Gloomy Sunday. Rolf Schubel. In prewar Budapest, two men and a woman enter into a Jules and Jim-like romantic trio. Inspired by their passion for the beautiful waitress Ilona (Erika Marozsan), Laszlo (Joachim Krol) becomes a successful restaurateur, whereas Andras (Stefano Dionisi) plays piano for the diners and writes a hit song -- albeit one that drives dozens of besotted listeners to suicide (a variation on the rumored effects of a 1940s Billie Holiday recording). But there's a fourth party in the story, a German businessman who also loves Ilona. Several years later, he returns as a high-ranking Nazi and the already strained web of relationships begins to unravel. Gloomy Sunday is a surprisingly entertaining melodrama lifted by excellent performances but with a strange off-center quality. The oddest thing about this slightly loopy history lesson is that director Schubel, who adapted a novel by Nick Barkow, fails to see even a trace of irony in his sex-and-pop-culture goulash. It's as if someone were to film the metafictional musings of a Pynchon or DeLillo novel as a straitlaced historical drama. Winner of "Audience Choice" award at the 2002 St. Louis Jewish Film Festival, Gloomy Sunday returns for an encore presentation at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 27, at the Plaza Frontenac. For information, call the Jewish Film Festival at 314-442-3299. (Robert Hunt)
I, a Man. Andy Warhol. The first of Warhol's "sexploitation" features, I, a Man shows a series of encounters between its star, Tom Baker, and different women, including Nico of the Velvet Underground, Ultra Violet and Ingrid Superstar. Also appearing: Valerie Solanas, the feminist polemicist who would shoot and nearly kill Warhol in 1968. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 24, in Moore Auditorium, Webster Hall, 470 East Lockwood Avenue. NR
Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky in Our Times. John Junkerman. If you grooved to the concept of the United States government as reigning global bully in the harrowing "What a Wonderful World" montage from Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine, here's the original version in a long-play remix. Renowned linguist and self-styled political theorist Noam Chomsky hit the road in early 2002 to support his latest tome, 9-11, with Tokyo-based television documentarian Junkerman adoringly catching the rambling raps. From both the East and Left coasts and in his office at MIT, cuddled by ardent fans and framed by odd Japanese folk-rock, Chomsky coolly drops mind bombs regarding American media, complacency and especially violent intervention in Vietnam, Central America and the Middle East. Occasionally he's winningly snide ("Why do they hate us when we're so good?"), but mostly he's just sick of living under a crooked empire and happy to mock our current "president." Kurt Vonnegut is older, craftier and more experienced with U.S. atrocities, and might've been more fun, but Chomsky's morality and wisdom cover for his dire lack of charisma. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday, April 25-27, in Moore Auditorium, Webster Hall, 470 East Lockwood Avenue. (Gregory Weinkauf)
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