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International Film Festival 2000

Film Reviews

The Wizard of Oz Follow the yellow brick road? Well, why not: It's a special treat to see this beloved fantasy up on the big screen where it belongs. WorldFest/ Houston has obtained a newly restored print of the classic, so that Dorothy and her friends will look better than ever. Cast: Judy Garland, Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger and Jack Haley. Director: Victor Fleming.

Director Duane Clark will be present for the festival's closing-night feature, Family Tree.
Director Duane Clark will be present for the festival's closing-night feature, Family Tree.
Ossie Davis (center) and Ruby Dee (second from right) star in the made-for-cable drama Finding Buck McHenry.
Ossie Davis (center) and Ruby Dee (second from right) star in the made-for-cable drama Finding Buck McHenry.

Yanaàs Friends Here's the pitch: Russian émigrés endure romantic and financial upheavals after arriving in Israel just before the start of the 1991 Gulf War. Sounds like a scenario for heavy drama, right? Guess again. Writer-director Arik Kaplun plays the cultural and emotional clashes mostly for laughs in Yana's Friends, an engaging romantic comedy that was Israel's official entry in this year's Oscar race for Best Foreign Language Film. Yana -- winningly played by Evelyne Kaplun, the director's real-life wife -- is abandoned by her conniving husband shortly after their arrival from the former Soviet Union. Forced to fend for herself in Tel Aviv, she's slowly drawn to her handsome neighbor, Eli (Nir Levi), a would-be filmmaker. Yana's Friends isn't a black comedy, strictly speaking. But it somehow manages to find a surprising amount of humor in deadly serious and even potentially tragic situations. Typical of the movie's cheeky humor is a scene in which Yana and Eli make love while still wearing gas masks as a precaution against poison-gas missile attacks. No kidding. Cast: Kaplun, Levi, Moscu Alcalay and Dalia Friedland. (J.L.)

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