Series/Festivals

Week of February 5, 2003

Beauty and the Beast. Jean Cocteau. Newly restored 1946 live-action version of classic tale. In French with English subtitles. Screens at 7 p.m. Friday-Sunday, February 7-9, in Webster University's Moore Auditorium, 470 E. Lockwood. NR

Unchained Memories: Readings From the Slave Narratives. Words of slaves are brought to life through the voices of African-American actors, including Angela Bassett, Don Cheadle, Ozzie Davis and Ruby Dee. This HBO documentary screens at 7 p.m., Monday, February 10, at the Julia Davis Branch of the St. Louis Public Library, 4415 Natural Bridge. NR

The Pinochet Case. Patricio Guzman. Documentary director Patricio Guzman (Battle of Chile) juxtaposes heartbreaking testimony from relatives of "the disappeared ones" and from several victims tortured by Pinochet's police force with a chronicle of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet's 1973-90 regime, footage of Pinochet's house arrest in September 1998 in London, his 502 days of detention, legal arguments in the British House of Lords, defenses by Pinochet's supporters, street protests for and against Pinochet and his release for medical reasons. (Guzman completed this film before Pinochet's subsequent arrest.) The heart of the film consists of survivors who describe horrific brutality in a straightforward but deeply moving manner. Guzman visits one of the secret detention centers, Villa Grimaldi in Santiago, and succeeds in bringing this ghastly chapter in Chilean history into stark, detailed relief. In French and Spanish with English subtitles. Screens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 11, in Webster University's Moore Auditorium. (DC)

The Secret Cause. Sergio Bianchi. A long-inactive theater director returns to the stage, buoyed by a new grant. Bianchi explores the bad faith of Brazilian elites and their refusal to come to grips with the contradictions of their lives. In Portuguese with English subtitles. Screens at 7 p.m., February 6, in Webster University's Moore Auditorium. NR

Rolling Thunder. John Flynn. Dismissed by writer Paul Schrader as "a fascist film" after rewrites diluted the anti-Vietnam thrust of his original script, the barely released Rolling Thunder is a curiously ambivalent action film with a vague but unmistakable sense of morality. The hero, Charles Rane (William Devane), arrives home in San Antonio after seven years of torture in a POW camp; faced with an unfaithful wife and an unfamiliar child, then left mutilated by thugs who invade his home and murder his family, he methodically plots revenge. By eliminating the less sympathetic aspects of Schrader's script, the filmmakers are left with a series of occasionally forceful but ambiguous action setpieces, never quite embracing the Nixonian agitprop of '70s revenge/vigilante films such as Death Wish and Walking Tall (or their liberal counterpart Billy Jack), suggesting but never quite achieving the irony of Schrader's Taxi Driver. The best moments are almost throwaways built on the strengths of the performers: Devane's restless air of stoicism, Tommy Lee Jones' look of embarrassment when returning to his own family and the quiet exasperation of barmaid Linda Haynes, who flirts into Devane's life, recognizes the icy emotional void he's become and tags along for the ride anyway. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 11, in the Fontbonne University library's Lewis Room. For information, call 314-719-8061. (RH)

Tomahawk. George Sherman. The U.S. Army must build a road through former Sioux territory in this 1951 Western classic, starring Van Heflin and Yvonne De Carlo. Part of "The Reel West" film series. Screens at 2 p.m., Friday, February 7, at the Kirkwood Public Library, 140 East Jefferson. For information, call 314-821-5770, ext. 0. NR

 
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