(Dec 10, 2010) KCUR Arts Reporter Steve Walker gives us our art, foreign, and documentary film viewing assignments.
(Glenwood Arts, Cinemark on the Plaza, and AMC Studio 30)
Danny Boyle said he wanted to make an action movie about a man that can't move, and he has brilliantly succeeded. James Franco sheds most of his off-screen kookiness and gives a spectacular performance as Aron Ralston, the young man who had to amputate his own arm after getting pinned by a boulder while hiking alone in the desert.
The build-up to his own surgery brims with tension and, yes, the scene in question is as gruesome as you can imagine. But when the second his arm is free, you'll want to stand up and cheer his ingenuity and resilience. As a survivor story, it makes "Castaway" look like an after school special. - Steve Walker
A Film Unfinished
An extraordinary film achievement that is as hard to fathom as it is to watch. During the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, Poland, members of Hitler's more disingenuous staff thought it prudent to make a "documentary" called "The Ghetto." The long-missing footage has been compiled and then destructed by director Yael Hersonski in such a way that reveals that many of the older film's scenes - like well-dressed Jews enjoying evenings of fine dining - were cruelly staged. Most of the original movie is shown, as are interviews with Poles who remember the movie being shot in their city and transcriptions of the filmmakers' eventual trial. - Steve Walker
(Tivoli in Westport)
Filmmaker Julia Bacha's moving documentary about a West Bank village's reaction when the Israeli government began chopping away at its borders is like the photo negative of "Restrepo" from earlier this year.
Where the latter film put viewers into the heat of battle, Bacha takes us to the cool of peaceful protests, as the village's men, then the women, then neighboring Israelies themselves, demand that the fence going up around - and then into - their village be stopped. Bacha's camera are right in the thick of it as patience wears out and the intended pacifism erodes into violence. - Steve Walker