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Today At The Afi

July 01, 1993| Compiled by Michael Wilmington

F ollowing are The Times' recommendations for today's schedule of the American Film Institute International Film Festival, with commentary by the film reviewing staff. All screenings , unless otherwise noted, are at Laemmle's Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd. Information: (213) 466-1767. Highly Recommended:

"MAN OF IRON"(Poland, 1981; director Andrzej Wajda; 1:15 & 6:15 p.m.). Wajda's stirring sequel to his 1977 "Man of Marble" is both a revisionist look at Polish repression and an undisguised paean to the Solidarity movement. (Lech Walesa briefly appears as himself.) With Jerzy Radzilowicz and Krystna Janda; Cannes Film Festival Grand Prize winner.

"SUNDAY'S CHILDREN"(Sweden; Daniel Bergman; 1:30 & 6:30 p.m.). The best new film in AFIFEST 1993, this unusually poignant collaboration between two generations of Bergmans--scenarist-father Ingmar and director-son Daniel--gains much of its power from stark, unsparing family revelations: the world of pastor-grandfather Eric, whose married life with Bergman's mother, Karin, was brilliantly explored in last year's "Best Intentions." Bergman's writing has never been better: naked, lucid, eloquent. The direction, surprisingly, is masterful, too. Daniel shows his father's lyrical intensity and his compassion; they both extend it, unforgettably, to the generation before them.

"WILD STRAWBERRIES"(Sweden, 1957; Ingmar Bergman; 4:15 & 9:15 p.m.). The masterpiece of Bergman's middle period, "Wild Strawberries" is a perfectly structured psychological drama about an old professor's journey through outer and inner landscapes. While driving toward Stockholm and high professional honors with his daughter-in-law, Isak Borg (filmmaker Victor Sjostrom) meets a series of youthful or eccentric hitchhikers; meanwhile, his dreams carry him back to his past and some of the darkest nights of his soul. Ingrid Thulin, Bibi Andersson, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Gunnel Lindblom and Max Von Sydow are all in the cast.

Recommended:

FIRST FILM COMPETITION WINNER: "PRAYING WITH ANGER"(U.S.; M. Night Shyamalan; 1:40 & 6:50 p.m.). Wonderfully assured for a first-time, 21-year-old writer-director--much less one also producing and starring in his own film--Shyamalan creates a familiar, but stimulating, study of culture clash: an Indian-American teen-ager, trying to cope with all the morays and surprises of Indian life. The 1993 winner of AFIFEST's competition for debut features by American independent directors.

CLOSING NIGHT GALA: "CHANTILLY LACE"(U.S.; Linda Yellen; 4 & 9 p.m.). Seven friends, all somewhat upscale women, gather together on three separate occasions in the Utah mountains (Sundance); over a year, their lives change, their love and loyalty solidify. Much in the spirit of Mike Leigh or early John Cassavetes, director Yellen allows her ensemble to join in the film's writing, basing the script on her own detailed outline and the actresses' controlled improvisations. With an ensemble like this one--Jill Eikenberry, JoBeth Williams, Talia Shire, Lindsay Crouse, Helen Slater, Ally Sheedy and Martha Plimpton--the rewards are predictable and many.

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