Week of August 7, 2002

Cinema in the City. Webster University sponsors once-a-month Wednesday screenings in Beatnik Bob's Cafe. This month features Kevin Connor's Motel Hell (1980). Wolfman Jack and John Ratzenberger star in this freaky B-movie. What are they putting in their sausage, pray tell? Plays at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at Beatnik Bob's at the City Museum. NR

Ford Free Fridays. The St. Louis Art Museums offers Friday-night features as part of its Ford Free Fridays program. This week features Joan Chen's Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl (1999). During the Cultural Revolution, optimistic teenager Xiu Xiu (LuLu) is one of the millions of Chinese youths "sent down" to the remote wilderness of rural China for work and education. After some initial training, she is sent off to the isolated Tibetan plains to learn horse-training from Lao Jin (Lopsang), a quiet man who was long ago castrated during tribal warfare. Lao falls in love with her, but she rebuffs him. When the government forgets to retrieve her after her term of service, the desperately homesick girl gives herself to every fast-talking traveling salesman who says he will help her get back home. Shanghai-born actress Chen (The Last Emperor, Twin Peaks) makes her directorial debut with Xiu Xiu and possesses a sure grasp of the medium: She gets deeply convincing performances from her leads and displays a good eye for the seemingly endless vistas of Tibet. Plays at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Aug. 9 at the St. Louis Art Museum. (AK)

Reel Late Midnight Movie Series. The Tivoli Theatre presents a summer series of classic and destined to be classic films. This week features Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). It's a shame that Kubrick made only one true comedy, because it's funny as hell and serves to make points about a time that was definitely not comedy fodder: the Cold War period immediately following the Cuban missile crisis, when the prevailing question was, "When will I be blown up?" Within this context, Kubrick and fellow screenwriters Terry Southern and Peter George let loose with biting commentary and enough guffaws to keep even the most apolitical giggling nonstop. Actors Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Slim Pickens and James Earl Jones (in his film debut) rise to the occasion, and the ensemble is quite obviously having a ball -- even if at times they seem to be laughing to keep from crying. Plays at midnight Aug. 9, noon and midnight Aug. 10 and noon Aug. 11. NR

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