By Nick Schager
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Simon Abrams
By Amanda Lewis
By Scott Foundas
By B. Caplan
The Lunaticsà BallA psychiatrist with a suspicious past appears to work miracles with problem patients at a mental hospital in this drama from New Zealand filmmaker Michael Thorp. Cast: Russel Walder, Jane Irwin and Sarah Ashworth.
Oriundi This is one of the festival's most memorable offerings, if only for the presence of Anthony Quinn, who stars here as an Italian immigrant living in Brazil. He's nearing the end of his life -- the film opens with his 93rd birthday party -- and he's afraid that the family he has built so carefully hasn't been worth the trouble. His grandson, now the family patriarch, wants to sell the family business, a pasta factory, and has a frosty relationship with his son. Quinn's character would rather brood on the past than concentrate on the present, especially after a beautiful young woman shows up at his party, claiming to be a distant relative. She's the exact image of the old man's long-dead wife, and as he spends time around her, and as she begins acting like his wife, he worries that he's finally slipping into senility. Director Ricardo Bravo's film is a little heavy-handed, but still enjoyable, mostly because of Quinn, who remains formidable, and because of its intriguing portrait of the Italian immigrant community in Brazil. (D.T.)
Out for Love...Be Back ShortlyThis is a flawed but compelling effort, much like its maker, documentarian Dan Katzir, who's a flawed but compelling guy. Katzir has been out of the Israeli army for a few years, and enjoys hanging out in the cafes and plazas of his beloved Tel Aviv. But as the film opens, he confesses that he has gotten lonely and is ready to start looking for a girlfriend. He also confesses that he's obsessed with film, and that he's always wanted "to turn my life into a movie." So he packs a video camera as he goes calling on prospective girlfriends. Not surprisingly, he has a hard time finding someone willing to put up with both him and his obtrusive camera. Then he meets the lovely and lighthearted Iris. She gives the impression of being much too good for him and his stunt, but she gets sucked into forming a ménage $agrave; trois with Dan and his camera anyway. This sort of thing has been done before, and in the case of Sherman's March, it has been done with much greater style. But as a backdrop, the film has the Intifada's last years and, above all, the assassination of Rabin to lend it considerable interest, even power. Katzir works hard at connecting his own spiritual and emotional problems with the various difficulties that come with being an Israeli, but he never becomes overtly political. (D.T.)
Out of Depth Following in the steps of Ridley Scott and Adrian Lyne, Simon Marshall is yet another Brit advertising whiz who turns to feature filmmaking. Marshall wrote and directed this gritty thriller about an ambitious young man who hires a professional villain to seek revenge when his mother is attacked by street thugs. Unfortunately the villain wants a favor in return for his services. Cast: Sean Maguire (formerly of the BBC series East Enders), Rita Tushingham (A Taste of Honey, Dr. Zhivago), Danny Midwinter and Josephine Butler.
The Pavilion Adapted from a Robert Louis Stevenson story, this film focuses on estranged friends who meet to settle old scores in South Carolina a few years after the Civil War. Cast: Craig Sheffer, Patsy Kensit, Richard Chamberlain. Director: Grant Mitchell.
Pila Balde Also known as Fetch a Pail of Water, this family-oriented drama from the Philippines focuses on Gina (Ana Capri), an 18-year-old slum dweller who serves as a surrogate mother for her younger siblings. Determined to advance herself, she rejects the romantic advances of a small-time drug dealer and encourages attention from an apparent Mr. Right. But then she turns up pregnant and is forced to reconsider her assumptions. Cast: Capri, Marcus Madrigal and Harold Pineda. Director: Jeffrey Jeturian.
Saroja Somaratne Dissanayake wrote and directed this drama about children caught up in the centuries-old conflict between the Tamil and the Sinhalese on the Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka. Cast: Janaka Kumbukage, Pramudi Karunarathne.
Secret of the Andes David Keith, Nancy Allen and John Rhys-Davies co-star in director Alejandro Azzano's family adventure about an American archaeologist who's seeking a mysterious pre-Columbian relic near a tiny village in the Andes. His young daughter joins the search when she learns the relic may have magical powers.
Seven Girlfriends Tim Daly of TV's Wings plays a thirtysomething bachelor who visits a few former sweethearts to figure out why he can't maintain a successful romantic relationship. Cast: Daly, Olivia D'Abo, Jami Gertz, Elizabeth Pena and Mimi Rogers. Director: Paul Lazarus.
Smoke and Mirrors: A History of Denial Torrie Rosenzweig's documentary examines 50 years of denial by tobacco industry executives, and examines corporate efforts to downplay the health risks of smoking. Narrated by Sharon Gless.
Sonic ImpactNick Halton, a troubled FBI agent, finally captures career criminal Jeremy Barrett, only to face one more showdown with the crook aboard a disabled 747 aircraft. Cast: James Russo, Ice T and Mel Harris. Director: Rodney McDonald.
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