Jan. 4-11, 2006

This week's specialty screenings and venues.

Send listings two weeks in advance to film@seattleweekly.com

Brazil No matter what you thought of The Brothers Grimm, Terry Gilliam's dark 1985 future satire is memorably hectic and harrowing in its design and ambition. Never a subtle director, he applies his everything-including-the-kitchen-sink approach to this overwrought Orwellian satire; yet, amazingly, it somehow works. Jonathan Pryce is the dreamy, hapless clerk whose life is destroyed because a bug falls into a typewriter. Flawed, furious, and scary, the film also stars Robert De Niro as Pryce's would-be rescuer, and Kim Greist the girl of his dreams. There's no mistaking the wit of co-writer Tom Stoppard in Brazil's script, while its baroque, cluttered, dystopic look owes everything to Gilliam's old Monty Python cartoons. (NR) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684. $5. 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Wed. Jan. 4-Sat. Jan. 7, plus 3:30 p.m. Sat. Jan. 7.

Bride of Frankenstein Before the Mel Brooks parody, there was Frankenstein's original director, James Whale, making his own hay of the Karloff classic. Four years after that smash, his 1935 Bride camps it up a bit. Besides Karloff as the monster, Colin Clive is back as the mad scientist; Elsa Lanchester plays the famous hissing bride with that shock of white in her hair, like Susan Sontag; and Ernest Thesiger is Dr. Praetorious, who gets most of the laugh lines. Visually, it's even more extreme than the original—perhaps the only German Expressionist comedy ever made in Hollywood. A footnote: When Brooks made Young Frankenstein, he was able to reuse some of the same props and set-design artifacts from this movie. (NR) Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 206-781-5755. $6-$9. Midnight. Fri. Jan. 6-Sat. Jan. 7.

Cineoke Have a drink, then sing along to your favorite movie-musical scene—presumably supplied by the house, or take a chance and bring down your copy of Xanadu on DVD. (NR) Jewel Box Theater (Rendezvous), 2320 Second Ave., 206-441-5823. $5. 8 p.m. Mon. Jan. 9.

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Luis Buñuel's 1972 Oscar-winning absurdist comedy was filmed in French, but the dream logic translates into all languages. Fernando Rey plays the laughably corrupt ambassador of a vague South American dictatorship. He and his upper crusty Paris friends just want to enjoy a nice dinner party, but Buñuel won't let them. Instead, constant interruptions, digressions, and non sequiturs drive them batty—but their devotion to the good life remains obstinately undimmed. They cling to their manners, rituals, and propriety, even as encroaching anarchy makes their class appear ridiculous and obsolete (Buñuel's entire point). Our favorite line: "The sergeant has a charming dream to relate." Screened on video; ticket includes discussion and snack. (NR) Movie Legends, 2319 N. 45th St., 206-632-2092. $5. 1 p.m. Sun. Jan. 8.

Fellini at the Pink Door Four titles are scheduled to coincide with wine-tasting events. First up is his 1971 TV movie The Clowns, in which the director himself appears. It's part documentary about European circus history and its stars, part love letter to the sawdust ring, and part reflexive study on cinema itself, with Fellini as ringmaster. 21 and over. (G) Pink Door, 1919 Post Alley, 206-443-3241. $20. 7 p.m. Sun. Jan. 8.

40 Days and 1,001 Nights Dancer Tamalyn Dallal shows her work in progress (also to be a book), about her experiences in Islamic regions of the globe. Here she screens footage from her visit to Egypt and the tsunami-struck region of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where Muslim separatists are again at odds with the government. Discussion is likely to follow. (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $18. Noon. Sat. Jan. 7.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes It's a sing-along screening of the 1953 gold-digging musical comedy with Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe. Neither one of them was known for their great voices, so your harmonizing can only help. Coming in costume may get you extra credit. (NR) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684. $5. 4:45, 7, and 9: 15 p.m. Sun. Jan. 8.

I Am Cuba Lost and rediscovered in '92 after decades of revolutionary obscurity, this 1964 Russian-Cuban co-production features one of the most amazing long-take shots ever made; kids have gone to film school after seeing it. Mikhail Kalatazov (The Cranes Are Flying) hurtles his camera from hotel top to swimming pool, passing down through vertiginous stairs and through Batista-era revelers—oppressors all!—who dance with debauched indifference to their poor, brown-skinned servants, a kind of Inferno in reverse, from pristine sky above and pure water below—and a capitalist shit sandwich between. The rest is an agitprop anthology film in four chapters, the best and saddest of which—considered merely as narrative—is that of beautiful prostitute Maria (Luz María Collazo), who allows an American client to follow her home to her shack. Voice-overs speak for the once pristine land—which, by implication, Castro will redeem—in poetic passages by Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Much of Cuba is maudlin, all of it is unforgettable. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. Fri. Jan. 6-Thurs. Jan. 12.

Independent Exposure A dozen shorts are presented in this repeating one-hour program of indie oddities. Half work, half don't, and none overstays your patience. Among the standouts are a funny collage piece by Andre Silva that sets still images from a Google search to form a pictorial grammar for one of those Internet scam letters from Nigeria offering millions for a cash advance. The documentary Starlet recalls Ellie Parker as young actresses speak of the indignities of auditioning in Hollywood ("Skinny and anorexic sells in this town"). There's exquisite miniature photography, as in Microcosmos, in The Beautiful and the Fine, about a guy's love for his carnivorous plants—"my compatriots," he calls them. Ken Wardrop's Undressing My Mother is, literally, about his naked old mother with her pendulous breasts and proud sagging gut. It's beautifully shot, not at all creepy, an anatomy study that also surveys marriage and memory. (NR) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684. $5. 7 and 9 p.m. Wed. Jan. 11.

Movies at the Sunset Drinking games and trivia accompany most of these happy-hour screenings. First up is Walter Hill's 1979 gang classic The Warriors, lately become a very successful video game. 21 and over. (NR) Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 206-784-4880. Free. 7 p.m. Wed. Jan. 4. No information on An-THOR-logy, but it may include the Norse god. 7 p.m. Thurs. Jan. 5. Bob Goldthwait stars in Shakes the Clown (1992). 7 p.m. Tues. Jan. 10. From 1975, Roger Corman's Death Race 2000 is overdue both for a remake (ideally with original stars Sylvester Stallone and David Carradine) and a new video game. 7 p.m. Wed. Jan. 11.

Negroes With Guns The radical civil-rights figure Robert Williams (1925–1996) is profiled in this documentary (to be broadcast on PBS). Its title follows that of his autobiography, which details how he led an armed resistance against the Klan in 1959 North Carolina; subsequently, he was forced into exile in Cuba and China. Panel discussion follows. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. Free. 4 p.m. Sat. Jan. 7.

Open Screening Bring down your latest cinematic efforts on VHS or DVD; then be prepared to discuss. Under 10 minutes, please. (NR) 911 Media Arts Center, 402 Ninth Ave. N., 206-682-6552. $2. 7 p.m. Mon. Jan. 9.

The Ten Commandments Organist Dennis James provides live musical accompaniment to the silent 1923 version of the Bible spectacular, directed by Cecil B. DeMille. (He remade the film 33 years later with sound and Charlton Heston, among other Hollywood stars). This version is set both during ancient times and the decadent Roaring '20s—and you can guess which is more fun. There, two brothers represent the wicked and the righteous; the good one, hint-hint, is a carpenter. (DeMille was never known for subtlety.) However, the parting of the Red Sea is actually rendered via two-strip Technicolor, which was pretty amazing in its day. The screening will be preceded by a short introduction from James and local film gadfly Warren Etheredge. Three more screenings of other silent-era are scheduled through February. (NR) Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 206-682-1414. $12. 4 p.m. Sun. Jan. 8.

Travel Movie Jim Thompkins will introduce and perhaps also narrate his account of trekking through the Alpine region of Europe. (NR) Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue, 11100 N.E. 6th St., 206-547-4787. Call for price. 2 and 7:30 p.m. Mon. Jan. 9. Pacific Place, 600 Pine St., 206-547-4787. 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tues. Jan. 10.

 
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