This week's movie action

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A Separation
  • A Separation
The year's first masterpiece opens Friday. A Separation, the fifth feature of Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi (Fireworks Wednesday, Beautiful City, Dancing in the Dust), was nominated for an Oscar this week in the category of Best Foreign Film, but it's head and shoulders above many of the American movies nominated for Best Picture. Check out our long review and make a beeline for this one.

This week's issue also features new reviews of Albert Nobbs, with Glenn Close as a woman in Edwardian Ireland who's posed as a man for years in order to work as a butler at a Dublin hotel; Amador, a Spanish drama in which a young woman hired to care for an old man declines to tell anyone that he's died; Best of the Ottawa International Animation Festival 2011, screening Friday at Chicago Filmmakers; The Grey, a highly recommended actioner about men stranded in the Alaskan snows after a plane crash; Man on a Ledge, with Sam Worthington as the title character; Semper Fi: Always Faithful, an Oscar-nominated documentary about toxic waste at the Marine Corps' Camp Lejeune in North Carolina; Tomboy, a French feature about a girl who dresses like a boy and the girl who loves him/her; We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lynne Ramsay's British drama about a woman trying to make sense of her malignant child; and The World of Z, a profile of Chicago eccentric Zbigniew Fiks.

Best bets for repertory: Michael Powell's Age of Consent (1969), Sunday night at Doc Films; Robert Bresson's Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945), Saturday and Monday at Gene Siskel Film Center; Delmer Daves's Dark Passage (1947), Tuesday at Doc; Orson Welles's F for Fake (1973), Friday at Block Museum of Art; Mikio Naruse's Flowing (1956), Monday at Doc; Sylvain Chomet's The Illusionist (2010), Friday at University of Chicago Film Studies Center; Sergei Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible, parts one (1944) and two (1958), both screening on Sunday and Wednesday at Film Center; and Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West (1969), Wednesday at Doc.

Last but not least, the W.C. Fields silent So's Your Old Man (1926), directed by light-comedy master Gregory La Cava (Stage Door), screens on Wednesday at the Portage, presented by Northwest Chicago Film Society, with the Charley Chase short His Wooden Wedding (1925), directed by Leo McCarey, and live accompaniment of both films by organist Jay Warren.

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