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Chicago International Film Festival

WHERE Landmark's Century Centre (2828 N. Clark),

River East 21 (322 E. Illinois), and Thorne Auditorium (375 E. Chicago)

PRICE $11 after 5 PM ($8 for Cinema/Chicago members), $6 weekday matinees (before 5 PM). Passes for multiple screenings also available. Special presentations are $15 ($12 for Cinema/Chicago members).

ADVANCE SALES Cinema/Chicago, 30 E. Adams, suite 800; Borders, 2817 N. Clark and 830 N. Michigan. By fax: 312-683-0122. By phone: 312-332-3456; Ticketmaster, 312-902-1500.

INFO 312-332-3456 or chicagofilmfestival.com

LISTINGS ONLINE chicagoreader.com

Friday, October 6

Summercamp!

This documentary by Bradley Beesley and Sarah Price (American Movie) follows 90 kids at a Wisconsin nature camp; with music by the Flaming Lips. 85 min. aRiver East, 4 PM

Shorts 2: Animation Nations

Nine animated shorts from the

UK, Australia, Sweden, the U.S., Switzerland, and Canada. 91 min.

aRiver East, 4 PM

The Magicians

R In 1937, during the Spanish civil war, an amateur director made an elaborate silent film called Imitating the Fakir at a religious orphanage in a small town, with the orphans in exotic costumes playing all the roles. In this 2004 documentary Elisabet Cabeza (a daughter of one of the orphans) and Esteve Riambau (a film professor and major Orson Welles scholar) unpack this fascinating artifact in several ways, interviewing a half dozen of the participants and exploring the personal and historical ramifications of the material, particularly as they relate to the war. In Spanish with subtitles. 94 min. (JR) aLandmark, 4 PM

Street Thief

Malik Bader's locally made documentary follows a professional burglar in action. 86 min. aRiver East, 6 PM

Shorts 3: Crossroads and Contrasts

Six short works from the U.S., Brazil, Chile, Iceland, and Spain. 90 min.

aRiver East, 6 PM

Thicker Than Water

An Icelandic domestic drama with an element of mystery, this debut feature by Arni Olafur Asgeirsson follows an optometrist (101 Reykjavik's Hilmar Jonsson) who loses perspective when he discovers he's not the biological father of the son he's reared with his again-pregnant wife (Margret Vilhjalmsdottir of The Seagull's Laughter). When she refuses to name the boy's father, her husband goes on a bathos bender, abandoning his home for a hotel, drinking too much, and alienating his sister by taking up with his much younger o°ce assistant. A wider question about privacy rights in an insular society gets lost as the movie slides into just another story about middle-aged angst. In Icelandic with subtitles. 90 min. (AG) aLandmark, 6 PM

Relatives

The latest feature by Hungarian Oscar winner Istvan Szabo (Mephisto), based on a popular novel by Zsigmond Moricz about the corruption of a small-town politician. In Hungarian with subtitles. 110 min. aLandmark, 6:30 PM

Comedy of Power

R Loosely based on a judge's dogged investigation of a corrupt French oil company during the 90s, this is one of Claude Chabrol's most satisfyingly astringent films in years. Forgoing his usual preoccupation with marital infidelities and familial hypocrisy, he explores something much more insidious: the smugness of powerful men who assume that lining their own pockets and abusing the public trust is their birthright. While a director such as Francesco Rosi would probably confine his indictment of corporate malfeasance to excoriating businessmen and their ties to the government, Chabrol mingles contempt for public odiousness with an interest in sexuality and private life. His fearless, relentless judge is oblivious to her long-suffering husband's feelings of abandonment, and her insistence on giving sleazy men their comeuppance is more a victory over misogyny than an exercise in civic responsibility. Superbly incarnated by Isabelle Huppert (in her fifth starring role for Chabrol), she's almost nunlike in her quiet heroism. In French with subtitles. 110 min. (RMP) aRiver East, 7 PM

The Free Will

After being released from a mental institution where he spent nine years for multiple rapes, the hero of this German feature by Matthias Glasner (Fandango), winner of the Golden Bear in Berlin, falls in love with his boss's daughter. In German with subtitles. 163 min. aLandmark, 7 PM

King and the Clown

Jun-ik Lee's 2005 feature was adapted from a play about two clowns during the Chosun dynasty attempting to stave off execution by making the king laugh. In Korean with subtitles. 119 min. aThorne, 7 PM

Invisible Waves

R The great countercultural novelist Rudolph Wurlitzer has talked of writing a Buddhist thriller in which the action gets progressively slower. There's some of that in this movie, Thai maestro Pen-ek Ratanaruang's fifth feature, which moves from Macao to Thailand. Though this time the director doesn't take a script credit, he returns to the genre basics of his first two films, Fun Bar Karaoke (1997) and 6ixtynin9 (1999), to give us a moody, philosophically downbeat, cryptically stylish thriller about a Japanese hit man (Tadanobu Asano) assigned to kill his own lover (and his boss's girlfriend). The lush cinematography is by the great Christopher Doyle. In English and subtitled Thai, Japanese, and Korean. 115 min. (JR) aRiver East, 8 PM

Suburban Mayhem

A snotty crime romp in the Tarantino vein, this Australian feature stars sexy Emily Barclay as a teenage bitch on wheels whose vicious brother draws a life sentence for decapitating a convenience-store cashier with a samurai sword. Determined to appeal his conviction but short of the necessary cash, she resolves to get the deed to her father's suburban house and enlists first her boyfriend and then the brother's dim-witted pal in a plot to murder daddy. This is pretty good fun until the last act, when the characters are brießy chastened by the blood on their hands; any idiot could tell them it's only red dye and corn syrup. Music-video veteran Paul Goldman directed. 89 min. (JJ) aLandmark, 8 PM

A Guide to Recognizing

Your Saints

Given all the filmed memory pieces about screaming, violent Italian-American families in New York boroughs, I'm not especially thrilled by even a well-made example. First-time director Dito Montiel adapts his autobiographical book, most of it set in the mean streets of Astoria in the early 80s. Robert Downey Jr. plays Montiel, who goes home to visit his estranged father (Chazz Palminteri), occasioning ßashbacks to his younger self (Shia LaBeouf), his pals, and a violent feud involving gra°ti and a baseball bat. With Rosario Dawson, Dianne Wiest, Channing Tatum, and Eric Roberts. R, 98 min. (JR)

aRiver East, 8:15 PM

Renaissance

Christian Volckman directed this black-and-white animated feature, set in a dystopian Paris in the year 2054. With the voices of Daniel Craig, Catherine McCormack, Romola Garai, Jonathan Pryce, and Ian Holm. 105 min. aLandmark, 8:15 PM

Love Sick

What separates love from malady is the question lesbian lovers debate halfway through this Romanian drama--while discussing chateaubriand--giving an intellectual gloss to a movie that mostly just titillates. Fellow university students in Bucharest, the country lass (Ioana Barbu) is serious and well behaved, while her glamorous urban girlfriend (Maria Popistasu of Crash Test Dummies) is needy and impetuous--and mired in a torrid relationship with her sociopath brother (Tudor Chirila). For a film about passion, this is a curiously cold exercise; and the basis for the women's ardor remains a mystery, perhaps the result of director Tudor Giurgiu's preference for ßash over substance. In Romanian with subtitles. 86 min. (AG) aLandmark, 9 PM

The Spot

In this fiction film from Russia, Yuri Moroz follows three prostitutes in Moscow during the 2002 World Cup. In Russian with subtitles. 85 min.

aRiver East, 9:15 PM

Severance

For horror fans who crave a few laughs along with their ritual decapitations and limb severings. Director Christopher Smith sends a motley group of English and American employees of international arms dealers to a shabby hunting lodge in a remote Hungarian forest for a corporate bonding weekend, and things quickly turn grisly. Is the lodge haunted by its past incarnation as an insane asylum taken over by its inmates, or was it the site of a bloody massacre by eastern European soldiers? Both, it turns out. The intrepid employees have to deal with magic mushrooms, a bear (and a bear trap, in an excruciating sequence that sums up Smith's talent for blending ha-ha and horror), a spider, paintball, land mines, even a surface-to-air missile, along with the requisite guns, sharp objects, and homicidal madmen. 90 min. (MB) aRiver East, 11 PM

The Host

R Quite possibly the wisest, most moving monster movie ever made, Bong Joon-ho's feature deservedly became South Korea's biggest ever box-o°ce success. Six years after the U.S. army poisons Seoul's Han River, a giant lizardlike creature emerges and rampages along the banks. It may carry a lethal virus, one the U.S. decides it's responsible for eradicating. Among the monster's prisoners is a young girl, and her colorfully dysfunctional family--her narcoleptic father is mildly retarded, his educated brother full of resentment, the grandfather stubbornly conservative--must scheme against a repressive state apparatus to rescue her. Bong's film brilliantly mixes frights, gentle humor, outrageous Grand Guignol, and sharp political satire: you don't have to look hard to find a disquieting allegory about real terror, state-imagined terrorism, and local resistance. In Korean with subtitles. 119 min. (SK) aLandmark, 11 PM

Saturday, October 7

Thin

An American documentary by Lauren Greenfield about four women suffering from eating disorders at a clinic in south Florida. 105 min. aRiver East, noon

The Magicians

R See listing under Friday, October 6. aLandmark, noon

Mobile Suit Z Gundam I

Part one of a trilogy of animated compilation SF features from Japan receiving its North American premiere; the material's drawn from the 80s Zeta TV series and the director is Yoshiyuki Tomino, who will lead a discussion at the screenings of all three parts. 94 min. aThorne, noon

Shorts 1: Homegrown

Eight shorts by local artists Joe

Fournier, Robert Postrozny and James Anderson, Chris Nelson, Sean Jourdan, Paul Cales, Justin Hayward, Jason Sandri, and Terry Kinney. 91 min. aRiver East, 1:30 PM

The Yacoubian Building

R In Alaa Al Aswany's hugely

popular novel the real-life Yacoubian building, erected to house Cairo's elite and since fallen into genteel decay, functions as a compact metaphor for the shifting strata of a crumbling Egyptian class system. Tyro director Marwan Hamed's sprawling three-hour adaptation, the most expensive Egyptian movie ever made, weaves myriad plots into a sumptuously melodramatic tapestry with a star-studded cast--an addictively watchable, if somewhat uneven, spectacle. The romantic fortunes of an aging roue and the hypocritical ruthlessness of a respectably married man fit neatly into the film's vignette structure, but more complex, socially loaded story lines, like a French homosexual's seduction of a soldier and an ambitious student's transformation into a Muslim terrorist, suffer from the narrative shorthand. In Arabic with subtitles. 172 minutes. (RS) aRiver East, 2 PM

Mobile Suit Z Gundam II

Part two of a trilogy; see listing

above under this date. 90 min. aThorne, 2:15 PM

Vitus

R Swiss director Fredi M. Murer, whose somber 1985 Alpine Fire featured a deaf boy incestuously stranded with his sister in the mountains, goes to the other extreme with this celebratory, family-friendly fable about a child genius with supersensitive hearing who finds himself all too immersed in the adult world. The 12-year-old Vitus (portrayed by piano prodigy Teo Gheorghiu), a prisoner of his well-meaning parents' high expectations, can relax only during visits to his carpenter grandfather (a splendid turn by Bruno Ganz) as they tinker in the workshop and dream of ßying. Then a daring self-empowerment scheme--fueled not by CGI-enhanced superpowers but by the ingenious deployment of his hitherto hated intelligence--allows Vitus to commandeer his own fate. In German with subtitles. 120 minutes. (RS) aRiver East, 2:30 PM

The Bridge

According to this documentary,

24 people jumped to their death from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge in 2004. Eric Steel contrived to film as many of them as possible, and the festival schedule says he "captured 23 successful suicides and one survivor." He also interviews many suffering friends and relatives. This is a new form of obscenity that might be called suicide porn. It's not just the voyeuristic surveillance that's obscene, but the use of suicide footage as counterpoint to other stories as they're told. Steel shows no special insight into the subject, though even that couldn't justify such hideousness. 93 min. (JR) aLandmark, 3 PM

The Free Will

See listing under Friday, October 6. aLandmark, 3 PM

Day Night Day Night

Given the stale conventions of most films that take on the issue of terrorism, Julia Loktev's feature is notable for its efforts to avoid melodrama and sloganeering. Unfortunately this portrait of a young woman on the eve of her first terrorist foray--a bombing of Times Square--replaces the knee-jerk patriotic bluster of Hollywood films with its own postmodern cliches. Loktev is in superb control of her material: she elicits a convincingly unhistrionic performance from newcomer Luisa Williams and chronicles the young antiheroine's daily regimen with a meticulousness that recalls the Dardenne brothers' ßair for naturalistic detail. Yet unlike the Dardennes or the best practitioners of political cinema, she possesses almost zero political acumen, and her film ends up resembling nothing more than a well-calibrated performance piece, as vacuous as its confused protagonist. 94 min. (RMP) aLandmark, 4 PM

The Violin

This deceptively simple, absorbing tale from Mexico follows a crafty old farmer and violinist named Plutarco (Don Angel Tavira) as he becomes embroiled in a civil war involving government troops who've been sent to crush a local guerrilla insurrection. Performing in bars and cafes with his grandson, he largely avoids the conßict until the military destroys his village and arrests members of his family, after which he starts secretly helping the guerrillas by using his violin to smuggle ammunition. Writer-director Francisco Vargas wisely strips the story of sentimentality and melodrama, creating a stark narrative that's reßective and at times surprisingly suspenseful. His use of both professional and nonprofessional actors contributes to the gritty realism. In Spanish with subtitles. 99 min. (RP) aLandmark, 4 PM

Mobile Suit Z Gundam III

Part three of a trilogy; see listing above under this date. 99 min. aThorne, 4:15 PM

Fireworks Wednesday

R Tehran on the eve of the Muslim New Year provides the backdrop for this engrossing Iranian drama about a marriage in crisis. Before her wedding a rustic young woman (Taraneh Alidoosti) takes a housecleaning job, only to find herself caught in altercations between her upscale clients. The lady of the house (Hedye Tehrani), fearing her workaholic husband (Hamid Farokhnezad) is seeing the divorcee next door, is eager to decamp with her family to Dubai. She enlists the maid to spy on the neighbor, but the well-meaning girl, moved by the couple's pain, is at first too honest, then too artful, in her reports, leading to surprising consequences. Asghar Farhadi directs with subtlety. In Farsi with subtitles. 102 min. (AG) aRiver East, 5 PM

Relatives

See listing under Friday, October 6. aRiver East, 5:30 PM

Love Sick

See listing under Friday, October 6. aLandmark, 5:30 PM

Requiem

A pious rural lass (Sandra Huller in an impressive screen debut) wants to spread her wings by attending college, but she has to contend with a more vexing problem than catty cliques or fractious frat boys: she's besieged by demons majoring in advanced blasphemy. Based on the same sad facts as The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Hans-Christian Schmid's film positions itself as the anti-Exorcist, prosaic in style and devoid of head twirling and spider noshing. The nonsensationalistic results are also somewhat ho-hum--and oddly less convincing than Friedkin's lurid mess, let alone the elegant satanism sagas of Tourneur and Polanski. In interviews Schmid and screenwriter Bernd Lange have discounted the case's supernatural dimensions, though the film leaves the question open. In German with subtitles. 93 min. (MR) aRiver East, 6 PM

Syndromes and a Century

R The always unpredictable experimental Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Tropical Malady) offers a strange two-part movie with many rhyme effects that's based on memories of his parents, who were doctors. The first part, set in a rural clinic, focuses on his mother, and the second, set in a city hospital closer to the present, is about his father. Peter Sellars produced this as one of seven "New Crowned Hope" features celebrating the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth; the series also includes Tsai Ming-liang's first film set in his native Malaysia, I Don't Want to Sleep Alone, and Garin Nugroho's stunning Indonesian Opera Jawa, but regrettably neither film is showing at the festival. In Thai with subtitles. 105 min. (JR) aLandmark, 6:15 PM

Wounded Animals

Veteran Catalan writer-director Ventura Pons ladles on the expository narration in this adaptation of Jordi Punti's novel Sad Animals, revealing Punti's deliciously wry, acerbic take on the moral implications of adultery and how it invariably hurts the participants as well as the cuckold. The film's divided into three overlapping stories, and the first and best concerns a successful businessman having an affair with a beautiful interior designer, who's furious when she discovers that the reason behind his fetish for conducting their trysts in a certain hotel room is that it affords him a clear view of his own house. With Jose Coronado, Aitana Sanchez-Gijon, Cecilia Rossetto, and Marc Cartes. In Catalan with subtitles. 94 min. (JK) aLandmark, 6:30 PM

Broken Sky

A romantic and sexual triangle of three men is the focus of Juan Hernandez's Mexican feature. In Spanish with subtitles. 140 min. aLandmark, 7 PM

King and the Clown

See listing under Friday, October 6. aRiver East, 8 PM

Ten Canoes

R Director Rolf de Heer teams with the star of his 2002 film The Tracker for this hypnotic journey across time and the Australian outback. David Gulpilil narrates the story of a young aborigine (son Jamie Gulpilil) on a hunting trip with tribal elders who's told an ancestral tale about a youth who covets one of his brother's three wives. The particular and universal aspects of myth converge in an often humorous drama that illuminates the indigenous Yolngu people, yet also echoes creation stories from other cultures. Inspired by anthropologist Donald Thomson's early-20th-century photographs, this collaboration between a Western filmmaker and the native people of Ramingining is an impressive achievement of ethnographic cinema. In English and subtitled Ganalbingu. 92 min. (AG) aRiver East, 8 PM

Thicker Than Water

See listing under Friday, October 6. aRiver East, 8 PM

Time

The best films of Korean maverick Kim Ki-duk manage to keep class- and gender-based fury in an unlikely balance with pictorial lyricism, undercutting and sublimating the ugly resentment and visceral violence they contain. Unfortunately in Kim's 13th feature the balance has slipped, the anger has atrophied, and the pictures have become drab self-parody. In the hysterically soap-operatic plot (with its faux-clever Mobius twist), young middle-class lovers Seh-hee and Ji-woo are so perversely alienated from each other that each feels compelled to undergo plastic surgery to save their dissolving relationship, and she becomes a literally and figuratively masked other who haunts him to the point of madness. This sour psychodrama is best appreciated, if at all, as a willful exercise in arbitrary directorial bravado. In Korean with subtitles. 97 min. (SK) aLandmark, 8 PM

A Soap

Danish director Pernille Fischer Christensen's claustrophobic debut feature, a Silver Bear winner at Berlin, unfolds within a single apartment house. The focus is on an evolving relationship between two apparently incompatible neighbors: a repressed, pre-op transsexual (male-to-female) loner who spends her days watching TV soaps and a no-nonsense beauty salon owner who just left her lover and is enjoying a series of one-nighters. At intervals a smarmy male voice-over introduces black-and-white recaps and ßash-forwards of the film's story line as Dogma-inßuenced femme director Christensen wryly uses soap opera conventions to wallow in the genre's hyperemotional intensity while disavowing its cliches. The gender-confused nature of the protagonists' attraction affords some much needed, un-Dogmatic relief from Christensen's deliberately drab deconstruction of melodrama. In Danish with subtitles. 104 minutes. (RS) aLandmark, 8:30 PM

Suburban Mayhem

See listing under Friday, October 6. aLandmark, 8:45 PM

Princess

This mix of animation and live action is strictly for adults. After the sudden death of his porn-star sister, a missionary abandons his calling to take charge of her five-year-old daughter. The niece is understandably traumatized, but when her uncle discovers she's also been abused he goes on a violent rampage against the industry honchos who exploited mother and child. Like many Japanese anime features, the movie embraces a dark worldview, though here the emphasis is more on psychology than on action or social criticism. Following the tenets of Western tragedy, the ßaws and actions of the would-be righteous hero determine the story's bleak outcome. Anders Morgenthaler directs. In Danish with subtitles. 78 min. (AG) aLandmark, 11 PM

Sunday, October 8

Love Sick

See listing under Friday, October 6. aRiver East, noon

Little Red Flowers

Zhang Yuan (Beijing Bastards) directed this mainland Chinese feature, set shortly after the communist revolution, about the di°culties a toddler has adjusting to life in a highly regimented boarding school. In Mandarin with subtitles. 92 min. aRiver East, noon

Wounded Animals

See listing under Saturday, October 7. aRiver East, noon

The Violin

See listing under Saturday, October 7. aLandmark, noon

The Bridge

See listing under Saturday, October 7. aLandmark, 12:30 PM

Handy Man

Writer-director Michel Leclerc's romantic comedy about opposites who attract is a leaden mess. A scruffy middle-aged slacker (Kad Merad of The Chorus) meets a lovely, industrious artisan (Modigliani's Elsa Zylberstein), and charmed by her joie de vivre, her habit of peeing in public, and the prospect of free rent, he marries her. Five years later, their union in trouble, he invents a simple pocket tool that could make them rich. Given that there's not one convincing element in the entire movie, the appearance of a deus ex machina to wrap things up quickly comes none too soon. In French with subtitles. 88 min. (AG) aLandmark, 1 PM

Summercamp!

See listing under Friday, October 6. aRiver East, 2 PM

Shorts 4: Moment of Impact

Eight short works from the U.S., the UK, Hong Kong, and Scotland. 88 min. aRiver East, 2 PM

Ten Canoes

R See listing under Saturday, October 7. aLandmark, 2 PM

Spirit of the Soul

A fiction feature from India by cinematographer A.K. Bir about a father who loses a son and tries to cope by turning his deaf daughter into a classical Indian dancer. In Hindi with subtitles. 107 min. aRiver East, 2:15 PM

The Last Gaze

In this feature debut by writer-director Patricia Arriaga Jordan, Sergi Mateu stars as an acclaimed painter living in Spain with his girlfriend, a ravishing model. When he's diagnosed with an eye defect that will soon prevent him from seeing any color except red and then render him blind, he returns to his native Mexico to join his elderly father, who suffers from the same afßiction. A parallel plot concerns a waifish young woman abandoned by her prostitute mother and forced to work at a tacky, Chinese-themed bordello while taking care of her grandparents. The diagrammatic plot dictates that the painter and young woman eventually meet, and when they do, in the final, maudlin act, Jordan forfeits all credibility. With Marisol Centeno. In Spanish with subtitles. 125 min. (JK) aLandmark, 2:15 PM

The Yacoubian Building

R See listing under Saturday, October 7. aLandmark, 3 PM

Vitus

R See listing under Saturday, October 7. aLandmark, 3:30 PM

Comedy of Power

R See listing under Friday, October 6. aLandmark, 4 PM

Thin

See listing under Saturday, October 7. aRiver East, 5 PM

Ode to Joy

Anna Kazejak-Dawid, Jan Komasa, and Maciej Migas, three students at the celebrated Lodz Film School in Poland, directed the three loosely connected episodes of this 2005 feature. In Polish with subtitles. 110 min. aRiver East, 5 PM

Thicker Than Water

See listing under Friday, October 6. aRiver East, 5 PM

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints

See listing under Friday, October 6. aLandmark, 5 PM

Day Night Day Night

See listing under Saturday, October 7. aLandmark, 6 PM

The Page Turner

In Denis Dercourt's French feature a 20-year-old pianist who failed an audition for the national conservatory a decade earlier gets hired as a nanny and page turner by the woman who rejected her. In French with subtitles. 85 min. aLandmark, 6:30 PM

Syndromes and a Century

R See listing under Saturday, October 7. aLandmark, 7 PM

Candy

The incandescent love affair of beautiful young poet Dan (Heath Ledger) and beautiful younger artist Candy (Abbie Cornish) leads them to share everything. They live together, work together, swim together, and quickly shoot up together. Their mutual addiction brießy feels ecstatic, as it fuels their art and obsessive sex life. Their sometime enabler is a chemistry prof (Geoffrey Rush) who dabbles in turning out synthetic heroin, which he also shares with his pretty-boy one-night stands. When the need for the drug exceeds the couple's ability to pay for it, a trip to a pawnshop turns into something shockingly dark. Their descent into hell passes through several circles before arriving at madness in a story that's reminiscent of the seminal Panic in Needle Park. R, 108 min. (MB) aThorne, 7 PM

Twilight Dancers

Fans of the late Philippine director Lino Brocka will recognize the genre he created with his 1988 Macho Dancer, a groundbreaking exploration of the lives of beautiful young Filipino men who work as strippers in Manila gay bars. Their lives are nasty, brutish, and short, as they try to support their families while navigating a world of sexual exploitation, corruption, drugs, and murder. Mel Chionglo's Twilight Dancers alternates titillating scenes of the androgynously attractive boys dancing onstage (followed by minty backstage banter) with scenes of the soap opera surrounding three of them. There's the pretty ingenue Dwight; the aging Alfred, who has a deaf wife and tiny child to support; and the past-it Bert, now working as

a bodyguard and driver for a ruthless, anything-goes business tycoon (Cherry Pie Picache). The sociology mixes a triße uneasily with the erotica. In Tagalog with subtitles. 105 min. (MB) aRiver East, 7:15 PM

Invisible Waves

R See listing under Friday, October 6. aLandmark, 7:15 PM

Renaissance

See listing under Friday, October 6. aRiver East, 7:30 PM

Steel City

R Set in a decaying industrial town in downstate Illinois, writer-director Brian Jun's gritty first feature is a heartfelt portrait of a fractured working-class family. Tom Guiry, intermittently defiant and vulnerable, stars as PJ, the youngest son of a man incarcerated for vehicular manslaughter (John Heard, in a nicely shaded performance); his older, factory-worker brother is shirking his family responsibilities and seems headed down the same path as their father. PJ sees how self-destructive they are but isn't sure how to avoid making the same mistakes. Jun, a downstate native, has an ear for plainspoken dialogue and neither glamorizes nor patronizes his characters. With Raymond J. Barry, Clayne Crawford, and America Ferrera. 95 min. (JK) aRiver East, 8 PM

The Spot

See listing under Friday, October 6. aLandmark, 8:15 PM

Broken Sky

See listing under Saturday, October 7. aLandmark, 8:30 PM

Monday, October 9

Future Filmmakers

Festival Program

A free screening of the winning films and videos from the 2006 Future Filmmakers Festival, devoted to filmmakers under the age of 20; the winners will attend. aRiver East, 2 PM

Shorts 4: Moment of Impact

See listing under Sunday, October 8. aRiver East, 2:30 PM

The Violin

See listing under Saturday, October 7. aRiver East, 4 PM

Fireworks Wednesday

R See listing under Saturday, October 7. aRiver East, 4 PM

Vitus

R See listing under Saturday, October 7. aLandmark, 4:15 PM

The Paper Will Be Blue

Radu Muntean's comedy drama opens with men in an armored

squad car being shot during the

1989 Romanian revolution, then uses ßashbacks to show the events that led up to the shooting. In Romanian with subtitles. 95 min. aRiver East, 5 PM

The Free Will

See listing under Friday, October 6. aLandmark, 5 PM

Ten Canoes

R See listing under Saturday, October 7. aLandmark, 6 PM

Street Thief

See listing under Friday, October 6. aRiver East, 6:15 PM

The Wake

A cop on the run after an accidental shooting shows up at the home of his estranged brother, an Orthodox priest, and the two hit the road in search of an underworld figure. Nikos Grammatikos directed this 2005 Greek drama. In Greek with subtitles. 105 min. aRiver East, 6:30 PM

Suzanne

An aging writer (Patrick Bauchau

of The State of Things) who has

lost his wife and child falls in love with a younger woman in this French feature by Viviane Candas. In French with subtitles. 92 min. aLandmark, 6:30 PM

The Bridge

See listing under Saturday, October 7. aLandmark, 6:45 PM

Jasmine Women

Hou Yong's 2004 feature from mainland China, based on Su Tong's novel Women's Lives, tells three separate stories and stars Zhang Ziyi and Joan Chen. In Mandarin with subtitles. 130 min. aThorne, 7 PM

Come Early Morning

Ashley Judd stars as a promiscuous small-town southern woman in a first feature by actress Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy). With Jeffrey Donovan, Diane Ladd, Tim Blake Nelson, and Scott Wilson. R, 97 min. aRiver East, 7:15 PM

The Collector

For decades Feliks Falk has supplied Polish cinema with undiluted doses of cynicism. Here he zeroes in on a repo man named Lucek whose genius for uncovering hidden assets is matched only by his ruthless disregard for his prey. The camera, galvanized from first frame to last by the extraordinary performance of Andrzej Chrya as the zealous collector, restlessly roams a colorless Poland ravaged by economic insecurity. The incorruptible Lucek, an unholy amalgam of bureaucratic piety and capitalistic drive, poses a threat to both his impoverished

victims and his corrupt bosses. Unfortunately Falk, uncharacteristically directing from someone else's script, loses his mordant edge as the hero magically becomes humane--a suitably ironic turnaround, but one that feels schematic and lacks iconic verve. In Polish with subtitles. 93 minutes. (RS) aLandmark, 8 PM

Day Night Day Night

See listing under Saturday, October 7. aRiver East, 8:15 PM

Handy Man

See listing under Sunday, October 8. aLandmark, 8:30 PM

Time

See listing under Saturday, October 7. aLandmark, 8:30 PM

A Soap

See listing under Saturday, October 7. aRiver East, 8:45 PM

Twilight Dancers

See listing under Sunday, October 8. aLandmark, 9 PM

Flannel Pajamas

Writer-director Jeff Lipsky dissects

a marriage with the same seriousness as Ingmar Bergman or the young Mike Nichols, showing what can happen when a man partners with

a woman who's not his equal.

Justin Kirk (Angels in America, TV's Weeds) plays a successful Broadway promoter who weds an unsuccessful, emotionally fragile saleswoman (Julianne Nicholson) because he wants to protect her. She repays his patience and generosity by sulking, especially because she wants to

start a family, a step he prefers to postpone. The script is overwritten and has too many themes--suicide, abuse, anti-Semitism--to support, but Nicholson does remarkable

work in an unsympathetic role, helped by Lipsky's fine control of

his characters. 124 min. (AG) aRiver East, 9:30 PM

Tuesday, October 10

Suzanne

See listing under Monday, October 9. aLandmark, 2 PM

Shorts 1: Homegrown

See listing under Saturday, October 7. aRiver East, 3:30 PM

The Yacoubian Building

R See listing under Saturday, October 7. aLandmark, 3:45 PM

The Paper Will Be Blue

See listing under Monday, October 9. aRiver East, 4 PM

Relatives

See listing under Friday, October 6. aRiver East, 4 PM

Exile Family Movie

In this Austrian-Iranian documentary by Arash, an Iranian family whose members live in Iran, Europe, and America arrange a reunion in Mecca. In English and subtitled German and Farsi. 94 min. aLandmark, 4 PM

The Spot

See listing under Friday, October 6. aLandmark, 4 PM

Little Red Flowers

See listing under Sunday, October 8. aRiver East, 6 PM

Tsiou

A Greek comedy by first-timer Makis Papadimitratos about a heroin addict and his pals searching for smack during a religious feast. In Greek with subtitles. 83 min. aLandmark, 6 PM

Steel City

R See listing under Sunday, October 8. aLandmark, 6:15 PM

Spirit of the Soul

See listing under Sunday, October 8. aRiver East, 6:30 PM

The Collector

See listing under Monday, October 9. aRiver East, 6:30 PM

Candy

See listing under Sunday, October 8. aLandmark, 6:30 PM

Chronicle of an Escape

The 1977 kidnapping of soccer player Claudio Tamburrini is dramatized in this Argentinean feature by Adrian Caetano (Bolivia, A Red Bear). In Spanish with subtitles. 103 min. aThorne, 7 PM

Change of Address

R Escapist fare for Francophiles, this light romantic comedy overcomes its frenzied setup and engenders smiles for its quartet of lovelorn, oddball Parisians. Writer-director Emmanuel Mouret stars as a hapless music teacher who rents a room from a curvy blond copy-shop owner (Frederique Bel, a Gallic version of Lisa Kudrow). She pines for a customer she barely knows, and he falls instantly for a taciturn younger student (knockout Fanny Valette, of La Petite Jerusalem), who blooms only after she meets a slick restaurateur (Dany Brillant). Deftly scripted and well acted, the movie's pleasures lie not so much in who winds up with whom, but the circuitous ways they get there. In French with subtitles. 85 min. (AG) aLandmark, 7:15 PM

The Last Gaze

See listing under Sunday, October 8. aRiver East, 8 PM

The Zero Years

This 2005 feature by writer-director Nikos Nikolaidis completes a trilogy called "The Shape of the Coming Nightmare" (Eurydice B.A. 2037 and Morning Patrol are the first two films); it focuses on women who've been sterilized by the government and beat their clients in a state-run S and M brothel. In Greek with subtitles. 120 min. aLandmark, 8 PM

The Page Turner

See listing under Sunday, October 8. aRiver East, 8:45 PM

Flannel Pajamas

See listing under Monday, October 9. aLandmark, 8:45 PM

Renaissance

See listing under Friday, October 6. aLandmark, 8:45 PM

Ode to Joy

See listing under Sunday, October 8. aRiver East, 9 PM

Tough Enough

German actor and sometime director Detlev Buck directed this award-winning drama about a 15-year-old (David Kross) navigating his way through a crime-ridden, run-down neighborhood with a large number of Turkish immigrants. In German with subtitles. 98 min. aLandmark, 9:15 PM

Wednesday, October 11

Chronicle of an Escape

See listing under Tuesday, October 10. aRiver East, 4 PM

Spirit of the Soul

See listing under Sunday, October 8. aLandmark, 4 PM

Ode to Joy

See listing under Sunday, October

8. aLandmark, 4 PM

Little Red Flowers

See listing under Sunday, October 8. aLandmark, 4 PM

Dirt Nap

A first feature by actor D.B. Sweeney in which he stars with John C. McGinley and Paul Hipp; they play three down-and-out friends who jointly decide to fake their deaths and start their lives over. With Ed Harris and Moira Kelly. 95 min. aRiver East, 4:30 PM

Midnight My Love

A Bangkok taxi driver obsessed with a radio show devoted to golden oldies starts to become attached to one of his customers, a high-priced prostitute. Kongdej Jaturanrasamee directed. In Thai with subtitles. 104 min. aRiver East, 4:30 PM

Handy Man

See listing under Sunday, October 8. aLandmark, 5:30 PM

Tsiou

See listing under Tuesday, October 10. aLandmark, 6 PM

Just Sex and Nothing Else

Krisztina Goda's 2005 comedy, a hit in its native Hungary, follows a desperate young woman who places a classified ad for "just sex and nothing else" after failing to find a husband and then begins to meet candidates. In Hungarian with subtitles. 90 min. aRiver East, 6:30 PM

Come Early Morning

See listing under Monday, October 9. aLandmark, 6:30 PM

The Paper Will Be Blue

See listing under Monday, October 9. aLandmark, 6:30 PM

Rampage

An Australian documentary by George Gittoes about two brothers from Miami who are rappers and whose older brother is serving in Iraq. 103 min. aRiver East, 6:45 PM

Iraq in Fragments

James Longley's three-part documentary examines the lives of an 11-year-old Sunni boy in Baghdad, politicized Shiites in southern Najaf, and Kurdish families in a village in northern Iraq. 94 min. aRiver East, 7 PM

The Queen

R Helen Mirren's ßinty performance as Elizabeth II is getting all the attention, but equally impressive is Peter Morgan's insightful script for this UK drama, which quietly teases out the social, political, and historical implications of the 1997 death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Shortly after the shocking news reaches Britain, Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) scores a PR coup by memorializing Diana as the "people's princess," while the royal family's obstinate silence angers their grieving subjects. But Blair is more sympathetic to

Elizabeth than many of his staffers, and he instinctively understands what she cannot: that in the tabloid age, celebrities are dangerously usurping the monarch's hold on the public's imagination. Stephen Frears directed; with James Cromwell and Sylvia Sims. PG-13, 97 min. (JJ) aThorne, 7 PM

The Last Gaze

See listing under Sunday, October 8. aLandmark, 8 PM

True Blue

After a stint as a failed dancer

in Paris a bisexual man returns

to Greece to become a prostitute before contemplating a sex-change operation. Yannis Diamandopoulos directed. In Greek with subtitles. 108 min. aLandmark, 8 PM

Time

See listing under Saturday, October 7. aRiver East, 9 PM

The Family Friend

Endlessly infatuated with its own cinematic ßamboyance, Paolo Sorrentino's latest aims for profundity but has no more substance than the average ßashy TV commercial. Known for haunted architectural landscapes and swooping camera movements, he delivers a character study of Geremia (played with appropriate oiliness by Giacomo Rizzo), a gargoylelike loan shark whose moral and physical hideousness is apparently intended to be some sort of oblique commentary on contemporary Italian corruption and self-deception. Geremia's loathsome seduction of a young bride saddled with debt--and her subsequent declaration of love for him--might be convincing if it were written with the political savvy of a Brecht or filmed with the moral insights of a Pasolini. But Geremia is a figure of grim pathos, and Sorrentino's attempt to transform his Machiavellian glee into a sentimental journey is as repellent as the character's scowling mug. In Italian with subtitles. 108 min. (RMP) aRiver East, 9 PM

Twilight Dancers

See listing under Sunday, October 8. aLandmark, 9 PM

Invisible Waves

R See listing under Friday, October 6. aLandmark, 9 PM

Candy

See listing under Sunday, October 8. aRiver East, 9:15 PM

Thursday, October 12

Steel City

R See listing under Sunday, October 8. aRiver East, 3:30 PM

Rampage

See listing under Wednesday, October 11. aRiver East, 4 PM

Wounded Animals

See listing under Saturday, October 7. aRiver East, 4 PM

The Collector

See listing under Monday, October 9. aLandmark, 4 PM

Change of Address

R See listing under Tuesday, October 10. aLandmark, 4 PM

Exile Family Movie

See listing under Tuesday, October 10. aLandmark, 4:30 PM

Fireworks Wednesday

R See listing under Saturday, October 7. aLandmark, 4:45 PM

The Trials of Darryl Hunt

Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg's documentary concerns a black man who's wrongly convicted of rape and murder in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. 113 min. aRiver East, 6 PM

Tough Enough

See listing under Tuesday, October 10. aRiver East, 6 PM

The Unforgiven

Yoon Jong-bin's debut feature from South Korea follows childhood friends who find themselves divided by rank while fulfilling their compulsory military service. In Korean with subtitles. 126 min. aLandmark, 6 PM

True Blue

See listing under Wednesday, October 11. aLandmark, 6 PM

No. 2

Ruby Dee stars in this New Zealand comedy drama, adapted by director Toa Fraser from his own play, about a matriarch planning a big dinner at which she'll name her successor as head of the family. 94 min. aRiver East, 7 PM

The Italian

R This 2005 story about a Russian boy whose mother has given him up may be derivative, but it's still engrossing, largely because of its appealing juvenile lead, Kolya Spiridonov. After the collapse of the Soviet regime, life in the hinterlands is relentlessly grim for abandoned and orphaned children. Exploited by Dickensian profiteers, they turn to theft and prostitution to buy necessities yet remain supportive of those lucky enough to be placed in European homes, including Spiridonov's character. The stark, mystical beauty of the Russian landscape informs the people he encounters on his journey to find his real mother, and the film becomes something of a portrait of a nation lumbering toward reinvention. Andrei Kravchuk directs with, thankfully, little sentimentality. In Russian with subtitles. PG-13, 99 min. (AG) aLandmark, 7 PM

Iraq in Fragments

See listing under Wednesday, October 11. aLandmark, 7 PM

Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing

Documentary filmmakers Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck follow the members of this popular country-music group for the three years after one of them, Natalie Maines, set off a storm of controversy by expressing scorn for George W. Bush. 99 min. aThorne, 7 PM

DarkBlueAlmostBlack

R It's a credit to writer-director Daniel Sanchez Arevalo that this comedy drama, his first feature film, maintains a light, breezy tone even as it takes on ethical issues. Quim Gutierrez stars as a twentysomething working a dead-end job as a janitor while caring for his invalid father. His incarcerated older brother desperately wants to impregnate his girlfriend, and when he discovers he's impotent he enlists his sibling, cautioning him not to get emotionally involved. Of course complications ensue, increased by the younger brother's budding romance with a previously unrequited love. Shot primarily in close-up, which enhances the story's warm intimacy, this is a solid debut. With Antonio de la Torre and Marta Etura. In Spanish with subtitles. 105 min. (JK) aRiver East, 8:15 PM

Requiem

See listing under Saturday, October 7. aLandmark, 8:30 PM

The Zero Years

See listing under Tuesday, October 10. aLandmark, 8:30 PM

Only God Knows

This road movie masquerading as a love story is so reactionary it's loathsome. A Brazilian teacher (Alice Braga of Lower City) working in San Diego and involved with a married man finds herself stranded in Tijuana when her passport's stolen. She's "rescued" by a smitten Mexican journalist (Y Tu Mama Tambien's Diego Luna), who doesn't tell her he's found her passport so that she'll drive with him to the U.S. embassy in Mexico City. His religiosity doesn't deter him from plotting seduction, and she pays too dearly for their affair. Carlos Bolado, who codirected the documentary Promises, may have a great eye for landscape and local color, but the pretty images barely disguise the misogyny. In English and subtitled Spanish and Portuguese. 115 min. (AG) aLandmark, 9:15 PM

12:08 East of Bucharest

Winner of Cannes' Camera d'Or, Corneliu Porumboiu's comedy

revisits Romania's 1989 revolution via the televised recollections of two people and viewers' responses. In Romanian with subtitles. 89 min. aLandmark, 9:15 PM

Dirt Nap

See listing under Wednesday, October 11. aRiver East, 9:30 PM

Waiter

What begins as a vaguely comic portrait of a put-upon middle-aged server quickly turns surreal when it cuts to the screenwriter, who's ostensibly in the throes of creating the story we're watching. Edgar, the title character (played by writer-director Alex van Warmerdam), eventually shows up at the home of the writer to ask for more fun, more sex, less tragedy. "You can't barge in here--you're fictitious," he's told, echoing Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo and the inßuential (and more layered) works of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). There's also an eerie similarity to the recently released Stranger Than Fiction. Input from the screenwriter's cranky girlfriend and his unruly characters leads to plot shifts, and the end results demonstrate the pitfalls of writing by committee. In Dutch with subtitles. 97 min. (MB) aRiver East, 9:30 PM

NEXT WEEK: The rest of the fest

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