One of Satyajit Ray’s greatest early films (1962), full of sensuality and ironic undertones, Devi is sufficiently critical of Hindu superstition that it was originally banned from foreign distribution until Nehru interceded. The plot concerns a wealthy and devout landowner in the 19th century who believes his daughter-in-law (Sharmila Tagore) is the reincarnation of the goddess Kali and convinces her that he’s right. With Soumitra Chatterji and Chhabi Biswas. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, November 3 through 9.
Writer-director Rashid Masharawi offers a visually striking, dramatically effective depiction (1994) of 24 hours in the life of a Palestinian family living in a refugee camp on the Gaza Strip in 1993, shortly before the beginning of peace negotiations. An indefinite curfew is announced while a young boy in the family reads aloud a letter from his older brother, who’s studying in Germany; the effect of the occupation on the community as a whole as well as on a single family is explored in some detail. Recommended. (JR)
An effective mood piece from Greece, directed by Nikos Vergitsis. A young man is shaken (literally) out of his apathy when an earthquake strikes his apartment building; he resolves to finally make his move on his best friend’s girl, whom he has worshiped from afar. There aren’t many surprises in the script (which might have served any young director of the French New Wave), but Vergitsis keeps it percolating with striking atmospheres and sudden leaps into stylization. (JR)