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by Peter Knegt
October 20, 2010 2:45 AM
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Big Screen | Top 5: From Wiseman to Waters to Germany in LA, This Week's Theatrical Best Bets

An image from Frederick Wiseman's "Boxing Gym." [Image courtesy of Zipporah Films, Inc.]

Each week here at indieWIRE, five recommendations for theatrical viewing pleasure are being offered up, tackling everything from new releases, to film festivals, to curated series, and events around North America. This week, John Waters discusses "the most shocking film ever made," Frederick Wiseman's latest doc hits theaters, German cinema has its fourth annual showcase in Los Angeles, and more:

1. "Boxing Gym" (criticWIRE page)
Documentary filmmaking titan Frederick Wiseman follows up his intensely acclaimed ballet doc "La Danse" with a look at boxing (sort of the documentary inversion of what Darren Aronofsky did with "The Wrestler" and "Black Swan.") Centered around Lord's Gym, an Austin-based boxing facility run by former professional boxer Richard Lord, "Gym" has been drawing rave reviews since it debuted in Cannes earlier this year. "The opening sequence, a noisy montage of hands punching bags and feet squeaking across the floor, never really ends until the final shot," indieWIRE's Eric Kohn writes in his review. "Wiseman, credited not only as director but as producer, editor and sound guy, makes the gym’s rhythm of motion and chatter into his chief subject—a ballet of sweat." Check out the trailer:

2. Current German Cinema in Los Angeles (festival page)

Co-presented by the Goethe-Institute Los Angeles in collaboration with German Films, the American Cinematheque and Lufthansa, the 4th Annual Festival of German Films brings the best of the country's cinema to L.A. The festival kicks off October 20, at the Egyptian Theater with German Oscar submission "When We Leave" (Die Fremde), which won both best narrative feature and best actress at this year's Tribeca Film Festival. Other films in the program include "Autumn Gold," "The Silence," "Vincent Wants To Sea," "Animals United" (in 3-D!), and doc "Rock Hudson: Dark and Handsome Stranger." Check out the complete program here.

3. John Waters at the Bell Lightbox
The post-film festival programming is well under way at Toronto's new cinematic headquarters, and this weekend it will bring Mr. John Waters to the Bell Lightbox, where "The Pope of Trash" will meet "the most shocking film ever made." Waters will appear onstage to discuss Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom." Pasolini's last film (he was murdered just before it was released), was loosely based on the book "The 120 Days of Sodom" by the Marquis de Sade. It focuses on four fascist libertines in 1944 Italy who kidnap a total of eighteen teenage boys and girls and subject them to four months of extreme violence, sadism, sexual and mental torture. Even if that might sound like a bit much, watching Waters deconstruct it will most definitely be priceless. Info here.

4. "The Taqwacores" (criticWIRE page)
Screening in the Sundance Film Festival's inaugural "NEXT" section, which focuses on micro-budget indies, "The Taqwacores" is getting released in theaters this Friday via Strand Releasing. Based on the novel by Michael Muhamamd Knight, the film marks the feature directorial debut of Eyad Zahra. It follows Yusef, a straitlaced Pakistani American college student who moves into a house with a group of Muslim misfits. Zahra told indieWIRE that he sought out to make a film in which “Americans can truly see Muslims as Americans, and Muslims can truly see themselves as American." Check out an exclusive scene from the film here.

5. "Paranormal Activity 2"
As for the token studio-released film of the week (though this one does have an indie past): Remember "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2"? Of course not. Taking a tiny budgeted out-of-nowhere indie phenomenon and attempting to replicate it with a studio-produced sequel just a year later is no easy feat. That's why "Paranormal Activity 2" is curious from the simple perspective of whether these folks can actually pull it off. Early buzz suggests they just might...

Please feel free to utilize the comments section to make recommendations these five didn't get to, or to e-mail indieWIRE about upcoming events that definitely warrant attention.

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