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After Life In Hirokazu Kore-eda's 1999 heavenly drama, the dead find themselves in an afterlife that looks a lot like a dilapidated college dorm. They are told that they have three days to choose the most important moment of their lives. The staff will then make a film of that moment. The dead will watch the film of their chosen moment, then disappear into eternity, accompanied only by that single memory. The angelic auteurs stay up late at night planning their shots. Quantities of tea are consumed as they argue over details. If After Life were an American film, the angel filmmakers would turn out perfect little films with swell special effects. The studio lot would bustle. Instead, they operate on a shoestring budget: The clouds that fly past the Cessna are pieces of cotton batting strung onto wire. (NR) CLAIRE DEDERER Shoreline Community College (Room 1102), 16101 Greenwood Ave. N., 206-533-6700. Free. 7 p.m. Wed. Feb. 8.
The Black Cat Satan worship and human sacrifice erupt in Hungary in this 1934 Universal Studios horror timepiece. Boris Karloff is the madman in his modernist castle, and Bela Lugosi—in one of his rare outings as a hero—is the doctor who wants revenge for his slain wife and daughter; then there are a couple of American tourists (yawn) along for the ride. For some reason, Lugosi is afraid of cats, which has minor significance to the plot. Edgar G. Ulmer derives maximum creepiness from shadows and foreboding; the German émigré to Hollywood rests the entire Karloff-Lugosi grudge on the still-fresh graves of WWI. It's accompanied by The Raven, a loose, loose Poe adaptation which reunited the two stars the following year. Screened on video; admission includes discussion and snack. (NR) Movie Legends, 2319 N. 45th St., 206-632-2092. $5. 1 p.m. Sun. Feb. 12.
Breakfast at Tiffany's Audrey Hepburn plays one of her signature roles, Holly Golightly, in Blake Edwards' 1961 spin on the Truman Capote novel. We won't complain if you don't that the George Peppard character is so unconvincingly straight, nor quibble that his relationship with both professional escort Hepburn and Patricia Neal (client for his gigolo services) doesn't make sense. But everyone will be made uncomfortable by Mickey Rooney's racist caricature as Holly's upstairs Japanese neighbor. So just relax and sing along with Hepburn's undeniably effective one-octave rendition of Henry Mancini's "Moon River." With the other Capote movie in theaters currently emphasizing that writer's darker side, Breakfast reflects his more generous and forgiving view of human nature (which seemed to end with the '60s). The Hepburn and Peppard characters are both morally compromised, but this picture gives them the happy end impossible for the killers in Capote. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. $5-$8. 7 and 9:15 p.m. Fri. Feb. 10-Thurs. Feb. 16.
Duck Soup In perhaps the most lighthearted war movie ever made, Groucho Marx plays the war-crazed but cowardly leader of Freedonia, who directs an invasion for his own personal gain. Chico and Harpo are enemy spies who try to halt the plan, and everyone pivots around the great and stately Margaret Dumont, Groucho's foil and benefactor. The dazzling 1933 comedy was made at a safe distance from WWI, the Spanish Civil War hadn't yet begun, and WWII was only a gleam in Hitler's eye, so the laughs came easy. ("Remember, you're fighting for this woman's honor, which is probably more than she ever did.") You can make the case for Duck Soup being the Marx brothers' greatest film; today, it's certainly their most topical. It also helps that the gags are so expertly arranged by Leo McCarey, who's being showcased at the GI with two more classic '30s comedies over the next three weeks. (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $5-$7.50. 7 and 9 p.m. Fri. Feb. 10-Thurs. Feb 16; also 3 and 5 p.m. Sat. Feb. 11-Sun. Feb. 12.
Eyes on the Prize The award-winning 1987 civil-rights miniseries is screened two episodes per evening through the rest of February. Discussion follows. (NR) Bethany United Church of Christ, 6230 Beacon Ave. S., 206-324-1041. 7 p.m. Fri. Feb. 10-Sat. Feb. 11.
Harry Smith: Connections and Transformations Educated partly in Seattle, the avant-garde filmmaker, musicologist, and artist (1923-1991) rose to fame in NYC during the 1950s. Various speakers will deliver talks on his life and work; see Web site for full details. A somewhat uncategorizable polymath, Smith made films via animation, collage, multi-projector installations, and direct animation (working on the negative or film stock without recourse to a camera). A program of his abstract shorts shows his varied animation techniques, often rhythmically set to the jazz music he loved. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380, www.nwfilmforum.org. Free to $8 (on varying evenings). 8 p.m. Fri. Feb. 10. Heaven and Earth Magic is an hour-long animated collage to be accompanied live by Erik Blood and Scientific American. Full of appropriated images and fertility motifs, it suggests the later animation of Terry Gilliam, without the whimsy. (NR) 8 p.m. Sat. Feb. 11. Mahagonny is a four-panel work exceeding two hours in length, set to the Weill-Brecht opera, with street scenes, purely abstract groupings, and a few famous fellow artists (Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith). It's obsessive and hermetic, like a Henry Darger painting come to life. (NR) 8 p.m. Sun. Feb. 11.
Lesbian Double-Feature Two documentaries are screened: No Secret Anymore: The Times of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon profiles the noted activists from the 1950s forward; The Knock-Out looks at a dyke's adventures in the boxing ring. (NR) 1609 19th Ave., 026-910-3937. $5-$15. 7:30 p.m. Sat. Feb. 11.
Mighty Peking Man A King Kong rip-off made a year following the 1976 Dino de Laurentiis version, this low-budget Hong Kong monster movie has mighty ape Utam living peaceably in the Himalayas, raising a scantily clad blonde orphan beauty in the snows, until lured down to the big, bad city. There, yes, he's provoked into a rampage in order to protect the girl from an unscrupulous showbiz impresario. But, just as Jeff Bridges was waiting for Jessica Lange in the 1976 Kong, there's also a love story amid the cheesy effects and bad dubbing that makes MPM a Tarantino-endorsed favorite and a guilty pleasure of Roger Ebert. (PG-13) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $5-$7.50. 11 p.m. Fri. Feb. 10-Sat. Feb. 11.
Mobile Exposure Your Nokia could be the new Panavision camera, as demonstrated in this program of 19 short films—many of which were shot with cell-phone cameras (then presumably edited on laptops). As you'd expect, image quality really isn't the point; rather, there's an emphasis on spontaneity and everyday observation—the brief flashes on our retinas expanded into mini-narratives. In The Stolen Kiss, two strangers in London make a fleeting connection, try to call each other, and have their potential relationship—to be established by cell, of course—thwarted by an all-too-familiar barrier. Ketai amusingly lists off cutting-edge Japanese cell-phone features until you realize it's parody. (A phone can do liposuction?) Amor Es, seemingly constructed by a bored Spanish couple in an airport, documents their vacation and entire relationship. It's an inspiring collection: Suddenly the barrier to filmmaking seems a lot, well, smaller. (NR) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684. $5. 7 and 9 p.m. Wed. Feb. 8.
Movies in Haller Lake Two short documentaries, Terminal Bar and Flatland, precede the feature doc: Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary. Food and drink available. (NR) Haller Lake Community Club, 12579 Densmore Ave. N., www.hallerlake.org. $5-$6. 7 p.m. Sat. Feb. 11.
Movies at the Sunset Note that all shows are 21 and over. Straight to Hell, made by Alex Cox in 1987, means to be some kind of Spaghetti Western mash-up with several other genres; unfortunately, however, none of them work together. (R) Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 206-784-4880. Free. 7 p.m. Wed. Feb. 8. Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis are bound to help you work up a thirst in their 1983 SCTV-spawned Strange Brew. 7 p.m. Thurs. Feb. 9. Frank Zappa's 1979 concert filmBaby Snakes is for fans only. 7 p.m. Mon. Feb. 13. A dealer (Ron O'Neal) tries to quit the biz in the lesser Blaxploitation picture Superfly (1972), whose theme song was written by Curtis Mayfield. 7 p.m. Wed. Feb. 15.
9 1/2 Weeks The film that sent a thousand couples to the ice box, Adrian Lyne's 1986 romance stars Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger as a hot and photogenic pair of lovers. They've really got nothing to offer each other—or viewers—besides their well-toned bodies. Today, the film will seem just another icon of '80s nostalgia (with soundtrack tunes by Eurythmics, Corey Hart, Bryan Ferry, and others), good for a few snickers during the associated wine-tasting event. (R) Pink Door, 1919 Post Alley, 206-443-3241. $20. 7 p.m. Sun. Feb. 12.
Quantum Astrology Port Townsend astrologist and filmmaker Rick Levine discusses his stellar views. (NR) East West Books, 6500 Roosevelt Way N.E., 206-523-3726. Free. 2 p.m. Sun. Feb. 12.
Saboteur A very entertaining propaganda picture from 1942, Saboteur is in many ways a run-through for Hitchcock's great subsequent America-period thrillers. It's basically a wrong-man chase movie, with munitions factory worker Robert Cummings falsely arrested for arson. He gets free and sets out to clear his name (and uproot a nest of Nazi spies), aided by ordinary Americans like us, who look into his heart and realize he must be innocent. Norman Lloyd, who played the blind old friend of Cameron Diaz in the underrated In Her Shoes, is one of the sabotage gang, which is led by studio fixture Otto Kruger. Dorothy Parker had a hand in the script—not one of Hitchcock's wittiest, but again an indicator of thing to come. (NR) Museum of History and Industry, 2700 24th Ave. E., 206-654-3121. $7. 7:30 p.m. Thurs. Feb. 9.
Seattle Human Rights Film Fest More information follows next week, but Wednesday night begins the mini-festival with El Immigrante (at 7 p.m.), about a young Mexican man who died trying to cross the border. Co-director John Eckenrode will conduct a Q&A following the screening. It's followed by De Nadie (at 9 p.m.), which just picked up a prize at Sundance, the story of a Honduran woman who travels to the U.S. at great danger and expense in order to support her family back home. The festival, sponsored by Amnesty International, will show 19 titles and includes several planned opportunities for discussion. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-782-5206. Wed. Feb. 15-Sat. Feb. 18.
Spooktacular A couple of horror shorts precede Night of the Living Dead, George A. Romero's 1968 zombie ur-text, which is always a good reason to stay up late. If you like your new-school zombies fast, as in 28 Days Later, rent that instead. If you're a slow-zombie traditionalist, this is the preferred version for purists—with plenty of '60s social subtext thrown in, too. (NR) Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 206-781-5755. $6-$9. Midnight. Fri. Feb. 10-Sat. Feb. 11.
The State Counselor No program information. In Russian with English subtitles. The setting is pre-Revolutionary Moscow during the 1800s. (NR) Shoreline Community College (Room 1102), 16101 Greenwood Ave. N., 206-533-6700. Free. 7 p.m. Wed. Feb. 15.
There's Something About Mary Oh, when Cameron Diaz and the Farrelly brothers were exciting and new. This 1998 breakthrough comedy is probably the nearest modern equivalent to the Marx brothers—uncontrolled libido, random plotting, one vulgar laugh after another. Ben Stiller practically patented his screen persona in the film as the nebbish who, despite his seeming good sense, does one unforgivably stupid thing after another—including the famous zipper mishap—in pursuit of his beloved (Diaz). It's anarchic good fun, a fine Valentine's Day date movie, and troubadour Jonathan Richman provides just the bit of structure that the Farrelly brothers need, and have been lacking of late. (R) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 206-686-6684. $5. 6:45 and 9:30 p.m. Thurs. Feb. 9-Sun. Feb 12; also 4 p.m. Sat. Feb. 11-Sun. Feb. 12.