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Abel Raises Cain A Grand Jury Award winner for Best Documentary at last year's Slamdance fest, satirist Alan Abel is sent up by his filmmaker daughter Jenny (along with Jeff Hockett) in this overview of Abel's career. With the flair of a performance artist, Abel staged mass faintings, posed as Howard Hughes, and promoted a fictional presidential candidate—often fleecing the public, and always intending to make them question what they see and hear. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. $6-$8. 7 and 9 p.m. Mon. Nov. 20-Wed. Nov. 22.
AFI Project 20/20 To celebrate the American Film Institute's 20th anniversary, the 20/20 project aims to enhance cross-cultural understanding with screenings from upcoming filmmakers from around the world. Seattle showings include Frozen Days, about a young woman's misadventures in Tel Aviv; No Sweat, a documentary on L.A.'s garment industry; Disappearances, based on the novel by Howard Frank Mosher; Big Dreams Little Tokyo, a comedy on cultural challenges facing Japanese-Americans; and Life After Tomorrow, which goes behind the scenes of 1970's Annie fever on Broadway. Each filmmaker will present their work. Check Web site for times and dates. Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380, www.nwfilmforum.org. $5-$8. Fri. Nov. 17-Sun. Nov. 19.
American Graffiti Though a movie about teenagers, American Graffiti is probably the most grown-up feature George Lucas ever made. Only 29 years old in 1973, he was looking back to the Modesto, Calif., of his youth. The soundtrack of that pre-Beatles era included Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, and Buddy Holly, their voices sounding more innocent and distant than a mere decade's reach. This is because Graffiti, the first baby-boomer nostalgia picture, tacitly makes you aware of the looming catastrophe to come: Vietnam, plus all the other upheaval of the '60s proper. The movie exists in two periods at once: a hormonal wash of girls, cars, and small-town discontent; and an adult understanding of how all those teen stereotypes and limits also kept us safe, no matter how much they were resented. Ron Howard and Happy Days sprang whole from the movie, as did young careers for Richard Dreyfuss, Cindy Williams, and Harrison Ford (though his took longer to develop). Star Wars or no, Lucas never again made anything so specific and universal. (PG) BRIAN MILLER Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 206-781-5755. $6.25-$9.25. Midnight. Fri. Nov. 17-Sat. Nov. 18.
A Silent Forest This doc reflects on the practical and ethical challenges that may arise as scientists prepare to introduce genetically engineered—or "test tube"—trees into the environment. (NR) Keystone Church, 5019 Keystone Pl. N., 206-632-6021. Free. 7 p.m. Fri. Nov. 17.
Black Tuesday SAM's film noir cycle continues with this 1954 thriller about the mayhem that ensues when a ruthless gangster (Edward G. Robinson) flies the coop. May be sold out. (NR) Museum of History and Industry, 2700 24th Ave. E., 206-654-3121. $58-$65 (series), individual ticket price not provided. 7:30 p.m. Thurs. Nov. 16.
Cracking the Code of Experience In this movie presentation, Wallingford-based guru Avatar Adi Da Samraj waxes philosophical on "the nature of the human mechanism." (NR) Adidam Spiritual Center, 1429 N. 45th St., 206-527-2751, www.adidam.org. $5. 7:30 p.m. Fri. Nov. 17.
Fanfan la Tulipe Unmemorably remade in 2003 with Vincent Perez and Penélope Cruz, Christian-Jacque's rambunctious 1952 romp about 18th-century peasants upstaging the king's army and winning both true love and the Seven Years' War returns in a new print with a fresh English translation by Lenny Borger. Sniffily dissed by Pauline Kael as a "Louis XV Western," Fanfan is, for all its copious swordplay, mostly a full-service sex comedy and antiwar screed that would do nicely today as an ad for breast enlargement were not the mammaries all real, with the finest, of course, belonging to a dewy young Gina Lollobrigida. Toting her D-cups like trophies, La Lollo plays a rural fortuneteller in love with an insouciant rogue (Gérard Philipe). There's nothing profound going on here, but the breezy populist comedy (more farce than satire) remains infectious. The movie takes us back to an age when romantic leads were less self-serious and more willing to double up as buffoons. (NR) ELLA TAYLOR Varsity, 4329 University Way N.E., 206-781-5755. $6.25-$9.25. Fri. Nov. 17-Thurs. Nov. 23.
GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords Kathleen Turner, Telly Savalas, and Roddy McDowall lend their voices to this animated feature based on the '80s cartoon. (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $2-50-$5. 11 p.m. Fri. Nov. 17-Sat. Nov. 18.
To Have and Have Not Feeling the fall chill? Bogie and Bacall's chemistry warms things up at the GI all month, beginning with their first feature together (and the 19-year-old Bacall's debut), a Casablanca-esque tale of passion and politics during wartime. (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $5.50-$7.50 7 & 9 p.m. Fri. Nov. 17-Thurs. Nov. 23. 3 & 5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.
6:30 The Seattle-Surabaya Sister City Association hosts this premiere produced by Indonesian students from San Francisco, which portrays the choices they make while living and working in the United States. (NR) ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 206-292-7676. $7-$10. 2, 5, & 8 p.m. Sat. Nov. 18.
Inlaws & Outlaws This screening of local filmmaker Drew Emery's tribute to love (in all its shapes, sizes, and orientations) is sponsored by Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and other organizations working for marriage equality. Heather Anderson and Leslie Christian, plaintiffs in the Anderson vs. Sims case and stars of the film, and Representative-elect Jamie Pedersen will be in attendance. (NR) Seattle Asian Art Museum, 1400 E. Prospect St. Tickets available through Ticket Window, 206-325-6500. $25 general admission. 7 p.m. Sun. Nov. 19.
Kaspar's Kouch Film Festival Last year, local choral music educator and opera tenor Dustin Kaspar screened favorite and passed-over films in his Lake City living room; this year he's got the use of Central Cinema's many couches for his series. Each night's package is different, from "Secret Screening," which includes Yvonne's Perfume and Tango, to "Missing Persons," featuring the early Hitchcock film The Lady Vanishes and Carol Reed's 1949 classic The Third Man. "Contemporary German Masterpieces" focuses on Lost Honor of Katharina Blum and Tom Tykwer's followup to Run Lola Run, The Princess and the Warrior. "Non-Conventional Musicals" spans the decades with Unfaithfully Yours (1948), 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993), and This is Spinal Tap (1984). The finale sounds an appropriately bizarre note with Lars Von Trier's The Kingdom, Part 1. See Web site for full schedule and details. (NR) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684, www.central-cinema.com. $7-$10 for both showings. Series pass $50. Through Sun. Nov. 19.
Kieslowski Retrospective Self-conscious aesthete, existential structuralist, one of the world's most eloquent conjoiners of metaphysical mystery and sociopolitical critique, and a still-missed fallen soldier in the shrinking ranks of Euro-art-film, Krzysztof Kieslowski was only a well-known global figure for about six years before he died in 1996. But he was a busy cineaste from the mid-'60s on, and, eventually, an integral inheritor of not only Antonioni-Tarkovsky monumentalism but the mantle of being Poland's cinematic conscience in the autumn years of Andrzej Wajda. Those who know him from late works like The Double Life of Veronique and Three Colors can here appreciate about a half-dozen features, plus shorts from his apprentice years (all of which are crystalline and powerful). Remaining highlights include A Short Film About Killing and A Short Film About Love, two 1988 expansions of the director's TV series The Decalogue. Kieslowski's 1979 Camera Buff is a tragicomic morality tale about a complacent Communist whose 8mm habit begins to control and destroy the very life he seeks to capture "as it is." In Blind Chance (1981), a man lives out three differing futures depending on whether or not he catches a train to Warsaw. No End (1985) is a kind of study for Blue, in which a grieving widow seeks solace in the family of an imprisoned labor dissident. See Web site for full schedule and details. (NR) MICHAEL ATKINSON Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380, www.nwfilmforum.org. $5-$8. Through Sun. Nov. 19.
Kung Fu Grindhouse Biker dudes, Vietman POW's, and kung fu gangs share a voracious appetite for flesh in Blood Freak, Cannibal Apocalypse, and We're Going to Eat You. The Kung-Fu Grindhouse organizers request that you have a sense of humor and are 21 and over. (NR) Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave., 206-784-4880, www.sunsettavern.com. Free. 6 p.m. Mon. Nov. 20.
Off the Grid With the El Niño forecast likely indicating a warm winter of much rain and little snow, the annual arrival of a new Warren Miller ski movie may frustrate more than encourage. The usual big-mountain helicopter excursions in the Chugach Range may tempt you north to Alaska, of course, but Grid's sundry plugs for guide services and ski resorts (who help sponsor the film) leave the price tags frustratingly vague. If you've got the money and a passport, footage from the Alps makes Austrian trams and trains seem a more affordable alternative. But there, glaciers are receding owing to global warming. Notwithstanding this travelogue's platitudes about the pristine white alpine environment, its snowboarders and skiers all access the virgin slopes via lift, snowcat, helicopter, and other powered forms of transport—all of which contribute to you-know-what. But for a carbon offset, you can always walk or bike to the screening, rather than drive. (NR) BRIAN MILLER McCaw Hall, 305 Harrison St., 206-684-7200, www.seattlecenter.com. $19.50. 8 p.m. Thurs. Nov. 16-Fri. Nov. 17. 6 & 9 p.m. Sat. Nov. 18.
Orphans of the Storm: Portraits of Children in Movies Critic Robert Horton focuses on masterful filmic portrayals of children—from Jean Renoir, Luis Buñuel, and others—in the second series of "Magic Lantern: Talks on Film and Art." Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave., 206-622-9250, www.fryeart.org. Free. 2 p.m. Sun. Nov. 19.
Quick Brown Fox: An Alzheimer's Story Seattleite Ann Hedreen's documentary examines the disease that affected her family, followed by a panel discussion with Hedreen and members of the King County Dementia Partnership project. (NR) South Seattle Adult Day Health Center, 4712 35th Ave. S. Free, but RSVP to 206-224-3757. 7 p.m. Thurs. Nov. 16.
River Without Buoys Wu Tianming's 1983 drama about the experience of three men during the Chinese Cultural Revolution is shown with Tianming and producer Luo Xeuying in attendance. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380, www.nwfilmforum.org. $5-$8. 7 p.m. Thurs. Nov. 16.
Souls Without Borders/Death in El Valle "Reconciliation and Historical Memory: Documentaries on the 70th Anniversary of the Spanish Civil War" features two films followed by discussions with the filmmakers. Souls Without Borders documents the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the young Americans who fought against fascism in Spain before World War II, through the eyes of 10 veterans. Thurs. Nov. 16. Death in El Valle follows filmmaker C.M. Hardt as she uncovers the mystery of her grandfather's murder while in custody of the Spanish Civil Guard. Fri. Nov. 17. Smith Hall 120 at UW, N.E. 40th St. and 15th Ave. N.E., 206-543-2022. Free. 7 p.m.