AMOUR FOU Austrian writer-director Jessica Hausner draws a surprisingly entertaining film from the famous suicide pact of German dramatist and poet Heinrich von Kleist (Christian Friedel) and Henriette Vogel (Birte Schnoeink) in 1811. What makes this little film such a gem? In good part it’s the dry-as-bones wit with which Hausner spins her tale of self-indulgent romanticism. And taking center stage from the hapless protagonists is art direction that positively radiates life and character. This may sound like a backhanded compliment, but it’s not. The vibrant, painterly images, both exterior and especially interior, will raise modest gasps of appreciation. Not rated. 96 minutes. In German with subtitles. The Screen , Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards) See review, Page 40.
EFFIE GRAY This psychosexual historical drama about British 19th-century superstar art critic John Ruskin and his teenage bride issues from the pen of Emma Thompson, but she seems to be as dismayed with the outcome as the rest of us, especially after a couple of plagiarism lawsuits. She has skipped premieres and dodged interviews. As directed by Richard Laxton, Effie Gray is a beautiful but dreary, heavy-handed work that only truly comes to life in the few scenes in which Thompson herself appears. As the title character who married Ruskin only to be spurned sexually and emotionally, Dakota Fanning is appealing, but almost as ill-served by Laxton as Effie was by Ruskin. Rated PG-13. 108 minutes. Jean Cocteau Cinema , Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)
FURIOUS 7 The loss of star Paul Walker (who died before the film was complete) hasn’t shifted this invincible franchise down a single gear. This time, Kurt Russell and Jason Statham (in an expanded role) join a cast that includes Walker, Vin Diesel, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Ludacris, and a garage full of muscle cars. Rated PG-13. 137 minutes. Regal Stadium 14 , Santa Fe; DreamCatcher , Española. (Not reviewed)
AN HONEST LIAR This documentary looks at James Randi, the world-famous magician and escape artist who devoted himself to exposing people who claimed to be faith healers and psychics. Randi appears via Skype after the 6 p.m. Friday, April 3, screening. Not rated. 90 minutes. Center for Contemporary Arts , Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
THE MARQUISE OF O The latest film in The Screen’s Films to See Before You Die series is Eric Rohmer’s 1976 movie about a woman in 1799 Italy who falls in love with a Russian count and then fights for her innocence when she becomes pregnant while he is away. Edith Clever and Bruno Ganz star. Rated PG. 102 minutes. In German with subtitles. The Screen , Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
REEL NEW MEXICO The monthly series showcasing independent films with a New Mexico connection continues with The Hi-Lo Country (1998). Billy Crudup, Sam Elliott, and Patricia Arquette star. 7 p.m. Thursday, April. 9, only. Not rated. La Tienda Performance Space , 7 Caliente Road off Avenida Vista Grande, Eldorado. (Not reviewed)
SEYMOUR: AN INTRODUCTION A chance meeting with the remarkable musician Seymour Bernstein inspired actor Ethan Hawke to direct this intimate and beguiling documentary. Bernstein withdrew from a serious career as a concert pianist when he decided that touring did not make him happy, and devoted himself instead to teaching, contemplating, and loving music. He strews nuggets of wisdom without being self-conscious or pompous about it. Bernstein is the sort of elder sage anyone would benefit from
spending time with, and viewers cannot help but derive inspiration from their exposure to this kind, sensitive, compassionate soul. No music lover should miss the opportunity — nor should anyone else. Rated PG. 84 minutes. Center for Contemporary Arts , Santa Fe. ( James M. Keller) See review, Page 38.