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India Shares Regional Gems

* SCREENING ROOM

Festival at UCLA opens tonight; Pan African Fest enters last weekend.

February 12, 1998|KEVIN THOMAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

But when Phillip arrives at a decrepit but elegant old hillside mansion, he finds Friedrich has disappeared. Phillip goes about the neighborhood recording sound to accompany Friedrich's footage and finds himself attracted to the beautiful Teresa Salgueiro, the young singer of the Madredeus band, who shares the house with Friedrich.

This most enchanting of films, at once jaunty and serious, features legendary Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira speculating on the enigmatic relationship of cinema and memory. (213) 938-4038.

*

On Wednesday and Feb. 19, the Nuart is presenting what appears to be one of its most popular offerings: "Doris Wishman: Queen of Sexploitation," with Wishman in attendance. Between 1960 and 1978, Wishman, a former secretary and saleswoman for producer-distributor and legendary promoter Joe Levine, made 24 lurid low-budget pictures that are now being rediscovered for both feminist sentiments and, above all, camp value.

Widely considered her masterpiece, "Bad Girls Go to Hell" (1965), which screens both nights at 7:30, reveals Wishman to be an instinctive, dynamic storyteller with a camera as she follows a young woman (Gigi Darlene), who has fled Chicago because she's convinced no one will believe she killed a rapist in self-defense. "Bad Girls" provokes laughter yet reveals the sexual mores of its era.

Playing with "Bad Girls" on Wednesday at 6 and 9:15 p.m. is the hilarious "Double Agent '73," a perfection of '70s kitsch that stars stripper Chesty Morgan, whose uppermost measurement might well have supplied inspiration for the film's title. As a government agent, Morgan has a mini-camera temporarily implanted in her left breast, which means that she is constantly revealing her formidable charms in the line of duty.

Feb. 19's second feature is "Let Me Die a Woman" (1978), an early documentary about transsexuals, replete with graphic surgical details and dramatized scenes in which tastelessness vies with compassion and even tenderness. You can't watch this picture without thinking of the photography of Diane Arbus.

Although Franz Reichle's "The Knowledge of Healing" (Nuart, Friday through Tuesday) rambles and becomes highly technical, it makes a persuasive case that Western medicine has lots to learn from ancient Tibetan medicine and healing practices.

The key potential of Tibetan medicine, according to a Swiss researcher, lies in the non-contagious diseases of arteriosclerosis and cancer and in combating the aging process. Eliot Tokar, one of the few practitioners of Tibetan medicine in the U.S., will introduce the 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday shows and appear after them to answer questions. He will also give a free lecture followed by a question-and-answer period on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. (310) 478-6379.

Note: "Post-Colonial Classics of the Korean Cinema," (714) 824-1992, continues at UC Irvine, and "Luis Bunuel in Mexico" continues at LACMA, (213) 857-6010. The American Cinematheque's Alternative Screen series presents tonight at 7:30 at Raleigh Studios Leslie L. Smith's "David Searching," about two New York roommates, a gay would-be documentary filmmaker (Anthony Rapp) and his soul mate (Camryn Manheim), who can't quite sort out her own feelings, (213) 466-FILM. Filmforum screens Sunday at LACE at 7 p.m. "SistaVision," a program of five short films by African American women. (213) 526-2911.

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