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Film Comment Selects At The Walter Reade Theater

Tuesday, February 6-----Film Comment, the print magaziine of the Film Society of Lincoln Center is presenting its 8th Annual Film Comment Selects series from February 14 to 27 at the Walter Reade Theater, the Film Society's year-round cinematheque. The series has earned a reputation for offering one of the most adventurous single showcases for international filmmaking, covering numerous genres and styles. With films selected from the international festival circuit by Film Comment’s distinguished roster of editors and contributors, the eighth edition is a truly eclectic mix.

Film Comment Selects opens on Valentine’s Day with a screening of French director Jean-Claude Brisseau's erotic and controversial film, EXTERMINATING ANGELS, which premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Closing the series will be the US Premiere of BLACK BOOK, Dutch director Paul Verhoeven's equally controversial World War II thriller, which will include an onstage dialogue with Verhoeven (best known for BASIC INSTINCT) and Film Comment editor Gavin Smith.

Other well-known international talents who are premiering their films in the series: Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki presents his latest tongue-in-cheek black comedy LIGHTS IN THE DUSK, the final film in the cult director's "loser trilogy"; Italian director Marco Bellochio, whose latest film THE WEDDING DIRECTOR is a kind of contemporary 8 1/2, as Bellochio muse Sergio Castellito stars as a filmmaker at the end of his rope; and Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, whose film RETRIBUTION is an imaginative take on the classic film thriller, as a police detective investigates a serial murder case in the Tokyo Bay area.

Five films in this year’s series come from Asia, including Hong Kong director Johnnie To’s newest gangster film EXILED and the U.S. Premiere screening of Lou Ye’s SUMMER PALACE, the story of a country girl’s political and sexual liberation, that was banned by the Chinese authorities.

Other series highlights include: two existential environment films from American avant-guardist James Benning; THE YACOUBIAN BUILDING, Egyptian director Marwan Hamed’s exploration of The film explores the intersecting lives of the residents of a single Cairo apartment block; and COLOSSAL YOUTH, French director Pedro Costa's Lisbon-set drama about a Cape Verdean immigrant and her encounters with friends, neighbors and family.

Film buffs will delight in THESE ENCOUNTERS OF THEIRS, the final collaboration by husband-and wife-team Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, following the latter’s death last October. The film won a special prize at the 2006 Venice Film Festival for “innovation in the language of cinema.”

The series also deliciously offers up rarely screened cult classics that seems as contemporary as the day that they were released. PLAY IT AS IT LAYS (1972), directed by Frank Perry from Joan Didion's novel, stars Tuesday Weld as a model-turned-actress whose life is destroyed by the demands of her Hollywood lifestyle (with a terrific Anthony Perkins in one of his best later roles).

The current paranoia about government and military abuse of power was presciently captured in TWILIGHT'S LAST GLEAMING (1977), an underappreciated film by the great Robert Aldrich (WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE). In this taut thriller, Burt Lancaster plays a renegade Air Force general who takes over a nuclear missile silo in an attempt to force the U.S. President (Charles Durning) to reveal the true motivation behind the Vietnam War. The stellar cast also features Richard Widmark, Melvyn Douglas, Roscoe Lee Browne and Joseph Cotten. A special "director's cut" of the film, restored by UCLA Film Archives, features a number of incendiary scenes cut from the film's original release.

For more information on the series and other upcoming events, visit the website: Film Society of Lincoln Center

Sandy Mandelberger
Film New York Editor

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Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

The Ultimate Guide to the New York Film, Video and New Media Scene.

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