The Gate of Heavenly Peace

An immensely valuable three-hour 1995 documentary by Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon about the events in China’s Tiananmen Square in 1989–what led up to them, what they were, and what has ensued since. One of the most impressive things about this film is its view from the inside (Hinton has lived in China for most of her life); another is its refusal to adopt a single partisan position or to assume, as the filmmakers themselves put it, that there’s only one correct path for China. Drawing on archival materials, the filmmakers have also benefited from expert advisers–Orville Schell, for instance, served as a consultant. If you want to learn more about this pivotal event, this is a film likely to revise the very terms of your understanding it. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Saturday, May 25, 2:30; Sunday, May 26, 3:00 and 6:30; and Tuesday and Thursday, May 28 and 30, 6:00; 443-3737. –Jonathan Rosenbaum

Published on 24 May 1996 in Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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Stefano Many Stories

Italian writer-director-comedian Maurizio Nichetti (The Icicle Thief) stars as a policeman with an overactive imagination; while trying to cope with the fact that a woman he’s fallen for has committed a robbery he’s trying to solve, he develops five alter egos, each played out in a separate flashback (1993). As a rule, Nichetti’s films alternate between imaginative efforts like Ratataplan and The Icicle Thief and relatively tepid efforts like Volere volare; this picture belongs in the latter category, though it’s amiable enough. (JR)

Published on 01 May 1996 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Family Nest

Bela Tarr’s first feature (1977) and in every respect his rawesta blunt piece of Hungarian social realism about a young couple forced to live with the husband’s parents in a one-room apartment. This is strong stuff, but the highly formal director of Almanac of Fall, Damnation, and Satantango is still far from apparent. (JR)

Published on 01 May 1996 in Featured Texts, by admin

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