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July 14, 2011 Edition

Kisses


Quietly funny and smart, this is a small-budget film with magic. It’s Christmas and 10-year old Kylie and her 11-year old next-door neighbor, Dylan, are running away from their abusive homes to the big city of Dublin, hoping to find Dylan’s older brother who ran away years before. The two hope the hush money from Kylie’s uncle will keep them going till they find him, but the reality is that it’s not even enough to find them shelter for the night. The city, which seemed so full of magic and promise in daylight, darkens quickly as the light fades. Soon they realize that their best option is to go home again, but not before a lifelong unbreakable friendship is formed.

Treme, season 1


Music is as much a part of life in New Orleans as breathing, and in this series, it plays as big a role. This 4-disk set weaves together the stories of musicians and bar owners, juxtaposes the hard work of maintaining identities in the face of post-Katrina losses, and only lightly refers to the politics behind the problems in the rebuilding efforts. Follow Toni, a civil rights attorney who has been hired to find LaDonna’s brother, missing since the hurricane, with any resolution hampered by the city’s broken bureaucracy. Along the way, get to know musicians Antoine and Sonny, Mardi Gras Indian chief Albert Lambreaux, restaurant owner Janette, and even the tourists who come to gape at the destruction. This is a fascinating series with a fantastic soundtrack.

You Don’t Know Jack


Based on Jack Kevorkian’s life, this relatively apolitical film follows Kevorkian’s rise to the public consciousness (he becomes “America’s quack” even before his “mercy machine” helps its first patient), through his various evictions, lawsuits, and court appearances. His heartfelt and stubborn belief that the terminally ill have a right to determine how they will die polarized the American public in the 80s and continues to spur debate in many venues today. Get to know a little more about the man behind the controversy with this HBO film.

Zift


Set in post-Communist Bulgaria, this follows Moth, who has just been paroled from prison after serving time for a murder he didn’t commit. He did, however, commit a lucrative robbery, and now that he’s out, his old partners want to know what happened to the money. Moth isn’t sure whom he can trust any more, but hopes his old lover is still faithful. Black-and-white with subtitles, this suspense-thriller isn’t for everyone, but those who love noir will enjoy this richly-filmed multinational award winner.

Sita Sings the Blues


It’s not often that Indonesian shadow puppets, temple sculptures, and Mughal paintings brought to animated life come together to tell a story from Indian mythology, embellished by 1920’s torch songs and dance numbers. Though Sita loves her husband, the Prince Rama, he treats her badly, and their story echoes that of an American woman living in modern India with her husband. As the story weaves between modern and mythological, so does the animation style, from two-dimensional collage to pencil sketch to classical Indian artistry. Beautiful, boisterous, and laugh-out-loud funny, but – parents - keep in mind that “animated” doesn’t always mean “for kids” – preview before sharing.

Soul Kitchen


Zinos is a Greek living in Germany, trying to make a go of his restaurant. He’s got a great vision for the place, but he’s also saddled with an ex-con brother, a rival who’d like nothing better than to buy him out and build condos, and a chef who is borderline crazy. On the plus side, Zinos has also got a lovely girlfriend, Nadine, but when she accepts a job in Shanghai, he’s heartbroken. When things start stabilizing at the restaurant, he decides to find Nadine and persuade her to come home. Leaving the restaurant in Illias’ incapable hands, he takes off for China, only to meet disappointment. Returning home is no better: Illias has lost the restaurant in a gambling bet. If the two brothers can pull themselves together, there’s a chance they can save the situation, but it’s a slim chance and a mighty big “if.”

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