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World Movies is a window to the world of cinema beyond Hollywood, screening
mainstream and arthouse films from some of the greatest filmmakers on the international scene – often for the first time in Australia. Here is a little taste of what you can find on the schedule in December, reports Channel Host Andrew L. Urban.

December 4, 8.30pm
Directed by Alain Chabat
Stars Gérard Depardieu, Monica Bellucci, Christian Clavier, Alain Chabat

In Asterix And Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, the second movie adaptation of the world-famous comic, Gerard Depardieu as Obelix, and Christian Clavier as Asterix, are joined by the voluptuous Monica Bellucci as a fiery Cleopatra, in a story as ridiculous as it is hilarious! Cleopatra, infuriated by Caesar’s constant taunts about Egypt being second rate, challenges him with a bet: her workers can build the world’s most opulent palace…in just three months! If she wins the bet, Caesar has to publicly concede Egypt’s superiority over the Romans. Asterix and Obelix are the only hope for the Egyptians to win the bet. Directed by Alain Chabat, who also plays Caesar, the film won the 2003 Cesar Award for costume design, and was nominated in four other categories.

December 11, 8.30pm
THE RETURN (2003) Russia
Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev
Stars Vladimir Gairin, Ivan Dobronravo

Visually striking, The Return is both mythic and specific, as two adolescent boys – each with a different attitude towards him – are faced with their father, for all intents and purposes for the first time, since he disappeared twelve years earlier. Now back without a word of explanation, he takes them on a fishing trip (or is it a cover for something else?) and the threesome face several emotional and psychological challenges along the way. Distinguished by exceptional performances and stark, stunning visuals of lengthy Russian landscapes, The Return received a plethora of awards including Venice’s prestigious Golden Lion.

December 18, 8.30pm
HAWAII, OSLO (2004) Norway
Directed by Erik Poppe
Stars Jan Gunnar Roise, Trond Espen Seim

Hawaii, Oslo brilliantly brings together five interconnecting love stories on the hottest day of the year in Oslo. Replete with interesting characters – an orderly in an asylum, one of the inmates, his girlfriend, and a young couple whose newborn has a tragic heart condition – this wondrously well-plotted film is fresh and invigorating.

December 25, 8.30pm
BON VOYAGE (2003) France
Directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau
Stars Gérard Depardieu, Isabelle Adjani

As France is swept into World War II in 1940, the big question is what will the country do – fight or make peace with Hitler? But for some people, their personal lives demand greater attention; like the actress (Isabelle Adjani) whose dalliance with a businessman ends in tragedy, drawing others, like a cabinet Minister (Gérard Depardieu), a writer (Gregoire Derangere), a resourceful petty crim (Yvan Attal) and a pretty physics student (Virginie Ledoyen) into the vortex of her self-preserving world. As Parisians desert the capital ahead of the advancing German army and go south, the big issues and the personal dramas are thrown explosively together.

December 13, 8.30pm
OSAMA (2003) Afghanistan
Directed by Siddiq Barmak
Stars Marina Golbahari, Arif Herati

Inspired by a true story, Osama is the first film to be made in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. The film looks back at the repressive, misogynistic Taliban regime in anguish, telling the tragic tale of a young girl forced to disguise herself as a boy so she can work and save her family from starvation. Powerful, harrowing, yet visually striking utterly compelling, Osama won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language film and has been critically acclaimed around the world.

World Movies is available by subscription via Foxtel (1 300 FOXTEL), Austar (132 342), and Optus (133 034).

Published November 24, 2005

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Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra

The Return

Hawaii, Oslo

Bon Voyage


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