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Subscription channel 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 February 2006, reports Channel Host Andrew L. Urban.

February 5, 8.30pm
KITCHEN STORIES (2003) Sweden/Norway (in Swedish, Norwegian)

Directed by Bent Hamer
Stars Joachim Calmeyer, Tomas Norström

In a bid to assist with the designs of kitchens, Sweden’s Home Research Institute devises a plan to study bachelors living alone in 50s Norway. Swedish scientist Folke Nilsson is one of a team sent to a remote Norwegian village, to ‘observe’ local volunteer Isak Bjornsson, as he goes about his daily routine in the kitchen. Each day, Folke sits in the elevated chair in the corner of the kitchen, jotting down notes on a clipboard. At first, Isak resents Folke’s presence and begins to spy on him through a peep-hole in the ceiling. But soon, despite rules against interaction, the two elderly men begin to form a friendship forged out of understanding.

February 6, 8.30pm
MADAME SATA (2002) Brazil (in Portuguese)

Directed by Karim Ainouz
Stars Lázaro Ramos, Marcelia Cartaxo

Garnered with a stack of awards at various international, independent, Latin American and gay film festivals, Madame Sata paints a lustrous portrait of Joăo Francisco dos Santos, a fiery drag queen, career criminal and street fighter who became a legend on the Brazilian carnival scene. Boasting an electrifying central performance, heady atmosphere and a sharp sense of Rio’s 1930s favelas, Madame Sata is vibrant and engaging, and as tempestuous as its subject.

February 7, 8.30pm
BLUEBERRY (2004) France (in English, Native American dialect)

Directed by Jan Kounen
Stars Vincent Cassel, Juliette Lewis,

An all-star international cast including Vincent Cassel, Juliette Lewis, Michael Madsen and Eddie Izzard features in psychedelic supernatural western Blueberry. Six years in the making (a year of which the director spent studying with an Amazon shaman), the film is ambitious, original and highly creative.

February 12, 8.30pm
ARAHAN (2004) South Korea

Directed by Ryu Seung-wan
Stars Ryu Seung-beom, Yun So-i

A Korean martial arts drama with loads of comedy. The story revolves around special magic martial arts powers, known as ‘chi,’ and a bumbling young cop who doesn’t know just how much chi he’s got till a beautiful young woman releases his chi to save the world from evil. Matrix-style special effects and exhilarating action sequences are served up in healthy doses as the characters walk down skyscrapers, levitate and fly, or hurl objects by mental effort alone.

February 19, 8.30pm
FANFAN LA TULIPE (2003) France

Directed by Gérard Krawczyk
Stars Penelope Cruz, Vincent Perez

Starring Penelope Cruz and Vincent Perez, Fanfan La Tulipe tells the story of the imaginary but popular 18th century hero, made famous by the director Christian-Jaque in his 1952 film. This new version was the opening night film at Cannes in 2003, setting a high energy mood for the festival. Perez is terrific in the title role as the larrikin womaniser who is tricked into joining the King’s army by Adeline, a feisty performance by Cruz, who turns out to be someone he doesn’t expect. Lots of fun, action, adventure and, of course, romance.

February 26, 8.30pm
ELECTRIC SHADOWS (2004) China (in Mandarin)

Directed by Xiao Jiang
Stars Jiang Yihong, Xia Yu

Set against the backdrop of China’s disastrous Cultural Revolution, the central story is framed by the chance meeting of the young protagonists in a push bike accident. This leads to young Mao Dabing feeding the fish in pretty Ling Ling’s apartment, and his discovery that not only is she a bigger movie buff than he is, but that they were, in fact, childhood friends who loved the open-air movies.

Published January 26, 2006

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Electric Shadows

Fan Fan La Tulipe

Madame Sata

Kitchen Stories

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