‘Tales of Europe’ mini-fes­ti­val of­fers 5 new movies from France and Italy “Tales of Europe” Film Fes­ti­val

Film­columbia week of screen­ings starts Fri­day night

Albany Times Union - - AROUND THE REGION - By Lynda J. Ed­wards Film Columbia Artis­tic Di­rec­tor Lau­rence Kardish ▶ lyed­wards@time­sunion. com 518-454-5403

You have to watch care­fully be­cause it’s like a good puz­zle fit­ting to­gether.”

Lau­rence Kardish has every­one’s dream job: fly­ing to film festivals in Cannes, Rome, Ed­in­burgh and Park City, Utah. He shows his fa­vorites in Chatham’s Cran­dell Theatre for the an­nual Film­columbia fes­ti­val.

Kardish was a Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art se­nior cu­ra­tor for film for 44 years, or­ga­niz­ing crit­i­cally ac­claimed ret­ro­spec­tives and festivals, be­fore be­com­ing Film­columbia artis­tic di­rec­tor. This week­end, he’s of­fer­ing “Tales of Europe,” a minifes­ti­val of five new films from France and Italy.

His eclec­tic taste ranges from “Some Like It Hot” and “Chi­na­town” to “Clue­less” and “Text of Light,” a film shot en­tirely through a glass ash­tray. (“Don’t stream that,” he said of the lat­ter. “It’s re­ally for diehard film buffs and has to be on a big screen.”)

Kardish ex­plained what he loved about the films he se­lected for this week­end:

“All That Di­vides Us” stars im­pos­si­bly el­e­gant su­per­star Cather­ine Deneuve as a rich French ex­ec­u­tive who bat­tles drug-deal­ing gang­sters with a shot­gun and Clevel ruth­less­ness when the crim­i­nals threaten her painkiller-ad­dicted daugh­ter. Her daugh­ter is played by Diane Kruger, whom most Amer­i­cans know from Quentin Tarantino’s “In­glou­ri­ous Bas­terds.”

For Kardish, the con­flict between so­cial classes — up­per mid­dle class, so­cially con­nected white women ver­sus im­pov­er­ished, so­cially iso­lated blacks — is as ab­sorb­ing as the ac­tion. The film al­ludes to the gang mem­bers be­ing of Al­ge­rian de­scent. Kardish notes that Al­ge­ria’s suc­cess­ful re­bel­lion against French rule haunts France in the same way Amer­ica is haunted by the Viet­nam War.

“Those wars shaped how our coun­tries look at race,” Kardish said. “The movie poses the ques­tion: How much of the way you act and re­spond are due to your so­cial class and not ideals or per­son­al­ity?”

“Af­ter the War,” by young fe­male di­rec­tor An­narita Zam­brano, is an Ital­ian thriller fo­cused on Marco, a for­mer ter­ror­ist. He be­longed to a 1970s Ital­ian rev­o­lu­tion­ary group much like Italy’s Red Bri­gades that kid­napped and mur­dered politi­cians and po­lice­men, and robbed banks. Marco fled pros­e­cu­tion in Italy to France where he raised his daugh­ter in a nor­mal, peace­ful mi­lieu. Then a pro­fes­sor is as­sas­si­nated and the killer salutes Marco by name. Italy wants to ex­tra­dite Marco.

Kardish sa­vors the mys­tery in­side the thriller: Is Marco a cold killer who rel­ished vi­o­lence or a mis­guided ide­al­ist des­per­ate to end a cor­rupt sys­tem?

“You have to watch care­fully be­cause it’s like a good puz­zle fit­ting to­gether,” Kardish said. “Marco may not be clear in his own heart. You look for clues as to whether he re­pu­di­ated killing or if dull ev­ery­day life just lulled him into be­ing con­ven­tional.”

“For­tu­nata” is about an Ital­ian hair stylist who longs for her own sa­lon, then has af­fair with her child’s psy­chol­o­gist; mis­ad­ven­tures en­sue. Kardish ad­mires wri­ter­di­rec­tor Ser­gio Castel­litto.

“Catch the Wind” fol­lows a mid­dle-aged French fac­tory worker, Edith (San­drine Bon­naire), whose em­ployer ships his com­pany’s jobs from France to Morocco. Edith moves to Morocco to pur­sue her job. She is warned by lo­cal women not to wear her blonde hair loose, and the hot cli­mate is a shock.

But her life be­comes far more in­ter­est­ing. Kardish is a fan of star Bon­naire (“one of Europe’s best ac­tresses”) and di­rec­tor Gael Morel.

“Djam” is the hero­ine’s name and an ur­ban mu­sic genre filled with yearn­ing for lost homes, or per­haps an ideal haven ex­ist­ing only in the singer’s heart. Ro­many di­rec­tor Tony Gatlif fol­lows two strangers on a road trip that mir­rors the path of Syr­ian refugees. Some crit­ics com­plained the

■ Fri­day: “All That Di­vides Us” at Cran­dell Theatre, 7 p.m.

■ Week­end to Thurs­day: Mul­ti­ple show­ings of “Af­ter the War,” “Djam,” “For­tu­nata,” “All That Di­vides Us,” “Catch the Wind” see on­line for times.

■ Tick­ets: Avail­able one hour be­fore each show­ing, $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for chil­dren.

■ More info: www.cran­dellthe­atre.com

di­rec­tor shoe­horned sex scenes into “Djam” that had lit­tle to do with logic or plot.

“That’s true,” Kardish said, sigh­ing. “Maybe some­one con­vinced the di­rec­tor the sex would be good for trail­ers. But this is an ex­cel­lent di­rec­tor whose work isn’t known much Amer­ica. His Ro­many ex­pe­ri­ence deep­ens a film about cross­ing bor­ders. And it con­tains real joy­ful­ness.”

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