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An omnipresent authority figure with control over a bleak, technology-driven society who’s instituted a program of oppression, intimidation, and propaganda to keep the working classes in line? Sure, that’s a description of today’s Republican ruler, but any Orwellian literary and film geek is also sure to recognize those hallmarks as belonging to the future-dystopia genre. From the retro aesthetic of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil to the tech-noir future of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, the traditional dystopian world has been twisted and tweaked in almost every possible way—but never quite to the extent of Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s The City of Lost Children. A combination of science fiction, fantasy adventure, and fairy tale, Caro and Jeunet’s now-cult film stars the towering Ron Perlman as One (pictured), a very different kind of Big Brother. When his adopted younger sibling is snatched up by religious nuts and delivered to the castle of Krank—a monstrous scientist who, tortured by his own inability to dream, kidnaps children from the neighboring harbor village to steal their slumbering thoughts—the devoted (if simple-minded) circus strongman sets out to rescue him. With a distinct visual flair and a colorful supporting cast (including Jeunet favorite Dominique Pinon as both a family of six bumbling clones and the amnesiac deep-sea diver they originated from), The City of Lost Children stands out as a glowing entry in a genre of film critical of (and, ironically, mired in) conformity. It screens at midnight Friday, Aug. 13, and Saturday, Aug. 14, at Landmark Bethesda Row Cinema, 7235 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda. $6.50. (301) 652-7273. (Matthew Borlik)