september/october 1998

September 17 - 20, 1998
Uncensored Cinema explores issues of censorship, freedom of expression, civil rights and civil liberties through timely dramatic and documentary works and is presented in conjunction with the Oregon Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union monthlong Uncensored Celebration, now celebrating its tenth year. Each of the works explores these issues in different, yet profound, ways as they explore the turbulent landscape of democracy.

September 23 - October 18, 1998
Our annual showcase celebrating the intersection between film and the literary arts premieres a diverse selection of new works from both dramatic and documentary points of view with a truly international flavor. From the master of literary adaptations, James Ivory and his newest film, A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries, to Jacques Audiard’s A Self-Made Hero, from a profile of a master of the theater, Bertolt Brecht, to a master of stage and screen, Ingmar Bergman, the series also presents an evening of animated works based on literary sources, reprise showings of Rumi: Poet of the Heart and Robert Frank’s newly restored Me and My Brother. Co-sponsored by The Oregonian and Powell’s Books.

September 24 - October 15, 1998
The Film Center is pleased to showcase five recent features and four short works which display Africa’s evolving cinema. Featruring such established directors as Idrissa Oudraogo and Drissa Toure from Burkina Faso, the heart of African filmmaking, and Raymond Rajaonarivelo from Madagascar, the series also showcases works from Zaire, Chad and the Congo. In one way or another, each work explores the confluence of the modern and the traditional, the rural and the metropolitan, the hopes and dreams of countries and a continent coming to terms with its past as it heads toward a new century. New African Cinema has been organized by the African Film Festival, Inc. in association with the Film Society of Lincoln Center. This series has been made possible, in part, by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation and UNDP.

October 4, 11 & 18, 1998
Complementing our New African Cinema series is a triptych of films that introduce the contributions of African Americans possessed of a vision and character that has helped define the black experience in the United States. Writer and filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles gives us a no-holds-barred look at the way the media has portrayed black culture. The eloquent scholar John Henrik Clarke takes us through 5,000 years of black history offering a bold counterpoint to Eurocentric points-of-view. And The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords offers an illuminating portrait of the history and impact of black owned and operated newspapers. The Film Center thanks The Skanner, Portland State University Black Studies Department and Homowo African Arts & Culture for their support of both New African Cinema and Black Voices in America.

The Farm —Angola, USA 
10 THURSDAY - 8 P.M.
11 FRIDAY & 12 SATURDAY - 6 P.M.
13 SUNDAY - 5 P.M.

"Set in the largest maximum security prison in the United States, The Farm tells an extraordinarily intimate and chillingly complex story about life and death behind the barbed-wire fences of the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary. Filmmakers Jonathan Stack and Elizabeth Garbus expertly guide the viewer through a spectrum of emotions and issues facing six male inmates over the course of one year as they attempt to survive this dreaded facility where "life means life." From the arrival of a newly convicted inmate to the appeal of a death row veteran, the harsh realities of prison life are juxtaposed with stories of heinous acts of violence, sympathetic admissions of remorse, desperate dreams of early release and frank discussion of the prison’s ethic, which relies on the lucrative exploitation of prison labor. Ironically, this 18,000-acre prison site sits on a former slave plantation and houses 5,000 inmates, of whom 77 percent are black. Using this historical fact as a backdrop, the film eloquently weaves verité footage of life behind bars with the stories of a wife killer, a rapist, an armed robber, a drug dealer and various murderers along with the voices of their victims and interviews with prison officials. What results is a compelling and compassionate look at the human faces and the tragic stories that inhabit and surround this unforgettable place. "—San Francisco International Film Festival. Winner of the Best Documentary Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. (1998, 91 mins.)

The Other Side of Sunday
11 FRIDAY & 12 SATURDAY - 8 P.M.
13 SUNDAY - 7 P.M.

The year is 1959. Maria (Marie Theisen), the conservative vicar’s eldest daughter, figures out that by the time of her impending confirmation she will have spent 640 hours sitting in church. Maria longs for another life. She doesn’t want communion or the blood of Christ, she wants to drink Coke, smoke, wear lipstick, have breasts that point upward and hang out at the local dance hall, "the den of sin" as her father calls it, with her friends. Maria’s confidant is Mrs. Tunheim, who works in the church, but is experiencing a quiet rebellion of her own. Unlike the other church wives, Mrs. Tunheim is prepared to acknowledge Maria is becoming a woman, and she counsels Maria to be true to her feelings, even though the cost may be more than she expects. Directed by Ramin Niami and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film last year, The Other Side of Sunday is a warm and humorous coming-of-age film about growing up at a time when almost everything one desired was forbidden. (Norway, 1998, 103 mins.)


Harayuma is a fast-paced comedy of life in the city of Ouagadougou, the paradoxical capital of Burkina Faso. Here discos stand next to mosques, officials mingle with whores, seduction is the main distraction, and everyone is on the make. Skillfully revealing the tensions between traditional and modern ways, Drissa Toure has fashioned his own Short Cuts, an Altmanesque interlocking of stories and characters who survive in a city facing economic disaster. Much of the story centers around a Muslim family slowly losing ties to its values and customs of the past. In this city of ironies, Oussou is a thief, but rewarded by the police for becoming an informer. Kalifa lands a job, but soon steals from his boss. Even the brothel owner can run her operation without offense, but her bi-racial daughter is the subject of public ridicule. As each character finds himself in this urban stew of future-shock, Toure paints a vivid picture of people caught in a confluence of changing times. (Burkina Faso, 1995, 86 mins.) Preceded by a live concert by African musician Obo Addy.

The A.C.L.U. — A History 
17 THURSDAY - 7:30 P.M.

From its founding in 1920 through to the present day, the American Civil Liberties Union has been a lighting rod for controversy as it ha sought to support and champion the Bill of Rights. In Lawrence Garvey and Diane Hott’s (The Wilderness Idea) far-ranging look at the A.C.L.U., they canvas the goals and activities of this formidable organization that continues to stir strong emotions. Involved in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial, the 1930s labor strikes, Japanese internment, the HUAC hearings and blacklisting, the Vietnam War trials and the Nazi march on Skokie, Illinois in 1978, the A.C.L.U. has not strived for popularity, but for freedom of expression and minority rights. Since the 1970s, the A.C.L.U. has focused on women’s rights, gay rights and prisoner’s rights. Yet throughout its history, its ambitions and successes have almost been equalled by the controversy and contradictions the organization seems to embody. Engaging both the advocates and critics of the A.C.L.U., Garvey and Hott have created a potent social document. (60 mins.) Tonight’s screening followed by a post-film discussion with Stevie Remington, former Executive Director of the Portland Chapter of the A.C.L.U., Stuart Kaplan, Professor at Lewis & Clark College and Charlie Davis and Jann Carson, President and Associate Director of the A.C.L.U., respectively.

The Tin Drum 
18 FRIDAY 19 SATURDAY - 7:30 P.M.

Based on Gunter Grass’ acclaimed novel, The Tin Drum, and winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1979, Volker Schlondorff's film  is currently under fire in Oklahoma City where a fundamentalist group has succeeded in finding a judge to declare the film obscene, resulting in police confiscating copies from video stores and illegally retrieving the names of those renting it. This allegorical story traces the life of a troubled boy, Oskar, who refuses to grow up as the rise and fall of the Third Reich takes place around him. In the film, precocious Oskar has two skills which keep the hypocritical behavior of adults at bay: he can pound his drum mercilessly and he can scream at such a pitch glass shatters. Exploring the links between political and sexual politics—as seen through the eyes of a child—The Tin Drum takes on its own reality to convey the dark and troubled times of Germany in the 20th century and remains an eloquent and disturbing look at a country dangerously caught up in its own complacency. (Germany, 1969, 142 mins.) We are pleased to present The Tin Drum with a newly struck 35mm print.

All Power to the People 
20 SUNDAY - 5 P.M.

The political climate of the 60s was one of heroism and optimism equally matched by assassination and despair. Out of this turmoil, including the deaths of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., emerged the Black Panther Party with a voice of hope for Blacks in the inner cities. The Party’s message was thwarted by a threatened government, particularly in the form of the FBI and its Director J. Edgar Hoover who declared before Congress: "The Black Panther Party is the greatest threat to the internal security of the U.S." Lee Lew-Lee’s captivating 1997 work of investigative journalism, All Power to the People, traces the Party’s rise and fall as it contrasts the initial idealism and integrity of its initiators (followed by its own share of megalomania and narcissism) with the subterfuge and violence unleashed upon it by the FBI and CIA. Providing a bold panorama of the times through archival footage and interviews, including such seminal figures as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Leonard Peltier, Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, Eldridge Cleaver and Mumia abu Jamal, Lew-Lee revisits a chapter in U.S. history that had been too easily obscured by manipulation. (116 mins.)

Beyond Barbed Wire
20 SUNDAY - 7:30 p.m.

Showcased in this year’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival, Beyond Barbed Wire probes the perplexing and challenging notions of family and the national loyalty of Americans of Japanese descent during World War II. Steve Rosen and Terry de Bono’s award-winning portrait of those who fought in the segregated 100th Infantry Batallion/442nd Regimental Combat Team while their relatives were stockaded in Japanese internment camps is an emotionally charged tale, a riveting and bewildering look at heroes of the most unusual kind. Though their civil liberties and rights were stripped, these Japanese Americans bravely fought in both Europe and the Pacific. In addition to braving battle, many were part of the U.S. Military Intelligence Unit, linguists who interrogated prisoners, intercepted messages and translated secret documents to help win the war. It is through these soldiers’ testimony, through their laughter and tears, that the silence surrounding their inner conflicts and public achievements are told. Narrated by Pat Morita. "Revelatory and inspiring... Beyond Barbed Wire stirringly reaffirms the notion that adversity can bring out the best in people."—Variety. (1997, 88 mins.)

A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries
23 WEDNESDAY - 7:30 P.M.

What a treat to open this year’s Novel Idea series with a new work by James Ivory, a masters of literary adaptations, who has brought us vivid translations of such novels as E. M. Forster’s Howard’s End and A Room with a View and Henry James’ The Bostonians. A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries is based on Kayla Jones’ autobiographical novel and the daughter of James Jones, author of From Here to Eternity and The Thin Red Line. Set during the 60s and 70s, this coming-of-age tale follows a teenage girl, Chane Willis, caught between two cultures, American and French, as she is tethered by her expatriate parents (played by Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Hershey) whose career moves leave her without many choices. Written by James Ivory and his longtime collaborator Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the film is beautifully shot in both Paris and Long Island, New York. This moving and poignant drama allows us to witness  Chane’s tentative bolts toward maturity and the intricacies of familial  bonds. (120 mins.) Print courtesy of October Films. A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries, opens at an ACT III Theatre on September 25.

Waricko, The Jackpot
24 THURSDAY - 7 P.M.

In a satirical comedy that easily echoes events in the United States, Ali, a civil servant,  asks his wife, Awa, who runs a little business in the marketplace, to buy him a ticket in the national lottery. This bounty would ease his extended family’s hardships—the three children, an unemployed cousin and a sister on maternity leave with her baby—as they all live in a small three room apartment. As luck would have it, he wins. But as luck would also have it, the ticket has been lost. In the mad search for the winning ticket, all who are involved dream of their better lives ahead, the prosperity that would bring all things new into their lives. Unable to find the ticket, they turn to fortune tellers, to anyone who might help them in their search. In this allegory of the African seeking new economic and social success, director Kramo-Lancine Fadika illustrates how the struggle for the good life can have its own unexpected pitfalls. (Ivory Coast, 1993,100 mins.)

The Horseman on the Roof
25 FRIDAY - 7:30 P.M.

An exhilarating epic set in the Provence region in 1832, Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s (Cyrano de Bergerac) The Horseman on the Roof  stars Juliette Binoche and Olivier Martinez. This tale of chivalry and swashbuckling adventure, a finely drawn adaptation of Jean Giono’s classic novel, follows Angelo (Martinez), an exiled Nobleman, and Pauline de Theus (Binoche), the wife of a rich marquis, who come together by happenstance to brave the military, a cholera epidemic and political threats to reach their respective homes and lovers. Moving between the harsh landscape and even harsher political realities of the 19th century, Rappeneau meshes adventure with romance and intimacy with the grandeur of the times, to illuminate the power of Giono’s tale. "It is pure cinema, made of action, beauty, landscape and passion, all played with gusto, and affection."—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.  (France, 1996,118 mins.) Co-sponsored by the Alliance Française de Portland.

Impressions of Monet:Four Short Films 
26 SATURDAY & 27 SUNDAY - 2 P.M.

Here are four short works that not only give insight into the life and work of Monet, but also into the work of artists of today who have drawn upon Monet’s work for their own artistic inspiration. Ceux de Chez Nous is a short film made in 1915 by a young actor and playwright, Sacha Guitry, that captures Degas, Monet, Renoir, and Rodin at work in their studios. Ohio to Giverny: Memory of Light, made in 1983 by American video artist and photographer Mary Lucier, juxtaposes scenes of a town in Ohio with scenes of Giverny in a video installation. Here is a single monitor version of that installation. Monet: Legacy of Light was produced in conjunction with an exhibition celebrating Monet’s 150th birthday in 1989 and profiles the artist by reading excerpts from his writings and visiting places in France where he lived. Linnea in Monet’s Garden blends watercolor-like animation, live action, photographs of Monet and reproductions of his paintings with the landscape of his gardens. It is the story of a young Swedish girl who travels with her neighbor to Giverny. (90 mins.) Presented in conjunction with the Portland Art Museum's exhibit, Monet — Late Paintings of Giverny from the Musée Marmottan, September 18, 1998 — January 3, 1999.

Ingmar Bergman — On Life and Work
26 SATURDAY - 7 p.m.
Repeated on Friday, October 2

The esteemed director, screenwriter and playwright Ingmar Bergman turned 80 this summer and as he tries to escape his career as a filmmaker buy writing for Swedish television, even those works are reaching theaters around the world and deservedly so. In Ingmar Bergman — On Life and Work, Jorn Donner, Bergman’s producer on Fanny and Alexander, has created an intimate and reflective profile of a man who has helped shape modern cinema. Based on a session of interviews, Bergman is both blunt and forthright about a variety of concerns—his traumatizing childhood, his anxiety in the face of rehearsals, his need for control and the discipline and continuity he brings to his writings. Interweaving photos from Bergman’s life and sequences from his film and stage presentations, one finds oneself in the presence of an articulate man whose passions and ideas have been eloquently brought to the screen. In tandem with this screening, we are pleased to present two of Bergman’s classics, The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries. (Germany, 1998, 90 mins.)
D  O  U  B  L  E   F  E  A  T  U  R  E

The Seventh Seal 
at 8:45 p.m.

In The Seventh Seal, based on his own play, Bergman examines the ideas of death, faith, good and evil and of man’s destiny in a lyrical work that asks the most elusive of questions: "Does God exist?." Max Von Sydow is Antonius Block, a knight returning from the crusades as the black plague is decimating Europe. He encounters death incarnate and challenges him to a game of chess—the stakes are his life. With its unforgettable images, its debate on one of life’s primary concerns, and its captivating performances, The Seventh Seal remains a landmark work, not only in Bergman’s canon or the Swedish cinema's, but in the world’s compendium of movie making. (Sweden, 1957,96 mins.) Preceded by the short, Death, by Steve Sandoz.

Local Harvest
27 SUNDAY - 5 p.m.

The Northwest Film Center’s Certificate Program in Film prepares self-directed individuals for a career in the media arts and the world of independent filmmaking. Tonight’s screening showcases works completed by advanced Certificate Program students and includes La Passante by Jake Elsas, Bring Me Your Love by Ursula Gange, Just Like a Man by Haley Isleib and Integration by Colin O’Neill. Also showing are works from advanced film production classes as well as documentaries and experimental films and videos produced by Certificate Students. Free admission. Reception for filmmakers to follow.

Fishing with John
27 SUNDAY - 7 p.m.

An eclectic musician, actor and composer, John Lurie has fused musical genres as the lead and saxophonist in John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards; appeared in such films as Stranger than Paradise, Wild At Heart and Paris, Texas, and composed scores for many films, including Mystery Train, Blue in the Face and Get Shorty. He’s also created a new genre of television, an uncanny cross between wildlife adventure shows by Marlin Perkins and Jacques Cousteau and your local neighborhood fishing program. But Lurie doesn’t cut bait in the usual fashion. Instead, this non-fisherman takes his special guests to the most exotic and dangerous locations on earth to hang his line and hang out with his close friends. Tonight we screen three episodes of Fishing with John. The first takes Lurie and Jim Jarmsuch off the tip of Long Island as the two do battle with sharks. Of course, it becomes an existential quest into the nature of bravery. Next, Lurie goes ice fishing with Willem Dafoe at Maine’s northernmost point. During the days and nights in a shack on a frozen lake, the two explore the etiquette of ice fishing as well as man’s diet in the wilderness. The third episode follows Lurie and Tom Waits to Jamaica where the beating sun can make anything possible. Complete with quasi-informative narration by an omnipotent narrator, the potable parodys that are Fishing with John give new meaning to what one might think of as meaning. (1997, 90 mins.)

A Taxi for Aouzou
The Dwarf
Maral Tanie:The Second Wife 
and The Draughtsman

Issa Serge Coelo’s A Taxi for Aouzou is a wonderful hybrid of fiction and documentary, an urban poem in which a Chadian cab driver explains his hopes and dreams against the color and movement of  the city he loves and the often violent society in which he lives. (Chad, 1994, 22 mins.) Mahamat Saleh Haroun’s The Dwarf  follows Goi-Goi who loves to drink and to play cards. His wife cheats on him and all the village knows about it.  When wife and lover are caught in the act, Goi-Goi seeks revenge. Yet, things do not happen as he had planned. (Chad, 1995,15 mins.) In another film by Haroun, Maral Tanie, the parents of 17-year-old Halime decide she should be married off to a man very much her elder. Her adamant refusal is ignored, and the date for the wedding is set.  Halime doesn’t budge in this battle with her father and the inevitably duel between parent and child turns damaging. (Chad, 1994, 25 mins.) Balufu Bakupa Kanyinda’s clever satire, The Draughtsman, introduces us to a sit-tight president-for-life of an imaginary country, who unable to sleep, summons his Chief of Guards to find someone who can challenge him at his favorite game—checkers/draughts. It just so happens the country’s best player is a "pot smoking rebel" from the slums. Can he play the president as he plays everyone else or does he succumb to the presence of power? (Congo, 1996, 40 mins.)


Macadam Tribu 

Shot in Mali by Zairean director José Laplaine, Macadam Tribu represents a new kind of African cinema—one borne of the cities and the new cultural machinations that evolve there. Following the exploits of a group of friends who roam the streets and frequent the bars and boxing clubs of their ever-growing metropolis, this comic drama tracks their inevitable quest for money, sex and status. Beyond their hijinks, Mike and Kapa’s real concern is for their mother, Mother Bavusi. Dudas is keen on boxing. But when Duka is overmatched in a fight and is knocked into a coma, the neighborhood, with its gamblers, gossips, whores and street philosophers, rallies behind him. "This is a very sexy movie, chock full of joyous Papa Wemba music, but it’s also laced with a streak of grown-up melancholy that gives its pleasures a deeper resonance. Lydia Ewande is terrific as Mother Bavusi, anchoring one of the most tender, complex mother-son relationships ever seen in African cinema. Macadam Tribu tells a story that rings true all across Africa. The Macadam tribe may not observe all the old traditions, but it has found a way to adapt ancient strengths to new conditions."—Cameron Bailey, Toronto Festival of Festivals. (Zaire/Mali, 1996, 88 mins.)

Ingmar Bergman
— On Life and Work 
2 FRIDAY- 7 P.M.
Repeat of 26 Saturday program.
D  O  U  B  L  E   F  E  A  T  U  R  E
Wild Strawberries 
at 8:45 p.m.

Wild Strawberries moves between the present, flashbacks and dream sequences as it reflects on the life of a man nearing the end of his years. An elderly professor, played by silent film director Victgor Sjostrom, is travelling cross country to receive an honorary degree. On the way he encounters two young hitchikers, and they, with members of his immediate family, provoke thought of how he lived and might have lived his life. "Wild Strawberries deals with an apparent infinity of themes and feelings: love, tolerance, betrayal, paternalism, egotism, ingratitude, jealousy, remorse, hypocrisy, nostalgia, humiliation, indifference. Deep down, though, and abidingly, the film reflects Bergman’s own struggle to reconcile himself with Death (making it a sequel, spiritually, to The Seventh Seal). [The Professor] is confronted by intimations of mortality at every turn: the "dead" patient in the lecture theatre, his son’s repudiation of children, his ancient mother’s icy solitude. Man must come to terms with himself if  he is to banish Death, or rather the fear of Death. "—Film critic Peter Cowie. (Sweden,1957, 90 mins.)

Bertolt Brecht
— Love, Revolution and Other Dangers
3 SATURDAY - 7 & 9 P.M.

1998 marks the centenary of the birth of Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), the playwright who challenged traditional forms of theater with such works as The Three Penny Opera, Mother Courage and Her Children and Galileo. A collaborator with Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler, Lotta Lenya and many of the talents of his era, he was also a man whose social views and religion found him caught in the upheaval of Germany of the 1930s. Jutta Brückner’s unorthodox portrait of the artist is told in four revealing chapters as actor and playwright Peter Bucholz takes a journeys through the pivotal years of Brecht’s life. Fleeing Germany in 1933 to escape the Nazis, Brecht finds himself in Denmark where his rougish ways compound his relationships with lover, wife and mistress. Moving to Sweden, he is soon expelled for his communist leanings. Many in Brecht’s life, from stage, screen and literature, share their thoughts about Brecht and his theater that attempted to move masses toward revolution. His arrival in America where he convenes with fellow German expatriates is not without incident as well. One of the original Hollywood 19, his testimony rattled the House Committe on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Throughout, Bruckner paints a vivd picture of a difficult man who embraced his own difficulty. (Germany, 1998, 95 mins.)

Melvin Van Peebles’ Classified X 
4 SUNDAY - 7 P.M.

As a writer, director, producer and musician, Melvin Van Peebles is more than a renaissance man; he is an astute social and political force. In 1961, before there was an American independent film scene, he directed the groundbreaking Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, a work which exploded the stereotype of the African-American as easily intimidated and and complacent. Here he portrayed a vision of blacks rarely presented on screen. Now in Classified X, Van Peebles does for the black cinema what A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies did, but in this case Van Peebles’ keen and unsettling perceptions focus on the falsifications of the black character in the movies, from Stepnfetchit to the New Negro to the No Negro eras. Van Peebles has constructed a powerful essay on the conspiracy of the mass media to fabricate and sustain a dishonest view of black America. Co-directed by Mark Daniels. Plus selected shorts. (France/USA, 1997, 90 mins.)

Curvy Moonlight/Wavy Days:
Literary Adaptations in Animation

Tonight we screen some of the best literary adaptations that have found their way into the world of animation. In these cases, the kindred spirits between author and animator co-mingle with marvelous results, charging both the imagination of artist and audience alike. Canadian animator Frederic Back brings his illuminating vision to the classic Jean Giorno tale, The Man Who Planted Trees. Caroline Leaf introduces Mordecai Richler’s literary neighborhood with her wistful images in The Street, the story of a young boy faces the consequences of wanting to inhabit his dying grandmother’s room. Will Vinton’s claypainting Go Down Death conjures up James Weldon Johnson's poem. Steven Dovas’ Call Me Fishmael is a satirical look at a movie pitch, in this case it's the story of a giant whale, perhaps Moby Dick? These and other surprises round out this ingenious metamorphosis of literature.  (90 mins.) Co-sponsored by ASIFA/NW.

When the Stars Meet the Sea 

Drawn from a formidable Malagasy myth, When the Stars Meet the Sea is instilled with the magic of its culture and the symbols of its place. When a boy is born on the day of an eclipse—a visible omen of disharmony—custom has it the boy will possess great and dangerous powers. As a test, he must survive being left a night alone among the cattle. This is the fate of Kapila. Born to a poet-father, the cursed child is left in a field, but is saved by a childless woman who weaves shrouds for the dead. Though crippled by the experience, Kapila as an adult goes on a quest, searching for the meaning of his ability to control natural forces. Raymond Rajaonarivelo (Tabataba), one of Africa’s premiere directors, has shaped a powerful tale about a man-child who seeks vengeance on a society that sentenced him to death and a father eager to deny his complicity. Shot all across Madagascar, from its exquisite landscapes to its dusty city streets, we follow Kapila as he makes his way from the arid highlands to the eternal promise of the sea. Part earthbound Luke Skywalker, part African Oedipus, Rajaonarivelo has fashioned a tale with universal reverberations. (Madagascar, 1996, 85 mins.)

A Self-Made Hero 
9 FRIDAY - 7:30 P.M.

I think it was Jules Renard who said, "There are people who lie so badly that you feel like helping them." This film could be my modest contribution to that notion... Firstly, what lies are we talking about? The little man who lies to answer back or a whole nation that lies to itself because the truth is simply unbearable?—Jacques Audiard
"Un Heros Très Discret is Jacques Audiard’s pungent comedie dramatique set in France as the German Occupation comes to an end. Based on the novel by Jean-François Deniau, the film offers a wry view of just how easy it was to fabricate a past in the confusion of 1944-5. Mathieu Kassovitz is superbly appealing as an inventive young man who—having missed the chance to be a hero earlier in the war—appropriates the true stories of others, creating a new identity as a member of the Resistance. His complete success in deceit brings him honor, admiration, friendship, power and love and attests to the truth of his world view, a variation on ‘print the legend, not the fact’.. .‘the best lives are the ones we make up.’ The entertaining and intelligent script won a well-deserved Special Jury Prize at Cannes." —Telluride Film Festival. (France, 1996, 105 mins.) Co-sponsored by the Alliance Française de Portland.

John Henrik Clarke:
A Great & Mighty Walk 
10 SATURDAY - 5:30 P.M.
11 SUNDAY - 7:30 P.M.

Self-taught historian and scholar, John Henrik Clarke, who died this past July at the age of  83, was a singular voice in African American history and a provocative Pan African ideologist.  In A Great & Mighty Walk, veteran documentarist St. Clair Borne filmed Clarke when he was 80 and blind, exploring both the man and 5,000 years of African history as he weaves Clarke’s words with a lively mix of archival treasures. Born into a sharecropping family and self-educated, Clarke migrated to the cultural and literary renaissance taking place in Harlem in the 20s and was to become a legend among scholars; he also started one of the first Black Studies departments in the nation. Tracing the roots and branches of African history, Clarke takes us from ancient Egypt to Africa’s great empires, illustrating the links between Mediterranean influences, the Atlantic slave trade, European colonization, and African-American history right up to the Million Man March. Listening to Clarke, one can imagine the influence he had on such leaders as Malcolm X and the Reverend Jesse Jackson. As Clarke boldly states with his razor sharp wit: "If you lose your eyesight, increase your insight." Take this expedition; it will transform you. (1996, 92 mins.)

I Married a Strange Person

Longtime friend of the Film Center, award-winning animator Bill Plympton, who gracefully moves between his native Clackamas and the cultural monument that is Manhattan, has garnered prize after prize for his irreverent and whimsical works, from his first film, Boomtown, to his first feature, The Tune, and onto I Married a Strange Person, which won the Grand Prize for Feature Films at the prestigous Annecy Animation Festival. The Film Center welcomes Plympton to Portland for the premiere of his latest feature, an animated extravaganza that doesn’t dally with those interested in what is politically correct. Following the joys and travails of newlyweds Grant and Kerry Boyer who are struggling with Grant’s psychic powers, Plympton takes life’s simple events to their surreal and twisted extremes. From sex to cockroaches, everything is fair game for this master comic—even blades of grass break into song at the thought of being mowed. As the film grows more completely bizarre, Plympton kicks his imagination into high gear and we’re off on an excursion that turns armies into lizards and bullets into hamburgers. Throughout it all, does love prevail or are Grant and Kerry’s vows torn asunder? (1998, 74 mins.) Tonight’s benefit screening supports the Film Center’s Education Programs. Special admission: $7. Print courtesy of Lions Gate Films. I Married a Strange Person opens in Portland later this month.

The Neighborhood Video Project 

The Northwest Film Center premieres the youth-produced Neighborhood Video Project. Through a collaboration between the Film Center’s Filmmakers-in-the-Schools Outreach Program and four Portland community youth groups, Si Se Puede (Yes We Can) Latino Youth Group, Self Enhancement Inc., the Mittleman Jewish Community Center working with the Rose Schnitzer Manor and Camp Fire Youth Volunteer Corps, young people worked together this past spring with filmmakers-in-residence Grace Lee-Park, Brian Lindstrom, Enie Vaisburd and Aaron Walker to produce short videos on the theme of community. Today we’ll explore how these youth experience community and what visions they have for the next millennium. Free admission. This project supported, in part, by the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s Neighborhood Arts Program and the Portland Parks & Recreation Youth Trust Fund.

The Black Press:
Soldiers Without Swords 
14 WEDNESDAY - 7 p.m.
Repeats 18 SUNDAY

Stanley Nelson’s film is the first to chronicle the history of the black press—from the founding of the first black newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, in 1827, through to the Civil Rights movement of the 60s and beyond. These papers, like the Chicago Defender and the Pittsburgh Courier, gave voice to concerns of African Americans, helping forge their identity, and offering a counterpoint to the images and stereotypes created by mainstream media. Focusing on such heroic and unsung black journalists as Ida B. Wells, Robert Abbott and Charlotte Bass (the first African American to run for national office), The Black Press traces the turbulent years that inspired this democratic media to flourish, fighting not only the silence surrounding slavery and the effects of segregation, but offering a forum for African American journalists that demonstrates the written word has been as fundamental as music or religion in the evolution of African American consciousness.  "Stanley Nelson’s stellar documentary masterfully tells the tale of the scribbling pioneers to whom we owe so much and of whom each black writer today is an heir."—Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Dept. of Afro-American Studies, Harvard University. (1998,86 mins.) Followed by a post-film discussion led by publishers of Portland’s minority newspapers.

Kini and Adams 
15 THURSDAY - 7 p.m.

Nominated for the Golden Palm at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Idrissa Ouedraogo’s (Afrique mon Afrique, Samba Traore, Yaaba) Kini and Adams follows the exploits of two friends living in the far reaches of Southern Africa, a land of stunning natural spaces, but not much opportunity, where the two dream of  moving to the city. Without transporation or money, they try building a car out of spare parts, but no matter what they add, and it seems to be parts for appearance—fenders, windshield wipers, lucky charms—the car stays as immobile as their hopes for change. Under pressure from Kini’s wife, he seeks a job and that’s when ambition and rivalry enter the picture, endangering the two’s inseparable link. Delicately exploring the bonds of their friendship, Ouedraogo crafts a poignant look at dreams tested by life’s daily realities. (Zaire, 1996, 93 mins.)

Me and My Brother
16 FRIDAY- 7 & 9 P.M.

"Robert Frank’s (Pull My Dasiy, Conversations with Jack, Cocksucker Blues) late 1960s masterpiece is his most ambitious and complex film. It incorporates black-and-white and color film, montage, split screen, nonsynchronous sound, voice-over, fractured chronology and other cinematic devices to tell both fictional and documentary stories. An exploration of Julius Orlovsky, the catatonic brother of poet Peter Orlovsky, Me and My Brother is ostensibly about mental illness and society’s reaction to it. Yet it also explores the complex relationship between cinema and truth, raising questions about voyeurism, the parallels between acting and social behavior and the creation of illusion to echo reality. Julius, after spending years in a New York mental hospital, emerges catatonic and must rely on his brother Peter, who lives with poet Allen Ginsberg. We see him at work, at home, walking blankly through the city and staring uncomprehendingly at simple objects. Frank begins to question his own role as documentary filmmaker, doubting his ability to make sense of his subject. When Julius wanders off in the middle of filming, Frank hires an actor (Joseph Chaikin) to play the character and begins a fictional version of his psychological portrait. Then, as suddenly as he vanished, Julius turns up at an institution. In an astounding final scene, he breaks his long silence as he and Frank confront each other through the lens. Frank recently re-edited Me and My Brother in preparation for the striking of this new print."— 1998 San Francisco International Film Festival. (1965-68, 91 mins.)

Rumi: Poet of the Heart
17 SATURDAY & 18 SUNDAY - 5 P.M.

Come whoever you are! Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving. This is not a caravan of despair. It doesn’t matter if you’ve broken your vow a thousand times, still and yet, again, come!—Rumi.
Truth, beauty, the nature of the human spirit—these were the ideas that beckoned poet Jelalu’l-Din Rumi, the 13th century Persian Sufi mystic. Haydn Reiss’ (William Stafford and Robert Bly: A Literary Friendship) profound new work celebrates the life and literary accomplishments of the author whose poems have spanned the centuries and speak to contemporary audiences. Featuring interviews and readings with many of Rumi’s modern translators and scholars, including Coleman Barks, Robert Bly, Huston Smith, Deepak Chopra and Michael Mead, Rumi also draws upon the classic music of the oud with virtuoso performances by Hamza El Din and Jai Uttal. All together they fashion a lively and inspired look at one of the world’s most inspiring poets. Narrated by Debra Winger. Preceded by live concert of classical Persian music performed by Soheil Zalfounon and Reza Mazlumi. (1998, 90 mins.)

In Our Own Hands:
The Hidden Story of the Jewish Brigade in World War II 
17 SATURDAY -7:30 P.M.

"We broke a taboo. We proved to the world we can fight. We proved to ourselves that we can fight, that Jews can fight and win."
                                                  —Johann Peltz, The Jewish Brigade
Though often portrayed solely as victims of the Holocaust (though sometimes saved by non-Jewish resistance fighters), there is another story to be told about World War II and its aftermath—about the formation and daring of the all volunteer Jewish Brigade. Chuck Olin’s captivating documentary, weaving rare archival footage and the compelling testimony of veterans who fought in the Jewish Brigade, traces its history from 1939 to the emergence of Israel. Though it took years to finally get approval, His Majesty’s Jewish Brigade was finally formed in 1944 and sent to fight the German army near Bologna, Italy. Even as the Brigade proved victorious, those within the Brigade—members of the Jewish Agency and the Haganah—had their own secret plans for after the way. Some went AWOL looking for family members, but many sought to save Holocaust survivors, lay the groundwork for the establishment of Israel and at the same time seek out Nazi officers and collaborators to seek retribution. In Our Own Hands has..."all the necessary elements of great drama, but its potency, the reason that most viewers will find it all but unforgettable, come primarily from the spoken words, such as these from Brigade veteran Hanoch Bartov: ‘We came as an angel of life, I would say, to the Jewish people. Soldiers are supposed to fight, kill or be killed. And what we did as soldiers,  we found dead people and we helped them to go back to life’"—Chicago Tribune. (1998, 85 mins.) Tonight’s screening is a benefit premiere for the upcoming 5th Annual Portland Jewish Film Festival taking place in January, 1999. Special admission: $7— General; Reserved Seat Patron Tickets — $25 (includes pre-film reception). Advance tickets on sale at the Film Center.

The Black Press:
Soldiers Without Swords (1998) 
18 SUNDAY- 7 P.M.
Repeat of 14 Wednesday program.

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