September 12 Run Lola Run (Germany) 81 mins.aka Lola Rennt (English subtitles)Directed by Tom TykwerWith Moritz Bleibtreu, Franka Potente, et al.Hugelypopular as an immensely entertaining escape into Berlin, this movie is stillplaying on the mainland after months of sell-out crowds. The plot is assimple as it gets: Lola (Potente) runs (without Nikes) to save herboyfriend's life. But hot new director Tykwer plays fast and free with thelinear drive, opening us up to the way the smallest incidents can alter ourdestinies. In other words, all is never quite as straight-ahead as it seems.Call it fate, fortune, luck, or simply the director's editorial choices, theplot of this film is, in every way, the real subject of our interest. True,everybody loves the punk attitude of Lola: she easily embodies the newEurope, wild and passionate, youthful and driven to get what she wants. Butthis is no study in Euro-symbolism, no way. Run Loa Runs is a clever andengaging movie that celebrates all possibilities. Just do it.
October 17 Xiu Xiu (USA 1998) 99 mins.(English subtitles.)10th St. John's International Women's Film and Video FestivalDirected by Joan ChenWith Lu Lu, Lopsang, Jie Gao, Wenqiang, and othernames with X, Y, and Z.In honour of the 10th St. John's InternationalWomen's Film and Video Festival we bring you this moving and subversiveChinese film. While Hollywood box offices churn out an infinite number oftickets for bigger, longer, and uncut teen porn, here's a movie about afifteen-year old girl with enough hardship in her life to flatten your wok.Chen's film is set in 1975, during the heat of the Cultural Revolution. As a'sent-down' girl, the result of a widely staged policy, Xiu Xiu findsherself forcibly removed from her province to a remote rural area near Tibetwhere she is supposed to be instilled with the values of the proletariat. Aspart of the edict, she must live in a wind-beaten tent with a horse herderwho, in his own silent way, cares for her, a desperate and lonely teenager.To get out of her apparently hideous situation, Xiu Xiu is encouraged toresort to the oldest profession. This is not a love story. Shot in theforbidden zone of China, without government approval, Xiu Xiu sounds anunforgettable cry of rage against a cruel system, its omnipotent leader(Mao), and, by implication, its present-day strictures. To be sure, Chenwon't eat dim sum in that country again. But a half-hour after seeing thisfilm you won't forget it.
October 31 Hideous Kinky (UK/France 1998) 98 mins.Directed by Gillies MacKinnonWith Kate Winslet, Saïd Taghmaoui, Bella Riza, Carrie Mullan,Pierre Clémenti, Abigail Cruttenden, et al.Good title, designed to reel inanyone who's ever been naughty or nice. Is there life after Titanic?Full-figure gal Winslet plays the mother of two sweet little girls whom sheschleps to Morocco in the '70s, when freedom was just another word forreefer madness. In search of spiritual transcendence, she meets instead witheconomic pressures. Even in the seventies you had to eat some protein everynow and then. The large appeal of this movie lies in its unflinchingexamination of our lifestyle choices. Neither sentimental nor cynical,Hideously Kinky prefers to look at life with some bemused distance. In someways the movie emerges as excellent sociology about hippies, that muchmaligned, misunderstood social phenomenon that once suddenly put us all inbeads and headbands. Winslet is perfect as the addled Julia, a poster actorfor the Woodstock generation. Now that the fashion has returned with avengeance, it's probably about time that we had some intelligent examinationof where it all came from. You might be inspired to trick or treat incaftans after this costume-inspired matinee. 2b1af7f3a8