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Ryan Little questions Oliver Stone‘s journalistic integrity, and Tricia Olszewski deems an exploration of the marriage between a burlesque dancer and punk-frontman boring. Plus: anomie in Serbia, Palestinians and Israelis, Danish comics in North Korea, and Finnish men in saunas!
Goodbye, How Are You? Satire, documentaries, and fairy tales are not normally genres one would associate together, but that’s what this film calls itself: a “satirical documentary fairy tale.” Director Boris Mitic examines Serbia’s troubled political climate, showing dark images that Maura Judkis calls “absurd” and “frightening.” He features a man who wants to die for what he believes in who no longer believes in anything. According to Judkis, “This fairy tale has no happily-ever-after.” At 1:45 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 3; also on Friday, June 25, at 8:15 p.m. at the Discovery HD Theater.
South of the Border Oliver Stone offers a benevolent portrait of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Stone makes the case that South American leftist leaders are wrongly demonized by the U.S. media, and that the primary reason for their bad reputation in this country is oil. In addition to Chavez, he conducts interviews with other Latino heads of state, including Raul Castro, but the director makes little effort to include the voices of their detractors. “It’s a disappointing lack of balance to an incisive documentary that otherwise succeeds in presenting a startlingly fresh perspective,” writes Ryan Little. At 4:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 1.
Steam of Life No narrative, just real Finnish men. Directors Joonas Berghäll and Mika Hotakainen film Finnish men as they air their sorrows and secrets to each other in saunas. Tricia Olszewski takes issue with the contrived execution, writing, “You can practically hear their instructions: ‘Start talking about your issues…now!’.” At 6:45 p.m.; also on Friday, June 25, at 6:45 p.m. Both screenings at AFI Silver Theater 3.
My So-Called Enemy This film follows participants of Building Bridges for Peace, an American program that brings Israeli and Palestinian teenage girls together with the goal of fostering mutual understanding, as they take part in the program and for seven years once they’ve returned home. Best friends Gal, an Israeli in Tel Aviv, and Rezan, a Palestinian Christian in East Jerusalem, are at the film’s center. The film follows other girls, too, some with more compelling stories than others. At 7:15 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 2; also on Thursday, June 24, at 12:30 p.m. at the Discovery HD Theater.
The Red Chapel Director Mads Brügger, a left-leaning writer, arranges for a trip to North Korea with two Korean-Danish comedians. The trio gain unique access to the country, getting a rare glimpse behind Kim Jong-Il’s curtain. Each night, Brügger submits his footage to North Korean secret police review for review. They play nice while they’re there, but the film offers an educational, and ultimately scathing commentary on North Korean life. At 8 p.m.; also on Saturday, June 26, at 10:45 p.m. Both screenings at the Discovery HD Theater.
The DeVilles Director Nicole N. Horanyi examines the marriage of a burlesque dancer, Terri Lee Geary (aka Kitten DeVille), and her punk-frontman husband, Shawn Geary. Now with three kids, can they continue to lead the lives they met 26 years ago? Tricia Olszewski finds the premise promising, but the film’s “meandering storytelling fails to sketch its main characters vividly enough to make viewers give a damn.” At 9 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 3; also on Friday, June 25, at 11 a.m. at the Discovery HD Theater and on Saturday, June 26, at 10:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 1.