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November 2006 is my last month introducing films on World Movies: I’ve had a great time, presenting movies from around the world and enjoying the amazing diversity and quality of films presented. After four and a half years, the time has come for a fresh new approach - and for me to take a break. So here are some of the highlights from the November schedule – an eclectic mix as usual, from true stories of yesterday to fantasies of tomorrow.

November 5, 8.30pm
ROSENSTRASSE (2003) Germany/ The Netherlands (in German, Englis
Directed by: Margarethe von Trotta
Starring: Katja Riemann, Maria Schrader
Based on a true story, multi-award winning Rosenstrasse is a revealing and honest look at 1943 Nazi Germany. In just one of the many haunting incidents during the Second World War, a group of non-Jewish women rallied for the freedom of their imprisoned Jewish husbands. When Hannah’s (Maria Schrader) father dies her mother’s sudden strange behaviour causes her to explore the ghosts of her mother’s past. Flashbacks to 1940s Germany reveal her mother’s traumatic childhood, witnessing an incident where Berlin Jews were herded into a building in Rosenstrasse. Mostly Jewish men married to Aryan women, their wives demanded their release, rallying day after day for their freedom. Rosenstrasse is a heart-breaking and emotional tale of perseverance and determination.

November 12, 8.30pm
NATURAL CITY (2003) South Korea

Directed by: Byung-chun Min
Starring: Jin-tae Yu, Chan Yun
In the vein of Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’, Natural City is a visually appealing sci-fi drama with a romantic twist. Set in the year 2080, a genetically engineered race of cyborgs has taken over, calling on the commando task force and their leader Noma to take control. Young, hotshot commander R goes after the cyborg leader Cypher, accidentally letting him escape. To further add to his troubles R is embroiled in a forbidden love affair with a cyborg who has limited days left to live. R stops at nothing to prolong the life of his love, enlisting the help of the evil and untrustworthy Dr Giro and subsequently neglects his squad.

November 19, 8.30pm
THE MOUSTACHE (2005) France

Directed by: Emmanuel Carrère
Staring: Vincent Lindon, Emmanuelle Devos
Based on his own novel of the same name, Emmanuel Carrère’s film The Moustache is an intriguing, psychological drama. For most of his adult life, architect Marc (Vincent Lindon) has had a moustache. One night, before going to meet friends for dinner, Marc impulsively shaves off his moustache. When his wife Agnès (Emmanuelle Devos) does not notice the absence of his moustache Marc is unsettled, but when his friends do not react to his drastic change in appearance either, Marc becomes suspicious of a group joke. Marc’s life becomes unhinged when both parties deny the moustache ever existed, forcing him to question his own sanity.

November 21, 8:30pm
MY DAD IS 100 YEARS OLD (2005) Canada (in English)

Directed by: Guy Maddin
Starring: Isabella Rossellini
Isabella Rossellini teams up with Guy Maddin in a quirky and slightly odd My Dad Is 100 Years Old. At only 16 minutes long it is ultimately a sweet and moving homage to her father Roberto Rossellini celebrating 100 years since his birth. Shot entirely in black and white, Isabella plays every role in the film including iconic motion picture figures Charlie Chaplin, Federico Fellini, David O. Selznick and Alfred Hitchcock, she even appears as her mother Ingrid Bergman. A major hit at festivals around the world, My Dad Is 100 Years Old is moving, witty and utterly unique.

November 21, 8.50pm
ROMA, CITTÀ APERTA (1945) Italy (in Italian, German)

Directed by: Roberto Rossellini
Starring: Aldo Fabrizi, Anna Magnani
Rossellini’s multi award-winning war drama is a human story about the hardships of those citizens caught up in Rome during the German occupation. Co-written by legendary director Federico Fellini, this is a fascinating and definitive classic. Rome is under siege, occupied by Nazi militants and declared an ‘open city’ and the emergence of the Resistance movement is in full swing. Hero and resistance leader, Giorgio, bands together with resistance friends, aided by pregnant girlfriend Pina (Anna Magnani) and inspired by anti-Nazi activist and priest Don Pietro Pellegrini, they all pay dearly for their collaboration, capturing the harsh reality of war time.

November 26, 8.30pm
MARS (2004) Russia

Directed by: Anna Melikian
Starring: Caco Yuriy (Gosha) Kutsenko, Nana Kiknadze

Screened at the 2005 Berlin International Film Festival, writer-director Anna Melikian’s first feature film Mars is whimsical, kooky and splashed with a rich, eccentric colour palette - pure pleasure for the eyes! Faded pro boxer Boris (Yuriy (Gosha) Kutsenko) has run away from Moscow, his career, friends and family and his mobster boss. Randomly boarding a train Boris ends up in the small, isolated Russian town of Marks (now known as Mars due to a missing k in the town’s neon signage). Immediately struck by the odd presence of stuffed toys, Boris discovers that the toys are in fact the currency of the township. Boris and his wallet full of ‘real’ cash instantly become the desire of many of the town’s women, although it is one in particular that catches Boris’ eye, a pretty, young librarian named Greta. Through a series of flashbacks, we catch a glimpse of colour-blind Boris’ violent boxing matches, which are shot in black and white, contrasting with the lush colours of the town.

This summer it’s martians, monsters and madness – all in B-MANIA, every Saturday during December & January on World Movies, presented by comedy duo Tracy Bartram and Tim Smith of Mix 101.1FM Melbourne.

Published October 26, 2006

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Andrew L. Urban


La Moustache


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