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'Sobibor' Tells of Daring Escape From a WWII Death Camp

September 19, 2002|KEVIN THOMAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Laemmle's current--and best--Documentary Days series concludes with Claude Lanzmann's "Sobibor: October 14, 1943, 4 p.m.," an important footnote to Lanzmann's great 9 1/2-hour Holocaust documentary "Shoah" (1985).

The story of the uprising and escape of Jews in the extermination camp in Sobibor, Poland, is told through an interview with a key participant, Yehuda Lerner, that Lanzmann filmed in 1979 for "Shoah." He retraced Lerner's circuitous journey from the Warsaw Ghetto, as he and a friend miraculously escape from eight camps before ending up in Sobibor in 1943.

In forthright fashion, Lerner relates how a Jewish Red Army colonel devised a daring escape plan. Lerner was one of more than 300 who survived among the estimated 600 who escaped. At the time of the making of this 2001 production, 47 were still living.

"Sobibor" screens Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Sunset 5, West Hollywood, (323) 848-3500; Sept. 28-29 at 11 a.m. at the Monica 4-Plex, Santa Monica, (310) 394-9741; Oct. 5-6 at the Playhouse 7, Pasadena, (626) 844-6500; and Oct. 12-13 at the Fallbrook, West Hills, (818) 340-8710.

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Alex Nohe's "The Burning Sensation," which opens a regular run Friday at the Fairfax Cinemas in L.A., documents a festival that occurs every summer in the desert 90 miles north of Reno. About 25,000 people set up a tent city, where they participate in eight days of self-expression, culminating in a ritual torching of the Burning Man, a 50-foot wooden sculpture outlined in neon. Nohe captures all the energy and creativity--and silliness and nonsense--and reveals the event's overpowering atmosphere of freedom. (323) 655-4010.

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Matthew Bright's "Bundy," which begins a regular run Friday at the Sunset 5, is a crisp and chilling study of the man for whom the term "serial killer" was coined. Ted Bundy was arrested in 1978 and ultimately confessed to killing more than 20 women before he was executed in 1989.

Well-played by Michael Reilly Burke, Bundy grew up in poverty, learning at age 5 that his sister was really his mother and, at 17, that his father was not really his father. But can this background and his girlfriend Lee's (Boti Ann Bliss) nagging be enough to set off a rage-consumed serial killer?

Bright takes an absurdist tone that suggests he may regard such questions as beside the point. (323) 848-3500.

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Juan Luis Iborra and Yolanda Garcia Serrano's "KM,0" (Kilometer 0) is a fast and funny Spanish comedy ideal for American theatrical release and even a Hollywood remake. It screens Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. as part of Outfest's weekly series at the Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N. McCadden Place (near Santa Monica Boulevard), Hollywood.

It takes its title from a sidewalk marker in Madrid's Puerta Del Sol plaza from which all road travel in Spain is measured. Iborra and Garcia Serrano imagine seven couples meeting each other at KM,0 at 6 p.m. on the hottest day of the summer.

One of the most striking vignettes finds an elegant, neglected wife (Concha Velasco) who makes a hot date with a handsome gigolo (Jesus Cabrero), only to discover he may be the son she gave up in her teens. The effervescent "KM,0" works up a fizz that rarely goes flat. (213) 480-7089.

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LACMA's "Le Grand Gabin--A Jean Gabin Retrospective" concludes Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with two classics by two great directors: Max Ophuls' "Le Plaisir" (1952) and Jean Renoir's "French Cancan" (1955). In the 1950s, Jean Renoir returned to France to make "French Cancan," one of the most lighthearted films of his career. The film provided a happy reunion of Renoir and Gabin, who plays a Paris music hall proprietor who sees a revival of the cancan and the transforming of a working-class Montmartre dance hall into the legendary Moulin Rouge as his professional salvation. Its last 20 minutes are devoted to an exuberant cancan. (323) 857-6010.

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