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Filmex Reviews

March 20, 1985|KEVIN THOMAS

Following is a partial look at films screening today at the Mann's Westwood Triplex.

'HEARTS AND DIAMONDS' United States, 1984, 83 minutes 12:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.

This is Lucinda Jenney's distressingly inept posing of the old dilemma: Can a poor girl can find happiness with a rich boy, or is she better off sticking with her own kind? Incredibly, there's even a crudely interjected Three Mile Island subplot. The heroine does get a laugh, although possibly unintended, when she reveals that her autograph-seeking mother was run over by Loretta Lynn's tour bus.

'THE HORIZON' Japan, 1984, 135 minutes 12:30 p.m. and 7:35 p.m.

Said to be inspired by the experiences of the sister of its veteran writer-director, Kaneto Shindo, and spanning 1920 to the postwar era, "The Horizon" is a highly uneven epic of the Japanese-American experience told from a Japanese point of view. The first part, which tells of a picture bride's adjustment to a harsh life in a new world, is most impressive; subsequently the film wavers badly, developing a shaky sense of time and place, only partially redeemed by Nobuko Otowa's performance of the bride in maturity. The concentration camp sequences are powerful, but virtually every Anglo on screen is portrayed as a shrill stock-company villain.

'SMALL HAPPINESS: WOMEN OF A CHINESE VILLAGE' United States, 1984, 85 minutes 5:15 p.m.

In Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon's infectious documentary, made without interference from the government of the People's Republic of China, some sturdy farm women tell of their lives with hearty humor and remarkable candor (and pain, too), revealing that if women's liberation has yet to reach its millennium, the lot of the Chinese peasant woman is today virtual paradise in contrast to her status before the communist revolution. The elderly women reveal the horrors of foot-binding, as well as their virtual slave status; the younger ones speak of daring to stage a strike in a saw-blade factory. Co-featured is Lucy Ostrander's informative "Witness to Revolution" (U.S., 1984), a 29-minute documentary on the life of radical journalist Anna Louise Strong, who spent most of her adult life in the Soviet Union and China. RECOMMENDED.

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