Once again, the WorldFest/Houston International Film Festival is offering more of the same, only less. Continuing its evolution into the "lean, mean festival machine" promised two years ago by director J. Hunter Todd, the 1996 edition of the annual extravaganza will showcase approximately 44 features. That's more than 100 fewer than WorldFest '92 -- and maybe that's all for the best. This way, Todd insists, he can continue to be more selective about his lineup. And festivalgoers will not be frustrated by a schedule that offers too many choices in too short a time frame.
For the second year, WorldFest will unspool at the Meyerland Cinema (excepting, that is, some shorts and the 16 millimeter feature Seeking the Cafe Bob to be screened at the University of St. Thomas), a centrally located venue that -- in marked contrast to the Greenway 3 Theatre, the festival's former home -- is within walking distance of several restaurants, coffee shops and fast-food outlets. The action begins Friday with the Houston premiere of Jane Eyre, and continues through April 21 with the familiar WorldFest mix of foreign-language imports, American independents, potential sleepers -- and, of course, films you won't see again until you spot them at your friendly neighborhood video store.
If this is your first WorldFest, keep in mind a truism that veteran attendees have long taken to heart: sometimes the best movies are the least hyped. More than a decade ago, back when the event was known simply as the Houston International Film Festival, Joel and Ethan Coen's brilliant Blood Simple played to an embarrassingly puny audience, simply because no one had heard of it yet. More recently, most festivalgoers ignored a quirky little 1992 comedy-drama called Pushing Hands -- the debut feature of Ang Lee, the filmmaker who went on to make The Wedding Banquet and Sense and Sensibility. Two years ago, the crowd wasn't much bigger for The Last Seduction, the deliciously nasty film noir that became both a cult favorite and a modest box-office success.
One change Todd has promised to institute this year concerns the short films. As in past years, one day -- Saturday, April 20, this time around -- will be turned over in the morning to showing the sort of movies that few people other than serious film buffs ever see. A couple of WorldFests back, shorts fans could have caught Bedhead, a comedic quickie by Robert Rodriguez of Desperado fame. This year, to give the shorts more exposure, Todd intends to show some with a number of the features. The short planned for opening night is 100 Years of Cinema, a black-and-white film in which a small boy, a la Cinema Paradiso, watches films, and the duties of a projectionist, in a rural South American theater. Though only eight minutes long, 100 Years of Cinema reviews in that time the history and power of Latin legends and Latin movies.
So take a long, hard look at the schedule before deciding exactly what you want to see. If you're venturesome -- and lucky -- enough, you just might uncover something special long before any of your friends.
(The films below are arranged by day and time of performance. Movies available for screening by Houston Press critics Joe Leydon and Edith Sorenson have been reviewed, and the critics' names follow their reviews. Films that were not available for screening are described from press materials and are followed by "Not Reviewed" in parentheses.)
Friday, April 12
JANE EYRE (U.S.A., 8 p.m.) In his quest to put some of the best of English literature on the screen, director Franco Zeffirelli (known for Shakespearean adaptations such as Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet) has moved forward a few centuries to light on Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. Since Brontë's name is occasionally tossed in with that of Jane Austen by the literarily unaware, some moviegoers might think they're in for another arch romp in the vein of Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility. Hardly. Charlotte Brontë was a dark writer, and Jane Eyre is a dark book, one in which, among other things, little children die because people are mean to them. There's no way Zeffirelli can make Jane Eyre a bright romance. It can, though, be made into a good movie, and it was once before, in 1944, as done by writers John Houseman and Aldous Huxley, director Robert Stevenson and actors Orson Welles, Joan Fontaine, Agnes Moorehead, Margaret O'Brien and (briefly) Elizabeth Taylor. It'll be hard for Zeffirelli to match that lineup, but he does have William Hurt as Mr. Rochester along with Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane, not to mention Joan Plowright, Elle MacPherson and Anna Paquin, the youthful Oscar winner from The Piano. (Not Reviewed)
Saturday, April 13
DAVY JONES' LOCKER (U.S.A., 3 p.m.) Bil Baird's marionettes, who launched their career on the Ziegfeld stage and went on to such triumphs as "The Lonely Goat Herd" number in The Sound of Music, star in this wholesome and slightly addled pirate musical. Kids who enjoy the wholesome Wishbone program or stories from slightly addled grandparents will enjoy this undersea adventure. The moral is: money can't make you happy, but books can. (Edith Sorenson)
HOMECOMING (U.S.A., 3 p.m.) One day before this made-for-cable drama debuts on Showtime, WorldFest will show it on the big screen. Anne Bancroft and Bonnie Bedelia star in an adaptation of the classic children's novel by Cynthia Voight, about four young siblings who set out on a cross-country trip to find their errant mother and end up at their grandmother's farm, only to discover that she's not very interested in them either. Their task is to convince her that she needs them as much as they need her. (Not Reviewed)
JANE EYRE (U.S.A., 5 p.m.) See listing for Friday, April 12, 8 p.m.
MINA TENNANBAUM (France, 5 p.m.) More than a year after it opened, then quickly closed, in New York, this tragically underappreciated French import is getting a richly deserved second chance on the festival circuit. The extraordinary Romane Bohringer (The Accompanist, Savage Nights) gives a profoundly affecting performance in the lead role as an artist whose discriminating taste and obvious talent are no help to her in her disastrous affairs of the heart. Over a period of years, Mina earns the worshipful respect -- and, sometimes, the resentful envy -- of her childhood friend and confidant, Ethel (vibrant newcomer Elsa Zylberstein), a chronic extrovert who is as exuberant as Mina is introverted. The scenes that focus on the subtly nuanced give and take between Mina and Ethel are the very best parts of Mina Tennanbaum, an extremely promising first feature by writer/director Martine Dugowson. (Joe Leydon)
POMPATUS OF LOVE (U.S.A., 7 p.m.) Dave Barry readers and Steve Miller fans will be intrigued by the title -- moved by the same curiosity that drove the filmmakers to undertake a search for the real meaning of the enigmatic phrase. The title suggests that this is a slightly self-indulgent guy film -- but the slightly self-indulgent guys here are talented boys. Jon Cryer, playwright Adam Oliensis and MTV auteur Richard Schenkman wrote the script. The story, no surprise, is about young guys who talk, at boozy length, about looking for love and the true meaning of pompatus. This could be better than many similar romantic comedies because the writers are a talented trio, and because the cast is terrific. Cryer, Roscoe Lee Brown, Michael McKean, Adrian Pasdar, Mia Sara, Fisher Stevens Jennifer Tilly and Kristin Scott Thomas all have parts in the film. (Not Reviewed)
THE STRANGER MUST FLY (Poland, 7 p.m.) A comedy-drama set after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Stranger follows a Polish stage director who travels to Berlin in order to put on a new play. How he and his cast raise their money is the comedy; troubling changes the director sees taking place in Germany provide the drama. (Not Reviewed)
ACCION MUTANTE (MUTANT ACTION) (Spain, 9:30 p.m.) One of the sub-themes of this year's WorldFest is a salute to 100 years of Spanish cinema, and while it might have been nice to get, say, a new film directed by Pedro Almodovar, at least we get this, a film produced by Agustin Almodovar. Related? Perhaps; the press material doesn't give a clue. And the synopsis makes it clear this isn't likely to be mistaken for one of director Almodovar's works. Instead, it's sci-fi, Iberian style. The year is 2012, the world is dominated by a military-industrial complex, and a bunch of mutants decide to launch an attack against their leaders. The action is described as cartoon-style (though it's also described as way too intense for kids). (Not Reviewed)
CARRIED AWAY (U.S.A., 9:30 p.m.) See "Taking Chances," page 36.
Sunday, April 14
TWO FLAGS (South Korea, 3 p.m.) See "Signals," page 37.
THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS (United Kingdom, 3 p.m.) Kenneth Grahame's classic children's tale of J. Thaddeus Toad, assorted woodland friends and a mania for fast automobiles gets another chance on the big screen. We hope this one is better than Disney's abbreviated version; if it is, it might remind parents as well as kids that the original is well worth a read. (Not Reviewed)
ACCION MUTANTE (Spain, 5 p.m.) See listing for Saturday, April 13, 9:30 p.m.
CARRIED AWAY (U.S.A., 5 p.m.) See "Taking Chances," page 36.
JEROME'S SECRET (Canada, 7 p.m.) Those who have lost their appetite for the well-heeled historical dramas of Merchant-Ivory will find this lyric Acadian tale delicious. Set in Canada during the middle of the 19th century, Jerome's Secret is a fishing village love story -- several love stories, in fact. We have an almost-tragic romance between a husband and wife; the wife's love for her home and country; the love between the wife and her girlhood friend; and, finally, the husband and wife's love for their child. These love stories are told with a clean-limbed grace, and for that touch of the gothic, a key character is a mute amputee who washes up on the beach. (Edith Sorenson)
WHERE TRUTH LIES (U.S.A., 7 p.m.) John Savage heads a cast of direct-to-video regulars in a muddled psychological thriller that doubtless will open soon at a Blockbuster near you. Savage plays Dr. Ian Lazarre, a deeply troubled psychiatrist who tumbles into a deep blue funk of drinking and despair after his first wife dies in an auto mishap. His second wife and his best friend have him committed to a rehab clinic operated by the mysterious Dr. Vernon Renquist (Malcolm McDowell) and the equally ambiguous Nurse Chambers (Kim Cattrall). And that, of course, is when Lazarre's troubles really begin. Where Truth Lies is long on spooky atmosphere, but short on narrative logic. (Joe Leydon)
POWER 98 (U.S.A., 9:30 p.m.) Eric Roberts heads the cast of this familiar-sounding, video-ready melodrama as a radio talk-show host whose ratings skyrocket when he begins to take calls from a serial killer. A television tested crew -- Jason Gedrick of Murder One, Jennie Garth of Beverly Hills 90210 and Larry Drake of L.A. Law -- co-star. (Not Reviewed)
THE WIFE (U.S.A., 9:30 p.m.) When he isn't playing looming villains in movies such as Manhunter and The Last Action Hero, Tom Noonan writes and directs off-Broadway plays that hardly anyone outside of New York has ever heard of. In recent years, Noonan has begun to turn his stage productions into films, with mixed results. The Wife, taken from the Noonan play Wifey, often seems derivative. In this case, the inspiration appears to be Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? A control-freakish New Age therapist (Noonan) and his neurotic, pill-popping wife (Julie Hagerty) are trying to get through a quiet evening at home when they're forced to endure two uninvited guests: Cosmo (Wallace Shawn), a whiny and pretentious intellectual, and Arlie (Karen Young), Cosmo's ditzy -- and bosomy -- wife. During the next couple of hours, revelations are made, self-delusions are shattered and, yes, bosoms are bared. It's all quite well-acted and reasonably involving, but also very, very familiar. (Joe Leydon)
Monday, April 15
THE FEMININE TOUCH (U.S.A., 5 p.m.) In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II (and III), Paige Turco played straight woman to four pizza-chomping dudes in green rubber suits. In The Feminine Touch, she co-stars opposite Dirk Benedict, George Segal and Elliott Gould. All things considered, she was better off with the pizza chompers. Turco's character is an investigative reporter whose secret agent boyfriend (Benedict) is somehow connected with a plot to assassinate a U.S. presidential candidate (Segal). Periodically, she evidences some sign of martial arts prowess. At no point, however, does she display anything resembling common sense or acting ability. As for the movie itself, it's an impossibly muddled and tediously dull thriller that will amuse only the most undemanding video renters. (Joe Leydon)
THE WIFE (U.S.A., 5 p.m.) See listing for Sunday, April 14, 9:30 p.m.
COTHOPENNE AGAMA (THE CREATION OF ADAM) (Russia, 7 p.m.) As one might guess, this is a story of evolution -- sexual evolution. A low-key, suburban drama, Adam follows a mild-mannered man, Andrei. His second marriage is dull, his first wife keeps calling and then he meets and befriends a young homosexual. His emotional relationships with these people are explored. Critics have suggested that this film hopes to follow in the path of Wings of Desire, and while Adam is not so moving, this film's serious intentions and general quality are enough to overcome some subtitling errors. (Edith Sorenson)
THE WAR BETWEEN US (Canada, 7 p.m.) The United States was not the only North American nation to go off the deep end in regard to its citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Canada had its own internment program, and The War Between Us is a reminder of that. The movie follows the story of the Kawashima family, who were among the 20,000 Japanese-Canadians who were rounded up in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor and shipped off to remote inland towns. The Kawashimas arrive in New Denver to a hostile reception from the locals. Slowly, some friendships develop, but when a Japanese boy and Canadian girl fall for each other, problems develop. (Not Reviewed)
ALL MEN ARE MORTAL (Germany, 9:30 p.m.) Stephen Rea is one of the stars of this German adaptation of the Simone de Beauvoir novel. Irene Jacob plays a successful actress whose possibly-fatal flaw is an obsessive desire for immortal fame. Then she meets a man (Rea) to whom she is instantly and deeply attracted. Her new lover's memory spans centuries, and he promises to make her eternal through his thoughts of her -- assuming, that is, she wants to share space with all the other lovers he can remember, and who haunt him. The film examines the notion of romantic love, and whether it depends, as some poets have claimed, on the fact that life is brief. (Not Reviewed)
HITTING THE GROUND (U.S.A., 9:30 p.m.) A drama about a photographer for a college newspaper who inadvertently manages to take pictures of a suicidal student as she plunges to her death from a high-rise dormitory. At first, the photographer wants to keep the pictures from public view. But his amoral editor has other ideas. The film is touted as unspooling against "a backdrop of racial tension, punk rock politics and freshly discovered passion." (Not Reviewed)
Tuesday April 16
AMERICAN STRAYS (U.S.A., 5 p.m.) Writer/ director Michael Covert's silly and self-indulgent dark comedy deals with outlaws, outcasts and oddballs who cross paths in an isolated desert community. Maybe the original script read a lot funnier than it actually plays. Maybe a lot of people owe Covert favors. Whatever the reason, Covert managed to attract quite a few recognizable names for his ensemble cast. Among the notables: Luke Perry as a hard-luck masochist who seeks outside help when he decides to commit suicide; Eric Roberts as a newly unemployed family man on the verge of a nervous breakdown; Carol Kane as the owner-operator of a roadside cafe where most of the plot lines converge; and John Savage as a vacuum-cleaner salesman who doubles as -- no kidding! -- a serial killer. Jennifer Tilly also figures into the action. Covert obviously has seen too many David Lynch movies for his own good, but he does manage a few perversely funny moments. (Joe Leydon)
MAKAROV (Russia, 5 p.m.) See "Slavic Surprise," page 34.
CHLOE (France, 7 p.m.) A film about a 16-year-old girl who, besotted with ennui, leaves her dull and comfortable suburban home for some fun in the city. She has a lesbian flirtation and then meets the worst possible type of man: a pimp. Instead of preparing for college and life as a rabidly political student, Chloe spends her teenage years in training for the world's oldest profession. (Not Reviewed)
RED CHERRY (China, 7 p.m.) This has the stunning, knock-your-socks-off gorgeous cinematography that Chinese films have become known for. The story begins with a cute episode: two orphans, Chuchu (Guo Ke-Yu) and Luo Xiaoman (Xu Xiaoli), are brought to the Ivanovo International Children's School in the countryside near Moscow. Their bucolic fantasy life includes summer camp, where we see the happy children welcome the warm weather. Then, because the year is 1941, the perfectly shot blue skies fill with German planes, bombs drop and the fantasy becomes, straightaway, an almost unbearable struggle to survive under Nazi occupation. Chuchu and Luo Xiaoman are separated, and we see both their stories: she has the good luck to be enslaved by a German general; he makes his way to Moscow and gets a job delivering death notices. (Russia lost something like a third of its population in the war, so his letter bag is heavy.) Their stories are the vehicle for a clear-eyed look at both the atrocities of war and the small human kindnesses some individuals manage under even the worst conditions. (Edith Sorenson)
BIRD OF PREY (Bulgaria/U.S.A., 9:30 p.m.) Billed as "the first privately financed Bulgarian-American production," this unremarkable drama of revenge benefits greatly from the novelty of its relatively unfamiliar setting. In Sofia, Bulgaria, newly released ex-convict Nick Milev plots revenge against an arms dealer who murdered his father more than two decades earlier. Fortunately, Nick has an ally in Johnny McKenna, an American journalist who earned a two-year sentence for his investigative reporting. Unfortunately, Nick jeopardizes their well-laid plans by falling in love with his sworn enemy's beautiful daughter (Jennifer Tilly, sounding like the ditz she portrayed in Bullets Over Broadway). Richard Chamberlain is effectively cast against type as the wealthy gunrunner, but he doesn't have nearly enough to do. The ineffably sluttish Lesley Ann Warren has three production numbers as Chamberlain's mistress, a nightclub singer who says she met the gunrunner "while I was in a rotten tour of The Sound of Music -- playing one of the goddamn nuns!" (Joe Leydon)
CADILLAC RANCH (U.S.A., 9:30 p.m.) Though occasionally awkward, this is a satisfying movie. Three sisters -- the black sheep (Suzi Amis), the bossy middle child (Caroleen Feeney) and the naive baby (Renee Humphrey) -- have fabulous road-trip adventures as they search for loot (daddy was not on the up and up) and daddy (who's been missing for 20 years). Amis is brilliant -- and she's in good company. Feeney and Humphrey have engaging comic moments as typical Texas females, and offer touching portrayals of troubled women. Bonus: Christopher Lloyd is the bad guy. Lloyd and Amis both have the bad habit of being in terrific movies that never make wide release -- make a point to see this gem. (Edith Sorenson)
Wednesday, April 17
BOCA A BOCA (MOUTH TO MOUTH) (Spain, 5 p.m.) The second of WorldFest's quartet of Spanish films, this might be seen as Girl 6 from the other side of the gender tracks. Like Spike Lee's latest, this follows the travails of an aspiring actor who ends up a phone sex operator. Only this actor/operator is male. And this is supposed to be more funny than tragic. (Not Reviewed)
PASSOVER FEVER (Israel, 5 p.m.) A wry, and often hilarious, look at one Israeli family's holiday get-together, Passover Fever has been compared to the better films of Woody Allen in its mixing of comedy and wisdom. (Not Reviewed)
BLACK DAY, BLUE NIGHT (U.S.A., 7 p.m.) Mia Sara, Michelle Forbes and dependable J.T. Walsh co-star in a neo-noir thriller about two women drawn to a handsome drifter (Gil Bellows), who may be a killer. Writer/director J.S. Cardone is no stranger to WorldFest: he earned a gold award for best independent feature film at 1991's festival with another thriller, A Climate for Killing. (Not Reviewed)
HARVEST HOME (Philippines, 7 p.m.) The great thing about film festivals is that people get a chance to see epic-length Philippine movies about family violence, which are a refreshing alternative to epic-length American made-for-TV movies about family violence. In this rich soap opera, the key players are women, and the setting is the old homestead. One sister went to Manila, was educated and married a rich man; the other sister got the farm, and the man the city-sister left behind. The sisters try to make peace with the past, and their melodramatic confrontations and confessions are lurid and emotionally satisfying. Harvest Home was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar in this year's Academy Awards. (Edith Sorenson)
ANIMIA DE CARINO (TENDERNESS ANEMIA) (Spain, 9:30 p.m.) Writer/director Carmelo Espinosa has already earned reams of good press and quite a few awards for this film. A young boy, Turkin, makes an effort to come of age and to find love and happiness, despite a rather odd upbringing. His father has odd ideas about sex education. He tells his son, "We, by heredity, have lost the sense of touch. It's because of this that it's better for you to get involved with women when you are an adult, when you begin to get wrinkles. Perhaps I seem old-fashioned, but that's how I feel about it." Raised by this rule, Turkin turns to a company, Anemia of Affection, that delivers friendship for cash. (Not Reviewed)
KILLER: A JOURNAL OF MURDER (U.S.A., 9:30 p.m.) It's tempting to re-title this one Dead Man Ranting, but that really wouldn't be fair. James Woods is surprisingly subdued, and terrifyingly effective, as Carl Panzram, a career criminal (and self-proclaimed serial killer) who's condemned to death for murdering a sadistic prison guard. This fact-based drama, set in 1929, focuses on the relationship between Panzram and a more enlightened guard, Henry Lesser (Robert Sean Leonard), who spent decades seeking a publisher for Panzram's harrowing autobiography. But Leonard is unbelievably callow as the killer's compassionate confidant, and the movie as a whole is blandly prosaic. The main reason to see Killer is Woods' fearless performance as a man who declared war on the society that shaped him, and lost. (Joe Leydon)
Thursday, April 18
ANIMIA DE CARINO (TENDERNESS ANEMIA) (Spain, 5 p.m.) See listing for Wednesday, April 17, 9:30 p.m.
THE MICHELLE APARTMENTS (Canada, 5 p.m.) Henry Czerny plays a government tax auditor who's drawn into financial and sexual intrigue while investigating improprieties at a chemical company headquarters. The company, Turnbull Chemicals, has an interesting slogan: "We make the food you eat look better." (Not Reviewed)
NUEBA YOL (Dominican Republic, 7 p.m.) A recently widowed man decides to follow his somewhat shady buddy from Santo Domingo to Nueba Yol (Dominican slang for New York). The newly arrived immigrant (Luisito Marti) runs into a gaudy Dominican drug dealer and learns the hard way that the streets of New York aren't necessarily paved with gold. (Not Reviewed)
MUSULMANIN (Russia, 7 p.m.) A solemn film about a young soldier's religious conversion -- while on a tour of duty in Afghanistan, he becomes a Muslim -- and how this affects his life when he returns to his Russian home. The disparity between spirituality and ugly reality is explored. (Not Reviewed)
LOADED (U.S.A., 9:30 p.m.) Writer/director Anna Campion (her sister, Jane, director of The Piano, is the more acclaimed Campion) has produced a queer look at Generation X. Seven British actors, including Thandie Newton and Catherine McCormack, star as student filmmakers. Their plan is to make a horror film, but when they go on location to a creepy county mansion, there are surprises. (Not Reviewed)
UNA CASA EN LAS AFUERAS (A HOUSE ON THE OUTSKIRTS) (Spain, 9:30 p.m.) In an attempt to live the Spanish dream, a yuppie buys a fabulous country house for his girlfriend. However, the yuppie and the house both have mysterious secrets in their pasts, and the girlfriend finds herself in danger. (Not Reviewed)
Friday, April 19
SEARCH FOR ONE-EYE JIMMY (U.S.A., 5 p.m.) Seinfeld writer Sam Henry Kass has written and directed a few off-Broadway plays, and had made a name for himself as a hip new voice of the working class. One-Eye Jimmy is a comedy he wrote and directed about life in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and while there is no shortage of movies about the guys from such environs, this film does have an intriguing cast, including Steve Buscemi, Jennifer Beals, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, Anne Meara, Tony Sirico and several Turturros -- Aida, John and Nick. (Not Reviewed)
LOADED (U.S.A., 5 p.m.) See listing for Thursday, April 18, 9:30 p.m.
BOCA A BOCA (Spain, 7 p.m.) See listing for Wednesday, April 17, 5 p.m.
POMPATUS OF LOVE (U.S.A., 7 p.m.) See listing for Saturday, April 13, 7 p.m.
JOINT ADVENTURE (U.S.A., 9:30 p.m.) Just as Quentin Tarantino has inspired an entire genre of attitude-infused pulp melodramas, Richard Linklater has encouraged dozens of indie wannabes to produce genially plotless comedies about hazily aimless Generation Xers. Joint Adventure is one of those, a mildly amusing trifle that demonstrates just how far a movie can go with a $100,000 budget, three engaging young leads and only the faintest outline of a plot. The setting is Knoxville, Tennessee, and the buddy-buddy protagonists include Zack, who dreams of being a high-profile film actor; Pete, a painter who yearns to sell one of his works, if only to pay the rent; and Claudia, an overeducated, underemployed philosophy grad who can never stick with any job for more than a few days. When Pete's Uncle Earl must undergo chemotherapy, Aunt Joyce asks her nephew if he could find "some of that marijuana" to ease her husband's nausea. This leads to a not-so-frantic search for grass that serves mainly as an excuse for the three leads to actually get up and walk for a while. (Joe Leydon)
SUITE 16 (United Kingdom, 9:30 p.m.) An aging playboy stikes a deal with a young hustler: the hustler gets the trappings of wealth, the playboy relives his youth vicariously through the hustler. But the erotic games soon turn dark, culminating in a murder attempt on a young woman. (Not Reviewed)
Saturday, April 20
WILD BILL, HOLLYWOOD MAVERICK (U.S.A., 5 p.m.) One of the low-key hits of last year's WorldFest was Frank and Ollie, a charming documentary about two Disney animators. This year we have a another filmmaker documentary, and while it's unlikely to be charming, its subject is just as fascinating: William A. Wellman, who directed the first movie to win an Academy Award for best picture (the silent World War I drama Wings) as well as such classics as Public Enemy, The Ox-Bow Incident and Nothing Sacred). Known as one of the great two-fisted film directors, Wellman's life off-screen was as tumultuous as anything he put on-screen, if not more so. (Not Reviewed)
THE JOURNEY OF AUGUST KING (U.S.A., 7 p.m.) See "Personal Journey," on page 34.
UNA CASA EN LAS AFUERAS (Spain, 7 p.m.) See listing for Thursday, April 18, 9:30 p.m.
MINA TENNANBAUM (France, 9:30 p.m.) See listing for Saturday, April 13, 5 p.m.
SEARCH FOR ONE-EYE JIMMY (U.S.A., 9:30 p.m.) See listing for Friday, April 19, 5 p.m.
SEEKING THE CAFE BOB (U.S.A., 9:30 p.m.) Young filmmakers, especially the males, often make movies about their own sexual anxiety and about what all their old college friends have to say about sex. This is one of those; it's set in Austin. Screening at the University of St. Thomas. (Edith Sorenson)
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Sunday, April 21
HARVEST HOME (U.S.A., 1 p.m.) See listing for Wednesday, April 17, 7 p.m.
THE JOURNEY OF AUGUST KING (U.S.A., 1 p.m.) See "Personal Journey," page 34.
AMERICAN STRAYS (U.S.A., 3 p.m.) See listing for Tuesday, April 16, 5 p.m.
CHLOE (France, 3 p.m.) See listing for Tuesday, April 16, 7 p.m.
COMRADE PANJUNI (Armenia, 5 p.m.) In 1909, a communist official arrives in the mountains of Armenia and, for his own benefit, tries to convert the locals to his new political philosophy. In this satire, they're not interested, which leads to trouble. (Not Reviewed)
JOINT ADVENTURE (U.S.A., 5 p.m.) See listing for Friday, April 19, 9:30 p.m.
ALL MEN ARE MORTAL (Germany, 7 p.m.) See listing for Monday, April 15, 9:30 p.m.
TWO FLAGS (South Korea, 7 p.m.) See "Signals," page 37.
ONCE UPON A TIME WHEN WE WERE COLORED (U.S.A., 9:30 p.m.) The capstone to this year's WorldFest is actor-turned-director Tim Reid's adaptation of Clifton L. Taulbert's acclaimed book about growing up black in the segregated, post-World War II South. Reid has been all over television in recent months touting his movie, and bemoaning the fact that a simple drama about salt-of-the-earth black Americans living their lives doesn't get the attention (or the distribution deals) of a shoot-'em-up in the hood. He has a point, and if we're lucky, he may give us another Sounder or The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. (Not Reviewed)