Dec. 6-13, 2006

Argentina in crisis, unhappy Iranian women, and the McSweeney's cartel comes to Lake Forest Park.

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Oddballs, Events, & Rep

Argentina: Hope in Hard Times Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin document Argentina's recent economic crisis and its citizens' response. Plus: Argentine Co-Ops Four Years Later. (NR) 911 Media Arts Center, 402 Ninth Ave. N., 206-682-6552. Free. 7:15 p.m. Thurs. Dec. 7.

Bullitt Famously one of the biggest assholes in Hollywood, Steve McQueen was never a bigger, cooler star than in this 1968 cop flick. Playing a San Francisco policeman humiliated by failing to protect a witness targeted by the mob, he goes on a revenge tear with steely determination, barely a trace of emotion ever registering on his face. Yet unlike Clint Eastwood, then his closest male rival at the box office, there's always something vulnerable about his stoic reserve. He doesn't keep his mouth shut because he's tougher than anyone else, but because you sense that words, too, may let him down. McQueen essentially starts out whipped in this picture and never fully recovers. He's as traumatized by failure as success. Of course, what most people recall about Bullitt is the incredible car chase with McQueen at the wheel of a Mustang. (The famous car nut did most of his own stunt driving.) Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Vaughn, and Robert Duvall help round out the cast. (NR) BRIAN MILLER Museum of History and Industry, 2700 24th Ave. E., 206-654-3121. $58-$65 (series), individual ticket price not provided. May be sold out. 7:30 p.m. Thurs. Dec. 7.

By the Sea This Charlie Chaplin silent film and two Buster Keaton shorts (The Boat and Cops) are screened with live accompaniment from the Pontiac Bay Symphony Orchestra. Guest conductor is film and TV composer Hummie Mann. (NR) Nathan Hale Performing Arts Center, 10750 30th Ave. N.E., 206-364-0907. $12-$15. 7:30 p.m. Sat. Dec. 9.

The Circle Like The Day I Became a Woman, Jafar Panahi's bleak, outstanding The Circle (2000) considers the status of women under Iran's cruel, inflexible patriarchy. It grabs you with one compelling, apprehensible story; then, just as you get the gist of it, another story immediately begins. In each successive vignette, The Circle's protagonists constantly worry that the police will check their identity papers and lock them in jail if they're not escorted by a man. They can't even smoke in public. During the course of a single day, we venture from hospital waiting room to crowded bus station to empty nighttime sidewalks. Among various characters, we meet a new mother, two ex-cons fresh from jail, a prostitute, a woman desperately seeking an abortion, and a jaded nurse. Discussion follows. (NR) BRIAN MILLER Keystone Church, 5019 Keystone Place N., Free. 7 p.m. Fri. Dec. 8.

Damnation Hungarian dyspeptic Béla Tarr is one of the planet's great cinematic formalists and, with Theo Angelopoulos and Aleksandr Sokurov, one of the reigning plan séquence masters. Only with Damnation (1988) did Tarr find the even darker country he's been exploring since—apocalyptically run-down, dead-or-dying villages on vast Mitteleuropan plains of mud, poverty, crushed will, delusionary behavior, and charcoal skies, all observed by a point of view that stalks silently and patiently through the ruins like a ghost. This small-framed film—modest at least relative to Satántángó and Werckmeister Harmonies—traces the self-destructive lives of two men and a weary bar singer in a mining town where anomie and liquored exhaustion infect their lives like a virus. Forged with veteran Tarr collaborators László Krasznahorkai (co-writer) and Gábor Medvigy (cinematographer), it's a serotonin-depleted ordeal, and yet seemingly a sketchbook of vibes and ideas to come, with some of the most magnificent black-and-white images shot anywhere in the world. (NR) MICHAEL ATKINSON Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. $5-$8. 7 and 9:30 p.m. Fri. Dec. 8-Sun. Dec. 10.

Dark City In this shadowy, future-set 1998 thriller, Rufus Sewell stars as a man with little memory and even less of a clue; Jennifer Connelly is his mysterious torch singer wife. In the Gattaca/Bladerunner school of things-aren't-quite-what-they-seem, Dark City's pacing and haunting visuals keep it reasonably fresh. (R) Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 206-781-5755. $6-$9.25. Midnight. Fri. Dec. 8-Sat. Dec. 9.

Encounter Point The directors of Control Room explore the stories of an Israeli settler, a Palestinian ex-prisoner, a bereaved Israeli mother, and a wounded Palestinian brother who have all sacrificed something in the conflict between them. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. $5-$8. Continues through Thurs. Dec. 7.

Key Largo SEE THE WIRE, FRIDAY. (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $5-$7.50. 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Fri. Dec. 8-Thurs. Dec. 14. Plus 3 and 5 p.m. Sat. and Sun.

National Geographic All Roads A series focused on the world's indigenous cultures, this edition includes Teachings of the Tree People (a tribute to a Skokomish artist), Goodnight Irene (a young and old Seminole cross paths), Suckerfish (which deals with family and history), and Steve Ma'i'i (about a Hawaiian music legend). (NR) IslandWood, 4450 Blakely Ave. N.E., Bainbridge Island, 206-855-4300. $5. 3:30 p.m. Sun. Dec. 10.

Santa Smokes This 2002 German production about an unsuccessful actor who can only land one role—guess which—claims to give Bad Santa a run for his reindeer. (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $3. 11 p.m. Fri. Dec. 8-Sat. Dec. 9.

Wholphin 3McSweeney's just gotta be everywhere all at once! Its new venture is a DVD magazine of unseen films (named for the mythical love-child of whales and dolphins) featuring performance art, scientific discovery, and Elliott Smith as a Rastafarian basketball player. Also expect a screening showcasing locals including Wes Kim, Danielle Morgan, and stop-animation master Stefan Gruber. (NR) Ravenna Third Place Books, 6504 20th Ave. N.E., 206-525-2347. Free. Fri. Dec. 8.

The World According to Shorts From countries including Chile, Norway, and Poland, a half-dozen short titles are screened. All appear to be Seattle premieres. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. $5-$8. 7 and 9 p.m. Mon. Dec. 11-Thurs. Dec. 14.

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