white cinematography of Conrad Hall, he communicates the Kansas Gothic essence of the tale with a kind of docudrama blankness. Crime and punishment unfold with absolute fatalism, only none of the players have any notion of fate. In Capote, the journalist's conscience and the moral cost of getting his story are central; here there's just an unsatisfying Capote surrogate figure who doesn't provide any such perspective. (R) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. $5-$8. 6:30 and 9 p.m. Thurs. Feb. 2-Thurs. Feb. 9.

M-80 Producer Chris Strouth will introduce this rediscovered 1979 concert film, which he recently restored. New Wave and No Wave bands including Devo, the Suburbs, the Fleshtones, and Judy Nylon perform in Minneapolis. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. $5-$8. 11 p.m. Fri. Feb. 3-Sat. Feb. 4.

Mighty Peking Man A King Kong rip-off made a year following the 1976 Dino de Laurentiis version, this low-budget Hong Kong monster movie has mighty ape Utam living peaceably in the Himalayas, raising a scantily clad blonde orphan beauty in the snows, until lured down to the big, bad city. There, yes, he's provoked into a rampage in order to protect the girl from an unscrupulous showbiz impresario. But, just as Jeff Bridges was waiting for Jessica Lange in the 1976 Kong, there's also a love story amid the cheesy effects and bad dubbing that makes MPM a Tarantino-endorsed favorite and a guilty pleasure of Roger Ebert. (PG-13) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $5-$7.50. 11 p.m. Fri. Feb. 3-Sat. Feb. 4.

Mobile Exposure Your Nokia could be the new Panavision camera, as demonstrated in this program of 19 short films—many of which were shot with cell-phone cameras (then presumably edited on laptops). As you'd expect, image quality really isn't the point; rather, there's an emphasis on spontaneity and everyday observation—the brief flashes on our retinas expanded into mini-narratives. In The Stolen Kiss, two strangers in London make a fleeting connection, try to call each other, and have their potential relationship—to be established by cell, of course—thwarted by an all-too-familiar barrier. Ketai amusingly lists off cutting-edge Japanese cell-phone features until you realize it's parody. (A phone can do liposuction?) Amor Es, seemingly constructed by a bored Spanish couple in an airport, documents their vacation and entire relationship. It's an inspiring collection: Suddenly the barrier to filmmaking seems a lot, well, smaller. (NR) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684. $5. 7 and 9 p.m. Wed. Feb. 8.

Movies at the Sunset Note that all shows are 21 and over. For sheer frenetic wit and lo-fi filmmaking imagination, Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead puts Hostel to shame. (R) Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 206-784-4880. Free. 7 p.m. Wed. Feb. 1. Peter Jackson combines puppets, sex, and violence to startling effect in his 1989 Meet the Feebles. (R) 7 p.m. Wed. Feb. 2. You better believe there will be trivia contests for those who still know all the lines from Airplane!. (PG) 7 p.m. Mon. Feb. 6. For the first and perhaps last time, Sean Penn shows his lighter side in the teenage confidential Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), written by Cameron Crowe, who should also go back to being funny. (R) 7 p.m. Tues. Feb. 7. Straight to Hell, made by Alex Cox in 1987, means to be some kind of Spaghetti Western mash-up with several other genres; unfortunately, however, none of them work together. (R) 7 p.m. Wed. Feb. 8.

Mikio Naruse Retrospective Four ex-geishas try to cope with postwar hardship and reduced expectations in the 1954 Late Chrysanthemums. One's a prosperous, unmarried moneylender, while the other three are at various stages of unhappy marriage, motherhood, and spousal abandonment. "If you have money, you have enough," says lonely heroine Kin, who says she's through with love and men. But two old clients come calling—one a psycho who nearly forced her into double suicide; the other a handsome fellow who sends Kin back to the primping mirror. Chrysanthemums is admittedly slow to blossom, but there's an everyday heroism to the quartet's survival. Their glamour has faded, leaving the grit behind. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. $5-$8. 7 p.m. Thurs. Feb. 2. Not previewed, the 1951 Repast has a bored housewife flee back to Tokyo to escape her unhappy childless marriage, only to find it's not the paradise she remembered. 7 and 9 p.m. Fri. Feb. 3-Sun. Feb. 5.

Rawstock Film Fest The feature Something for Nothing debuts. (NR) Jewel Box Theater (Rendezvous), 2320 Second Ave., 206-441-5823. $10. 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Wed. Feb. 1.

The Scar of Shame From 1926, this silent melodrama concerns class and skin color difference within the black community, as an educated concert pianist marries a woman he's later unwilling to present to his socially prominent family. From a very different filmmaking era, pioneering black director Melvin Van Peebles will provide pre-show remarks. An audience Q&A follows. Also expect musical accompaniment. (NR) Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 206-682-1414. $12. 7 p.m. Mon. Feb. 6.

Science Fiction Short Film Festival C'mon down, all you futurists and lovers of alternate reality! Many filmmakers will be on hand for this omnibus collection of 20 new sci-fi shorts (shown in two packages, plus awards ceremony). Local boy Andy Spletzer (Wireless) is represented among other international directors. Why stay home to watch your DVD collections of (the original) Battlestar Galactica or Space: 1999 when you can meet and mingle with your fellow fans instead? Come in costume if you like. (NR) Cinerama, 2100 Fourth Ave., 206-770-2707. $7 or $10 (both shows). 4 and 7 p.m. Sat. Feb. 4.

Soldiers & Students Discussion follows this 49-minute rebuttal to military recruiting on campuses, perhaps made even more timely by the government push to enlist more young people into the Iraq War. (NR) Keystone Church, 5019 Keystone Pl. N., 206-632-6021. Free. 7 p.m. Fri. Feb. 3.

Travel Movie Doug Jones presents his documentary account of sailing south on the Queen Mary 2 to Brazil. (NR) Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue, 11100 N.E. 6th St., 206-547-4787. Call for price. 2 and 7:30 p.m. Mon. Feb. 6. Pacific Place, 600 Pine St., 206-547-4787. 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tues. Feb. 7.

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