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Chicago International Film Festival

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Tonight is the last night of the 27th Chicago International Film Festival; screenings take place at the Fine Arts, 418 S. Michigan, and the Esquire, 58 E. Oak. Tickets can be purchased at the theater box office one hour before show time or at the film festival store, 828 N. State. General admission is $7, $6 for Cinema/Chicago members; the first show of the day before 6 PM is two dollars cheaper. "Best of the Festival" costs $10, $9 for Cinema/Chicago members. For more information call 644-3456.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25

THE TALE OF THE UNEXTINGUISHED MOON A Soviet docudrama directed by Yevgeny Tsimbai about the rise and fall of Army and Navy People's Commissar Frunze, once considered a potential successor to Stalin. (Esquire, 5:30)

WALKING A TIGHTROPE Michel Piccoli stars as a famous gay novelist, reportedly based on Jean Genet, whose sexual desires are satisfied with the help of a woman friend. Nico Papatakis directed this French feature whose original title is Les equilibristes. (Fine Arts, 6:00)

THE LITTLE CRIMINAL At a time when cinema, even in France, is all too often a prisoner of social or psychological realism, Jacques Doillon's films define their own narrative conventions and semitheatrical space. In The Little Criminal a delinquent kid runs away from his hometown to find a sister he never knew. Even though his journey takes him on the road, we are acutely aware of the limitations of space that are also limitations on the protagonist's freedom; the film unavoidably points toward a return of the kid to the police station, the end of the game. Most of the time the three main characters are confined in the car of the young cop the boy has kidnapped at gunpoint to take him to Montpellier in search of his sister. The cop alternately plays detested authority figure, substitute father, gullible adult, young man secretly attracted to a blooming female, and a few other roles. American audiences might cringe at some of the plot devices: Why did the cop leave his gun unwatched? Why did he trust the kid? Yet the poignancy of the cop's naivete, the dialectic of misunderstanding and recognition between two people from the same background, is precisely what gives the film its fragile grace. (Berenice Reynaud) (Esquire, 7:30)

BEST OF THE FESTIVAL A screening of the winning feature film (Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Mark Caro's Delicatessen), experimental production (Morten Skalerud's A Year Along the Abandoned Road), short subject (Peter Catianeo's Dear Rosie), and animated film (Joanna Quinn's The Body Beautiful). (Fine Arts, 8:30)

BLOBERMOUTH The 1958 version of The Blob has been refurbished with a new sound track (wisecracks, sound effects, and music by the improv group L.A. Connection), something known as "color enhancement," and a newly animated mouth for the title extraterrestrial, who makes some of the jokes. Jack H. Harris, the producer of the original, worked five years on this rehab project. (Esquire, 9:30)

THE ART OF ANIMATION An international selection including, among other shorts, Richard Condie's Canadian The Apprentice, Ken Lidster's English The Balloon, Cathy Joritz's German Give AIDS the Freeze, Caroline Leaf's Canadian Sisters, Gavrilo Gnatovich's U.S. Prehysterical Days, and Richard Antonius's Swedish Jordens Rost. (Esquire, 11:30)

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