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World Cinema

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    "Kissed By Winter" "Refugee All Stars" "Tsotsi" and "C.R.A.Z.Y." Honored as AFI Fest Concludes

    The AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival capped off its 2005 edition with an awards ceremony atop the Hollywood ArcLight parking structure at the event's festival village, awarding Norway's "Kissed by Winter" its grand jury prize in the international feature competition, while the audience aw...

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    Annual Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival to Spotlight 50 International Docs

    One of America's longest running documentary fests, the Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival has announced the slate of its 29th edition including the New York premiere of first-time director Petr Lom's "Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgystan." The fest, which screens at New York's American Museum of Natu...

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    The Palestinian Invasion: Will "Paradise Now" Be the Biggest Arabic-Language Film Ever?

    Two years ago, Hany Abu-Assad's "Rana's Wedding" -- a political comedy about a Palestinian woman's mishaps getting married in Ramallah -- debuted in U.S. theaters with favorable reviews and the hopes of capturing the art-house market and offering American audiences a uniquely Palestinian perspective...

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    Growing Pains: Lucile Hadzihalilovic's "Innocence"

    In Lucile Hadzihalilovic's "Innocence" nostalgia and dread become one--and it's a perfectly welcome symbiosis. A remarkable sustained allegory, "Innocence" luxuriates in the kind of symbolic imagery one would associate mostly with the fantastic worlds of children's fiction, but with the wherewithal to acknowledge the inherent rot and sinister underpinnings propping them up. To applaud Hadzihalilovic for discovering or revealing the sexual discourse roiling below the surface of accepted tropes and narratives of preadolescent fantasy is to deny the subtle evocation of burgeoning sexuality in "Peter Pan," "Alice in Wonderland," and any number of...

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    Shoot to Kill: Im Sang-soo Gets Down and Dirty With Politics in "The President's Last Bang"

    Aside from Lars von Trier's blowsy America-trashing "Manderlay," "The President's Last Bang," directed by controversy-magnet Im Sang-soo, was the most controversial entry in the 43rd New York Film Festival. Or at least it would have been, if American audiences had even the most passing knowledge of recent Korean politics. "Last Bang" tracks the final 12 hours in the life of Park Chung-hee, the former tyrannical president of South Korea who rose to power in 1961 following a military coup--and was murdered by the Kim Jaekyu, director of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA), on October 26, 1979. This monumental incident is played for gr...

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    DISPATCH FROM REYKJAVIK: Kiarostami Honored for a Lifetime of Achievement

    Celebrated Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami (director of "Taste of Cherry" and writer of "Crimson Gold") received the recognition of a nation Monday in Iceland. The President of the North Atlantic island nation, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson presented the director with a lifetime achievement award as part...

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    Dispatch From Brazil: Short Films In Abundance at Sao Paulo's Festival Internacional de Curtas-Metra

    "A long life for Brazilian cinema!" was the ironic cheer of the night at the opening of the 16th Festival Internacional de Curtas-Metragens de Sao Paulo, the largest short film festival in Latin America. Despite being an invitation-only event, the theater was so full on opening night that guests filled the aisles and huddled into corners to watch the evening's selection of films. The scene repeated itself throughout the course of the festival: theaters filled to capacity with their fair share of organizational and technical snags, which were forgiven by the diversity and sheer volume of films on offer to the public. The ten-day festival, whic...

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    At The New York Film Fest (not Toronto), World Cinema Gets its Due and Looks For Distribution

    Finally, world cinema gets the chance to shine. As the 43rd New York Film Festival kicks off tonight at Lincoln Center, about two dozens films from around the globe will get the attention they deserve -- unencumbered by studio junketeering and high-priced acquisitions news.

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    Critics Notebook: Exploring Heaven & Hell At the Toronto Festival

    Much has been inked about Ang Lee’s breathtaking "Brokeback Mountain" and Bennett Miller’s insightful "Capote" (the latter movie’s strength emerging from its fine performances rather than great directorial skill). Like many highly anticipated films, both front-ended Toronto, but they did more. Their protagonists set the tone for a recurring theme that ran throughout many of the fest’s most provocative offerings. They reside in some hell- or heaven-like place, sometimes both at the same time. Their position is more often than not of their own making. In "Brokeback Mountain," Heath Ledger’s macho, emotionally chall...

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    Fest Dispatch: Young Americans in Toronto; from Canada to India, New York to Los Angeles

    Those living in the United States often forget that “America” encompasses a much wider swath of territory than the 50 states. There’s Canada, of course. And even in certain parts of India the residents call themselves “American.” For powerful evidence, see Ashim Ahluwalla’s “John & Jane,” one of the most fascinating discoveries at this year’s festival. An observational documentary about 1-800-call workers in Bombay, “John and Jane” exposes the insidious reach of the so-called American Dream, as experienced by six phone agents who peddle odd products and services to callers ...

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