Series/Festivals

Week of May 21, 2003

 Frida. Julie Taymor. Director Julie Taymor (Titus) is touched by genius, all her crew members are crackerjack and, as profoundly passionate and uncompromising Mexican-Jewish painter Frida Kahlo, Salma Hayek is several notches above Oscar-worthy (although she wimped out on the mustache). Kahlo's lifelong pain and pleasure come alive through her painting, but before anyone can mumble "female van Gogh," Taymor takes the artist's experience to a mythic, universal, even psychedelic, level. The romance of Frida and Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina, equally Oscar-worthy) is a remarkable study of sexual politics, especially in exchanges with his ex-wife, Lupe Marin (a magnificent Valeria Golino). The film's regular politics are equally engrossing; communist Rivera runs counter to the conservative expectations of Nelson Rockefeller (a game Edward Norton), and the painterly couple host Leon Trotsky (Geoffrey Rush, finally not grating). An hour shorter but every bit as powerful as Judgment at Nuremberg, Gandhi or Malcolm X, Frida is an epic experience that will reverberate around the world. Shown as part of "The Celluloid Couch" series sponsored by the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 28, in the auditorium of the St. Louis Art Museum. (Gregory Weinkauf)

How I Killed My Father. Anne Fontaine. On hearing that his father has recently died, middle-aged gerontologist Jean-Luc (Charles Berling) reflects on their last encounter, during which time the old man (Michel Bouquet) showed up suddenly after years of absence in Africa, throwing his son's carefully mannered life into turmoil. There's not a whole lot more to the story, written by Jacques Fieschi (Les Destinées) and director Fontaine (Augustin), but the pleasure is in watching veteran star Bouquet and the versatile Berling go at it -- they even seem to look alike. Cold and atmospheric, this isn't a movie for everyone, and it doesn't seem to offer any new answers to the age-old battle of fils et père, but fans of Berling and Bouquet, or good, nonshowy acting in general, shouldn't miss it. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday, May 23-25, in Moore Auditorium, Webster Hall, 470 East Lockwood Avenue. (Luke Y. Thompson)

Midnights at the Tivoli. Raiders of the Lost Ark, starring Harrison Ford, and Spirited Away, acclaimed Japanese animation adventure, screen at midnight Friday-Sunday, May 23-25, at the Tivoli. NR

Ride With the Devil. Ang Lee. Based on the Civil War novel Woe to Live On by Missouri author Daniel Woodrell. Screens at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 24, at the Kirkwood Public Library, 140 East Jefferson, 314-821-5770 ext. 0. NR

Road to Hong Kong. Norman Panama. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby return as conmen Chester Babcock and Harry Turner in the final Road movie. Co-stars the merely delicious and youthful Joan Collins instead of the scrumptious Dorothy Lamour. Last in the St. Louis Public Library's festival marking the 100th birthdays of Hope and Crosby. Screens at 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 27, at the Machacek Branch of the St. Louis Public Library, 6424 Scanlan Avenue, 314-781-2948. NR

 
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