Film series for the week of October 31, 2001

Oct 31, 2001 at 4:00 am
Cinema in the City. Webster University sponsors once-a-month Wednesday screenings in Beatnik Bob's Cafe. This month features James Whale's classic The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). Considered to be the best of the Frankenstein series, Whale's stunning sequel unlocks a wonderful humanity inside the monster and creates enough drama and subtle humor to transcend the tag horror movie. Plays at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 at Beatnik Bob's Cafe, City Museum, 15th and Lucas streets. NR

Revolution in the Revolution. Webster University presents a series showcasing Soviet cinema from 1959-1970. This week features Gleb Panfilov's Debut (1970), a portrait of Pasha, an aspiring young actress without apparent talent. Chronologically disjointed (Panfilov's assertion of creativity and resistance), Debut intercuts Pasha's film role as a noble Joan of Arc with her melodramatic personal life in which she attaches herself to another woman's husband. Reacting against the prescribed agitprop of the USSR's social realist cinema, Panfilov avoids grand gestures technically and thematically. In nicely composed scenes with one character often blocked from view, he keeps his lens in close and his attention on small details -- a dinner, a dance, a small apartment, babysitting for a friend. Of more interest for what it doesn't show (no idealized comrades fight capitalism), Debut proves that a communist woman's life can be as conflicted, boring and self-indulgent as a capitalist's. A work of artistic rebellion doesn't necessarily produce exciting cinema even as it reveals the particulars of one Soviet life. In Russian with English subtitles. Plays at 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at Webster University. (DC)