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Film Festival Maastricht: event of the South early April

Film Festival Maastricht 6th - 9th April-
The film event of the South!
For a period of 4 days Filmtheater Lumière will be the venue for the annual ’film festival Maastricht’. The second edition of the festival comprises more than 40 titles for your consideration. With anything between new mainstream films, cutting-edge independent-productions from the U.S., the best in world cinema from all over the globe and major new works from renowned artists in the business making up the program, it may at first seem like an exhausting array. Well, that all depends. We guarantee that quality over quantity-criteria has been taken into account when selecting the films, so you can’t really miss. Our advice therefore: indulge yourself.
Especially considering that almost all of these films are exclusively avant-premieres, there really is no better judge than yourself. Not a movie-buff? Why not just drop by and relax you senses in the homily atmosphere of our friendly environment? Remember it’s not just about films, it is also a festival. Enjoy.

The films listed below are either English-language titles or films with English subtitles. For films with only Dutch subtitles refer to the main website of Film Festival Maastricht.

Jan Svankmajer, Czech Republic/Slovakia 2005, 118 min., Czech dialogue. With: Pavel Liska, Jan Tríska, Anna Geisterová
The latest from Czech animation-master Jan Svankmajer finds him rummaging through familiar territory. Luckily for us, his films deal with anything but the well-known. The elderly maestro of the surreal again confounds expectations with LUNACY, which will be shown as an exclusive imported version during the festival. For the uninitiated, be warned: his overwhelming mixture of live-action sequences and (stop-motion-) animation is suffused with grotesque imagery straight from a minor Hieronymus Bosch-painting. For the devout: yes, he won’t forget the dancing meat slices this time round. …Food for bittersweet dreams and nightmares to wake up laughing from indeed.

Breakfast on Pluto
Neil Jordan, Ireland/U.K. 2005, 135 min., Engels dialogue. With: Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson, Ruth Negga, Laurence Konlan, Stephen Rea
BREAKFAST ON PLUTO’s unlikely hero Patrick is even more glam than the lush 70s-sounds suffusing the movie itself. Fully in drag, he tries to make it big time in swinging Soho, at the same time on a search for the mother he never knew. Don’t let this strange setup scare you away though. The intrinsic worth of the film comes for a great part from its maker. Renowned Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan (Mona Lisa, The Butch Boy), is as always prone to spark a little controversy. Here, he does so by again choosing to film a book by Irish writer Patrick McCabe, again staring Liam Neeson and Stephen Rea in luminous supporting roles. BREAKFAST ON PLUTO sparks on all fronts and will definitely work its magic as an extravagant and effective drama

David LaChapelle, U.S./U.K. 2005, 86 min., English dialogue. With: Lil C., Tommy the Clown, Dragon, Tight Eyez
Still trying to impress the adolescents at home by bringing up conversations about street dance, break-dance or even (god forbid) Riverdance? Wake up and smell the sweat, as the kids in this documentary show that not only they are the street-wisest homies on the block, but prove they can do a whole lot more when it comes to dancing. Director David LaChapelle documents the latest craze in urban-lifestyle by showing a exuberating mix of dance music and crazy bodily movements called ’clowning’. For those in the know: best illustrated in the music video for The Chemical Brothers’ Galvanize, and even though your not likely to learn any new dance steps to impress your friends with in the local disco, the sheer exhilaration of just watching these youngsters at play will bound to spark a bona fide adrenaline-rush.

Woman in the Window
Fritz Lang, U.S. 1945, 99 min., Engels dialogue. With: Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea, Raymond Massey
Can you cast a sympathetic look on a seemingly successful man who just committed the folly of his life by foolishly murdering an unknown guy just to be able to court a woman he met merely a minute ago? Maybe not, but German director Fritz Lang is just the man on the job in convincing you that the devastating inner-turmoil haunting veteran actor Edward G. Robinson in this prime example of 40’s film noir at least makes for excellent viewing. For all you aficionados of the broodingly dark in cinema, rediscover this classic of the early Hollywood screen and immerse yourself in the pitch-black world of one of film history’s greatest directors.

Mohamed Al-Daradji, Iraq/U.K./The Netherlands 2005, 110 min., video, Arabic dialogue, English subtitles. With: Aseel Adil, Basher Al-Majidi, Mohamed Hashim, Kaheel Khalid, Mortadha Saadi
To make a critical film in angst-ridden Iraq during the first stages of the ‘American invasion’ was never prone to be an easy task. Ask Iraqi filmmaker Mohamed Al-Daradji, who had to face many life-threatening perils before he could finally start post-production on AHLAAM, his latest film. The results speak for his perseverance. Staying clear of well-tread paths and luckily refraining from making an overtly political pamphlet, AHLAAM focuses on the young heroine of the title. Together with an ex-frontline soldier both barely manage to escape from the ashes of an psychiatric clinic bombed during the U.S.- ‘shock and awe’-military tactics, only to find the streets of Baghdad overrun by rapists, looters and other criminals. The woman’s family tries to trace her path and endeavor to save the couple from the disastrous grounds of the Iraqi capital.

Bent Hamer, Germany/U.S./Norway 2005, 94 min., English dialogue. With: Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor, Fisher Stevens, Marisa Tomei, Didier Flamand, Adrienne Shelly
Matt Dillon picks up where Mickey Rourke (in BARFLY) left of in portraying the literary world’s favorite boozing poet and cult-novelist Charles Bukowski. The author famous for writing such misanthropic works as ‘Post-office’ and ‘Women’ wrote the book FACTOTUM is based on and proves the inspiration for his on-screen alter ego Henry Chinaski. Seemingly on the fringes of life, Chinaski drowns himself in alcohol, sex and betting on horses, at the same time trying to get his masterful prose published. Matt Dillon again (after Oscar-winner CRASH) proves himself worthy the title of great actor, in this small but ultimately poignant ‘bio-pic’.

Old Joy
Kelly Reichardt, U.S. 2005, 76 min., video, Engels dialogue. With: Daniel London, Will Oldham
The basic premise of OLD JOY is best described as a meditative journey through natural surroundings with existential undertones. Sounds like the latest exercise of Kim Ki-Duk? Well, it isn’t exactly, as OLD JOY has the tag ‘American-independent production’ written al over. The film finds a character played by underground music superstar Will Oldham (making music under the moniker of Palace and Bonny Prince Billy) on an introspective journey together with an old friend through Oregon mountain-land. They embark on the trip high-spirited but soon find out that they both have grown apart since the early years of their friendship. Both ‘ease down the road’ to an ill-fated destiny, straining their friendship. Winner of the International Film Festival Rotterdam- Tiger Award competition

Opal Dream
Peter Cattaneo, Australië/U.K. 2005, 103 min., Engels dialogue. With: Vince Colosimo, Jacqueline McKenzie, Christian Byers, Sapphire Boyce, Abigail Gudgeon
If the 9-year old girl in OPAL DREAM may well be regarded a bit of a loner compared to other kids her age, she has enough imaginary friends to make up a pantheon of playmates. But when something unexpected happens to her invisible soulmates, her quiet little environment soon finds itself in sheds. Her brother tries to find a solution. A family-friendly film which doesn’t shy away from big emotions and is prone to render laughs and tears in equal measures.

Shanghai Dreams
Wang Xiaoshuai, China 2005, 119 min., Mandarin/ Shanghai dialogue, English subtitles With: Gao Yuanyuan, Li Bin, Yan Anlian, Tang Yang, Wang Xueyang
A teenage girl rebels against her overprotective and mean father. If it may seem a slight premise for a full-blown feature, its allegorical implications are not lost when interwoven with the story of her family living in Maoist’ Shanghai. Deported with other families to a dreary rural backdrop, soon the father is put to labor in a local factory by the Communist’ regime. His dreams of escaping to the big city are thwarted furthermore by the nascent love life of his daughter who finds herself in love with a local boy.

Shooting Dogs
Michael Caton-Jones, U.K. 2005, 114 min., English dialogue. With: John Hurt, Hugh Dancy, Claire-Hope Ashley, Dominique Horwitz
After HOTEL RWANDA, SHOOTING DOGS is again based on the horrid real-life events sparking Rwanda’s
1994 Tutsi genocide. On par with the former film when it comes to storyline, character development and sheer impact, it effectively avoids sliding into cliché. A British teacher (played by John Hurt) and his youthful aid employed at a Technological School try to provide shelter for and save refugees from the hands of their militant adversaries. Rwanda depicted as a hotbed for ethnic unrest, in this gripping and moving thriller.

Duncan Tucker, U.S. 2005, 103 min., English dialogue. With: Felicity Huffman, Kevin Zegers, Elizabeth Peña, Fionnula Flanagan, Burt Young, Carrie Preston, Graham Greene
Before Mr. Stanley became Mrs. Bree, he/she did expect things to get complicated but not that it would come in the form of news of an offspring she once inadvertently conceived during a short heterosexual stint Bailing him (now 17 years old) out of jail, the unlikely pair embark on a cross-country car trip through conservative America. Ignorant of his new-found mother’s unlikely background, the two have a hard time getting to grips with each other. Felicity Huffman’s Golden Globe winning and Oscar-nominated performance packs a punch while the tender heart of the film will leave no one indifferent.

Filmconcert Maud Nelissen
- BIG BUSINESS (1929) – James W.Horne & Leo McCarey
- YOU’RE DARN TOOTIN’ (1928) – Edgar Kennedy
- LIBERTY (1929) – Leo McCarey
3 classic short Laurel and Hardy-films of the silent age with dynamical backing-music by music collective Maud Nelissen & The Sprockets. At Lumière the second time round, so definitely recommended.

1 giant leap
Duncan Bridgeman and Jamie Catto, U.S. 2002, 155 min., video, English dialogue, no subtitles. With: Neneh Cherry, Michael Stipe, Brian Eno, Dennis Hopper, Robbie Williams, Kurt Vonnegut Jr
Armed with a notebook and a keen sense of locating the unexpected in audio culture spanning the globe, musician Jamie Catto (faithless) and producer-friend Duncan Bridgeman embarked on a journey together early 2002. The result of their collaboration is 1 GIANT LEAP, an experimental visual essay aiming to merge different aspects of culture, arts and religion.

Ballets russes
Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine, U.S, 2005, 118 min., Engels dialogue, color and black and white. With: former dancers of the Ballets Russes
A documentary of the revolutionary ballet-ensemble ‘Ballet Russe’ (since 1909). A cinematographically fascinating insight of the art, suffused with a fair amount of spicy details the old-age dancers manage to recollect from their memories.

Look both ways
Sarah Watt, Australië 2005, 100 min., Engels dialogue. With: Justine Clarke, William McInnes, Anthony Hayes, Lisa Flanagan, Andrew S. Gilbert
The sprawling dexterity of mind of Australian animator Sarah Watt make up this fabulously entertaining film in which people with very different lives meet each other in unexpected ways. The derailing of a train is the offset for a series of moving, sad but often very funny encounters. Think SHORT CUTS meets YOU AND ME AND EVERYONE WE KNOW. See this one once and you’ll want to see it a


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