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Afi Film Fest: The Final Week

March 22, 1987|MICHAEL WILMINGTON

T he following are capsule reviews of this week's screenings at the AFI Film Festival of Los Angeles. Screenings take place at the Los Feliz Theater, 1822 N. Vermont Ave., Hollywood, except where noted. Tickets and information: (213) 520-2000 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. TUESDAY

"Scarecrow" (U.S.S.R., 1985, 7:30 p.m.). Although this movie (the Soviet Union's biggest 1985 box-office hit) is variable and has an ending that goes on endlessly, like a bombastic symphony, it has major plusses: great gray atmosphere and a group of the best 12-year-old actors you'll ever see--including, in the lead, stunning little Christina Orbakaite. Is this a Soviet "Stand By Me"? Not quite. The world here is crueler, colder, more nightmarish: a group of sixth-graders unfairly ostracize and persecute a skinny newcomer. Director Rolan Blykov has a weakness for symbols and sermons, but he guides and understands these kids, and their sub-social order, uncommonly well. Recommended.

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