From the Trenches! 

More Good Stuff From Your PIFF Slaves

In its second week, PIFF is still holding it down! Here are some choice picks from Mercury PIFF slaves. We are here to serve you!

Bon Voyage (dir. Jean-Paul Rappeneau, France)--Atomic secrets and slapstick figure equally into this whiplash-paced romantic farce set during the Nazi occupation of Paris. It's pleasant enough, with a winning lead performance by the aptly named Gregori Derangere, but lacking the vital spark of lunacy found in the great screwball comedies. Isabelle Adjani still refuses to age. ANDREW WRIGHT 2/21, 8 pm, B2; 2/23, 6 pm, GU

h Deep Breath (dir. Shahbazi, Iran)--Two college-aged juvenile delinquents commit impulsive crimes, like vandalism and carjacking, before a headstrong young woman comes between them. This French New Wave storyline is unexpectedly set in present-day Iran, making for a film universal in theme but fascinatingly specific in location. ANDY SPLETZER 2/23, 8:30 pm, B1; 2/25, 8:30 pm, B1; 2/28, 2 pm, B1

h I'm Not Scared (dir. Salvatores, Italy)--In the golden sunlight of rural Italy, a boy finds another boy chained up in a hole. The kidnapping victim isn't scared because he believes he's already dead. The boy who finds him has his own problems. The beautiful cinematography contrasts nicely with this dark and creepy story. AS 2/20, 6:30 pm, GU; 2/22, 2 pm, GU

h Last Life in the Universe (dir. Ratanaruang, Thailand) Kenji is a lonely Japanese librarian obsessed with suicide and living in Thailand. During one of his many suicide attempts, Kenji witnesses the death of a young hooker who frequented the library, and starts up a relationship with her sister. While this plot has the makings of another "heartwarming tale of redemption," Last Life has dark, interesting underpinnings and enough murderous secrets (i.e. Yakuza) to pull you through the slower sections. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY 2/21, 9 pm and 2/22, 1 pm B1

Letters in the Wind (dir. Edmond Budina, Italy)--Repeated dream sequences. Significant pauses. Laughing Clowns. Yep, it's one of those foreign films. Overwrought from the first frame, director/star Budina's debut certainly tackles a worthy subject--the rise of corruption and kidnappings in former Communist states--but goes completely nuclear on the symbolism. Fellini would blush. AW 2/21, 8:30 pm, GU; 2/23, 8:15 pm, B2; 2/26, 6 pm, B2

h Los Angeles Plays Itself (dir. Andersen, USA) Don't let the expansive running time dissuade you from seeing one of the most entertaining and informative documentaries of the festival. The subject is Los Angeles and how it's been portrayed on film. Beyond that, it's about history, memory, and popular culture, with a few Arnold Schwarzenegger clips thrown in for good measure. AS 2/22, 3:30, WH; 2/23, 7 pm, WH

h Noi Albinoi (dir. Kari, Iceland)

A hairless, seemingly clueless rebel slouches his way through the fjords, as major chaos waits in the wings. While clearly indebted to deadpan masters Jarmusch and Lynch, this strong debut manages to drift into a darkly funny groove. Just about perfect, within its narrow sensibilities. AW 2/22, 7:30 pm, GU2/24, 6:15, GU

h Since Otar Left (dir. Bertucelli, France)--After a sudden family tragedy, the clan's black sheep and her daughter conspire to keep the truth from their outwardly foggy matriarch (90-year-old Esther Gorintin, a demon in a muumuu). It sounds like the premise for a gooey ya-ya-sister-ish nightmare, but the director and cast sidestep easy sentiment, with moving results. AW 2/19, 7 pm, WH; 2/21, 3:15, GU

KEY:

WH= Whitsell Auditorium

GU = Guild Theater

B1, B2 = Broadway Cinemas

See Movie Times pg 41, and Film Shorts pg 37, for times, addresses, and more synopses.

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