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March 1999, Week 1


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
wanda bershen <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 4 Mar 1999 10:19:51 -0500
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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>Date: Tue, 02 Mar 1999 23:39:32
>To: screen-L
>From: wanda bershen <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject: Film Series at Brooklyn Museum Mar 6-April 17
>Please post ASAP to the List.
>thank you.
>EAST SIDE STORIES: Coming of Age Beyond The Wall
>Film & Public Program Series  Debuts at BROOKLYN MUSEUM  of ART
>March 6- April 17, 1999
>Seven  Recent Films from former  East Bloc Countries and the ex-USSR
>with Visiting Directors and 2 Panel Discussions
>Seven rarely seen films from a new generation of Directors emerging in
Eastern Europe and the former USSR will be presented at the Brooklyn Museum
of Art from  March 6 - April 17. EAST SIDE STORIES: Coming of Age Beyond the
Wall is a showcase of work from a new generation of directors  having  grown
up during perestroika and after, who  offer a  version of their histories
and their lives  very different from that of their artistic predecessors.
The seven films in the series portray the  everyday lives  of  young people
during  and after the Communist period in  personal more  than political
terms. Given the long  years of negative Cold War imagery in the West,  it
seems an  appropriate  time to update our knowledge of people and societies
long  closed off by the Iron Curtain.  In this spirit EAST SIDE STORIES
offers an impressive  group of  accessible,  moving and often humorous
stories of young people finding their way through the massive social changes
now unfolding in Central Europe and the former Soviet Union.
>The Series opens March 6  with BOLSHE VITA ( shown at New Directors at MOMA
in 1997), a humorous portrait of  youth in post-1989 Budapest after the
borders opened.  Hungarian Director Ibolye Fekete will come to NYC to
introduce and discuss her film.
>On Monday March 8 , there will be a Panel presentation with film clips at
the  NYU Center for Media, Culture and History with Visiting Directors
Ibolye Fekete, David Ondricek (WHISPER) and Boris Frumin (VIVA CASTRO),
moderated by Ms. Bershen. Admission is free, and the Panel takes place from
3:30-5:30 at the King Juan Carlos I Center, 53 Washington Square South,
Screening Room.
>On Saturday, March 13, Director David Ondricek will introduce the
screening of his internationally acclaimed first feature, WHISPER,  about a
group of Prague friends constructing new lives after the Velvet Revolution.
A Panel Discussion will follow with directors, Ondricek, Fekete and Frumin .
>On March 20, VIVA CASTRO , a lyrical autobiographical homage to life in the
Soviet 1960's will be presented by director Boris Frumin, now a faculty
member at New York University.
>On March 27  a beautiful and haunting first feature, 300 MILES TO HEAVEN
will be screened. Based on the true story of two young boys escaping Poland
to the West by hiding under truck chassis, it was  directed by Macjek
Dejczer, former assistant to Krystof Kieslowski.  Playing April 3 will be
TITO & ME, a truly hilarious portrait of a young boy and his family in
Belgrade which was released in the US by Kino Films, and described by the NY
Times as a "...funny, beautifully acted family memoir....the work of a
sophisticated comic mind".  On April 10, the film is  ENLGECHEN (Little
Angel)  by former east German documentarist Helke Misslewitz, about cross-
border romance, described by Variety as "a delight on every level".  The
final film of the Series is PERFECT CIRCLE, which was shown in the New
Directors Film Series  at Museum of Modern Art in March 1997. Made in
Sarajevo during the war, it is the story of a poet and two orphans,
described by director Kenovic as "more a love story than a war film".
>EAST SIDE STORIES screenings take place at Brooklyn Museum of Art at 3 PM
in the Iris and B. Gerald  Cantor Auditorium on the third floor.  Admission
is  $6 (including Museum Admission). For additional information about the
Series & Panels call 718 - 638-5000 xt 230.
>EAST SIDE STORIES was curated by Wanda Bershen, Independent
Curator/Distributor and Founding Director of the New York  Jewish Film
Festival at the Walter Reade Theater.
>EAST SIDE STORIES was made possible with a generous grant from the Trust
for Mutual Understanding, and additional support from the New York State
Council on the Arts.   We also thank Film Polski,  Magyar FilmUnio, Kino
Releasing, Parnasse International (Paris), Negativ Film (Prague), Bavaria
Film and Boris Frumin for their invaluable assistance in making this program
>Media contact: Wanda Bershen at 212-598-0224
>12 East 22 Street #11     N.Y.,N.Y. 10010     TEL/FAX: 212-598-0224  EMAIL:
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>  EAST SIDE STORIES: Coming of Age Beyond the Wall
>Brooklyn Museum of Art; March 6-April 17, 1999
>BOLSHE VITA (Hungary, 1996, 101min) Dir: Ibolye Fekete
>Mar 6, 1999, 3PM
>This striking and accomplished debut feature by documentarist and
screenwriter Fekete captures the "happy times" atmosphere of Budapest in the
early 1990's.  Following a trio of Russian immigrants looking for adventure,
the film opens with a montage of the border openings in 1989, accompanied by
rock song lyrics proclaiming, "You don't know how good it feels without you".
>       Yura, Vadim (both musicians) and Sergei meet up with helpful Erzi, English
party girl Maggie and her American roommate Susan.  As the Russians woo
these exotic Anglo girls,  the group hangs out at the Bolshe Vita cafe
drinking and dancing.  During the day, Yura and Vadim struggle to make money
as street musicians, while Sergei cruises the open market determined to make
his fortune. This ensemble of enormously expressive and engaging characters
is  combined with a  fast-moving cinema verite style.  Introducing the
variety of hustlers and gangsters also inhabiting this new world of
opportunity and "freedom"., BOLSHE VITA  creates  a humane but also
unflinching portrait of youthful (often unrealistic) expectations and
>WHISPER (Czech Republic,1996, 84min) dir. David Ondricek
>Mar 13, 1999, 3PM
>One of the Czech Republics top-grossing films of 1997, Ondricek's first
feature portrays a group of friends in Prague through the eyes of 16 year
old Anna -- a country bumpkin who has run away from school.  On the road she
meets Speedy wrapped around an orange East German motorcycle. He whisks her
off to Prague, where she settles into a communal apartment with his brother,
2 roommates and one very large dog. Anna eagerly explores the fascinating
possibilities of Big City life and love, only slowly realizing that one
roommate turns tricks at night with middle aged men, that Speedy is
permanently stoned, and that brother Filip has a very complex love life.
>        As one of the first  post-Velvet Revolutions films to portray gender
confusion and gay characters, WHISPER tells  an engaging and personal story.
Mixing bright colors, witty stylized sequences, (and occasional dogs-eye
views of human behavior) the film portrays the special  difficulties of
moving towards adulthood at a moment of rapid and often contradictory social
>VIVA CASTRO (Russia, 1993, 82 min) dir Boris Frumin
>Mar 20, 1999, 3PM
>Veteran Latvian director Frumin's first Russian film after 15 years in the
US was an immediate hit, playing throughout the international film festival
circuit, upon its debut in 1994.  It is a coming of age story set in a small
town in the 1960's -- when Fidel Castro was as important an icon for
Russians as Elvis was to Americans.  Kolya, a high school student, has a
crush on his singing teacher.  After his father escapes the authorities and
leaves town, his mother is sent to labor camp. In protest  Kolya takes part
in a "Viva Castro" concert, and tries to arrange a final meeting for his
>       Embellishing the main story with many other characters, small incidents
and anecdotes, the film brims with black humor and compelling personalities.
An insiders view of his own and his country's past, Frumin illuminates the
richness of the  personal lives of everyday people in spite of the pettiness
and pain caused by an authoritarian regime. A mixture of farce and tragedy
in the Breshnev era, VIVA CASTRO has the rare gift of revealing the
unexpected via the mundane details of everyday life.
>300 MILES TO HEAVEN (Poland, 1989, 97 min) dir. Macej Dejczer
>Mar 27, 1999, 3PM
>Based on the real-life story of two brothers aged 12 and 15 who escaped in
1985 to Sweden, Dejczer's debut feature won the European Felix as well as an
award at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival upon its release. Jedrek and Grzes'
father is a history teacher, who has twice been dismissed from his job.
Trying to make ends meet with his wife and kids on a farm, the family is
continually   harassed by bribe-seeking officials.  The two boys decide that
they must help their parents by fleeing to the West so they can make money
to send home. Taking off on an amazing journey, hidden under the chassis of
large trucks, they reach Sweden and request political asylum.  An ex-patriot
journalist puts them in the news and they become celebrities for a time.
Back home, however, their parents are taken to court and punished further by
the authorities, and the family must make an agonizing decision.
>       Dejczer's documentary background serves him well in depicting the
extraordinary road trip of the two brothers, who are themselves amazing
performers.  300 MILES avoids sentimentality while simultaneously creating a
riveting portrait of painful choices for both children and parents caught
between East and West.
>TITO AND ME (Yugoslavia/France 1992, 104 min) Dir: Goran Markovic
>Apr 3, 1999    , 3PM
>Veteran Yugoslav director Markovic began shooting TITO & ME just as war
broke out in 1991. He regards the film as part autobiography and part
critique of the cult surrounding Marshal Tito during his long  reign,
particularly the dubious veneer of ethnic peaceful coexistence purveyed by
his regime. Protagonist Zoran is a 10 year old boy living in a tiny
Belgrade apartment with his artist parents, as well as aunts, uncles and
grandparents.  Overweight and hopelessly enamored of 12 year old Jasna,
Zoran keeps a large scrapbook with clippings and photos of Tito.
>       Desperate to join Jasna on a "March Around Tito's Homeland", he wins an
essay contest and joins the group of young Pioneers.  Carrying a heavy
backpack Zoran finds himself trudging through the woods under the command of
Raja, their fanatically nationalistic leader.  Predictably Zoran lags behind
and gets lost, dreaming that Tito helps him find shelter.  Later he incurs
Raja's wrath again during an eventful night in an old castle.   At the end of
the journey, the group is honored  at  a reception attended by the real Tito
-- a fateful encounter for Zoran.  The NY Times described TITO & ME as a
"...funny, beautifully acted family memoir....the work of a sophisticated
comic mind".
>ENGLECHEN (Germany,1996, 98 min) Dir: Helke Misslewitz
>Apr 10, 1999,  3PM
>        Misslewitz  was one of the leading  DEFA (former East German documentary
studio) directors, who began to make feature films  after reunification  in
1989.  Her lead character, played here  by the superb  Suzanne Lothar (FUNNY
GAMES) is a single woman  leading  an inconspicuous life, working in a
factory, and living near the Ostkreuz RR station.  In an amazing opening
scene she meets handsome Andrejz from Poland , selling black market
cigarettes at the station.
>        The chance encounter turns into a real love affair, a pregnancy, and
unhappy complications for both, when the truth of Andrezj life is revealed.
Beautiful performances by leading Berlin  theater actors, plus a haunting
and delicate camera and  lighting  of the Berlin  cityscape  complement the
bittersweet portrayal of life and love  after Communism.  VARIETY called
Little Angel "....a delight on every level".
>Note: english title is LITTLE ANGEL
>PERFECT CIRCLE (Yugoslavia, 1997, 1 hr 48 min) Dir: Ademir Kenovic
>Apr 17, 1999,  3PM
>Chosen to open the prestigious Directors Fortnight of the 1997  Cannes Film
Festival, Kenovic's fourth feature film was made in Sarajevo during the war.
Centered on the story of Hamza, a poet who has sent his wife and daughter
away to safety, and 2 orphan boys he takes in, it is more  love  story than
war film.
>       Adis and Kerim, a deaf-mute (both radiant performances by
non-professionals) are found hiding in Hamza's house, and he reluctantly
teaches them how to survive the sniping, procure food and water, and even
care for a wounded dog.  One day Hamza finally gets some news of the boys'
aunt in Germany and prepares to take them to a town from which they can go
to live with her.  Hamza (played by superb actor Mustafa Nadarevic)  has
visions from time to time of talking to his wife and daughter and of  his
own death, while  the boys concerns are taking care of their dog, learning
about girls, and sticking close to their new protector.
>       With a screenplay co-written by Kenovic and well-known poet Abdulah
Sidran, PERFECT CIRCLE tells an irresistible tale mixing documentary style,
humor and occasional bits of magic realism.  Presented in numerous festivals
worldwide, including New Directors (NYC 1998), this film deserves the widest
possible exposure for its  bittersweet  portrayal of real courage under real
12 East 22 St (11H)
NYC, NY 10010
tel/fax: 212-598-0224

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