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BEST BETS: Thursday 7/19

7:30 pm: Movies

July 19, 2001

Unavailable theatrically since its original run, the 1985 drama "Kiss of the Spider Woman" screens tonight at the Egyptian in a preview before its reissue Aug. 3 by Strand Releasing. The film, based on Manuel Puig's novel and directed by Hector Babenco, movingly juxtaposes sexual repression and political tyranny, with William Hurt (who won an Oscar) and Raul Julia as cellmates, ripping it up in classic chamber-drama style. Also nominated for best picture, director and adapted screenplay (by Leonard Schrader), "Kiss" features Hurt as the flamboyantly gay Molina who spins film-induced fantasies of the Spider Woman, played by Sonia Braga, as an escape for Julia's tormented political activist, Valentin. Schrader and producer David Weisman are scheduled to appear for a post-screening discussion.

* American Cinematheque presents "Kiss of the Spider Woman," Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Today, 7:30 p.m. $6 to $8. (323) 466-FILM or

6 pm: Art

The fifth Absolut L.A. International Biennial Art Invitational returns as more than 70 local art galleries host exhibitions by artists and galleries from around the world. The monthlong invitational, which kicked off Wednesday with receptions at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, is followed by receptions in West Hollywood, Westwood and Beverly Hills galleries today; La Brea Avenue, Wilshire Boulevard and Beverly Boulevard galleries Friday; and Santa Monica, Venice and downtown L.A. galleries Saturday.

* Absolut L.A. International Biennial Art Invitational. Gallery opening receptions: West Hollywood, Westwood and Beverly Hills, 6 to 9 tonight; La Brea, Wilshire, Beverly Blvd. galleries, 6 to 9 p.m. Friday; Santa Monica and Venice, 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday; downtown galleries, 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday. For specific openings, see art listings or contact (310) 392-8399 or

7:30 pm: Movies

The UCLA Film & Television Archive, which presented the first Los Angeles retrospective of Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai's work in 1996, screens his more recent films in Amos Gitai 2001. A respected documentarian for more than 25 years, Gitai has made forays into fiction that have enlarged his international audience. Tonight's program features two films released commercially in the United States last year. "Kadosh" is Gitai's bleak study of a devoted Orthodox Jewish couple in Jerusalem who are forced to separate after 10 years of marriage because of the wife's failure to bear children. The respect Gitai brings to his depiction of the couple's community actually makes the couple's plight--and that of the wife especially--all the more devastating and the film all the more critical. With Yal Abecassis, Yoram Hattab and Meital Barda. Gitai draws on his own experiences as a member of a helicopter rescue team during the 1973 Yom Kippur War in "Kippur," a classic war film of rare immediacy and simplicity, emphasizing the universal fatigue war exacts. Photographed as a continuous, near-incessant flow by the formidable Renato Berta. With Liron Levo as Gitai's alter ego, Weinraub.

* UCLA Film and Television Archive presents Amos Gitai 2001, UCLA, James Bridges Theater, Melnitz Hall, near Sunset Boulevard and Hilgard Avenue, Westwood. "Kadosh" and "Kippur," today, 7:30 p.m. $5 to $7. (310) 206-FILM or

8 pm: Pop Music

A big step for two-step? That's the name of the skipping dance music style spearheaded by Craig David, and the charismatic young Englishman is in the process of transferring his huge success in Britain and Europe to the U.S. With "Fill Me In" among the Top 5 selling singles here and his album "Born to Do It" just out, David makes his L.A. debut at the El Rey Theatre.

* Craig David, with Lina, El Rey Theatre, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., 8 p.m. $20. (323) 936-4790.



* Grammy-winning Latin jazz percussionist Poncho Sanchez will lead his band in concert at MOCA at the Geffen Con-temporary, 152 N. Central Ave., L.A., 5 p.m. (213) 633-5334.

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