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March 28, 1985|KEVIN THOMAS

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

Switzerland, 1984 , 95 minutes. 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The 1984 winner of the best foreign language film Oscar is a low-key political allegory, respectable rather than wholly riveting, in which the Soviet Union's ailing top chess player (Michel Piccoli) takes on a young, dissident Russian emigre (Alexandre Arbatt, who actually is a Russian emigre) for the world championship. For once, however, it is the dissident who's unscrupulous. Written and directed by newcomer Richard Dembo, "Dangerous Moves" also features other strong portrayals from Leslie Caron as Piccoli's concerned wife and Liv Ullmann as the ravaged wife of Arbatt, at last allowed to leave the Soviet Union so that her presence at the match will unnerve her husband.


Brazil, 1984, 173 minutes. 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. A major work by Nelson Pereira dos Santos, one of the founders of Brazil's Cinema Nuovo, this beautiful, grueling, deeply contemplative film brings to life an autobiographical novel by Graciliano Ramos, who in 1936, during one of Brazil's most repressive periods, was imprisoned without a trial for a number of years under progressively severe conditions. Carlos Vereza is superb as Ramos, an intellectual whose ordeal only deepens his compassion for his fellow man, oppressor as well as oppressed. As has been noted, Ramos' various prisons become a metaphor for Brazil itself. RECOMMENDED.


U.S.A., 1985, 107 minutes. 2:45 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Feature-debuting director Adam Brooks and writer Mark Horowitz attempt to find humor and poignancy in the plight of a Manhattan yuppie (Griffin Dunne) who doesn't know what he wants out of life. But Dunne, his wife (Brooke Adams) and their friends are so obnoxious that watching this film becomes an increasingly grim experience. "Almost You" lacks totally what it needs most: charm.


USA, 1984, 86 minutes. 5:15 p.m. The most impressive of these four films about deception and illusions is Damian Harris' imaginative "Killing Time," in which a young horror-comic artist discovers that his scariest fantasies may be coming true. Jan Eliasberg's "The Doctor," with Richard Masur effective in the title role as a rigid physician shattered by tragedy, and Kenneth Bowser's "Sleep Tight," about a little boy visited by a dying killer on the run whom he takes to be the sandman, are respectably made, straightforward narratives. Tim Upham's "They Promised" tells, a bit awkwardly at times, of two Cheyenne Indian brothers who clash over the disposal of their ancestral lands. On the whole, this is a worthy rather than dazzling collection at the student level of film-making.


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