Movies entertain and educate, inform and illuminate.
In a world marked by terrorism and war, poverty and
sickness, conflicting moralities and economic inequities, movies
can be a healing force; a bridge to connect people; a means of promoting
peace, understanding and tolerance; or simply a brief but welcome
respite from the real world.
They can also serve as a reflection of a nations
fears; an agent of propaganda; a cold, hard look at societys
ills; or an implicit plea for change.
The films opening this Fall and Winter promise
all of the above. The brutal but brilliant City
of God chronicles the human waste
and destruction which have taken hold in the slums of Rio de Janeiro
over the past three decades as the drug trade has obliterated the
last vestiges of humanity. The mesmerizing
Russian Ark is a dreamlike
waltz through 300 years of Russian history. A technical tour de
force, it consists of a single, uncut, 87-minute Steadicam shot
which winds its way through St. Petersburgs magnificent Hermitage
Museum, the former Winter Palace of the Tsars which fell victim
to the Communist Revolution of 1917.
Jim Sheridans poignant In
America follows the journey of
one emigrant family from Ireland to America. The semi-autobiographical
film is written and directed by Jim Sheridan whose previous works,
My Left Foot
and In the Name of the Father,
also dealt with his Irish heritage. In
America stars the extraordinarily
talented British actress Samantha Morton. Antwone
Fisher marks the directorial debut
of Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington and is based on
the true story of an angry young sailor who is ordered to see a
naval psychiatrist. The film, which shines a revealing light on
this nations foster-care system, stars first-time actor Derek
Luke, who already is being touted as an Oscar contender.
the big-screen adaptation of Bob Fosses Tony Award-winning
Broadway musical. Filled with intrigue, rivalry and murder -
as well as bright lights, high-stepping dance numbers and plenty
of sizzle - the film stars Renée Zellweger and Catherine
Zeta Jones as two molls competing for fame and celebrity, and Richard
Gere as the lawyer who agrees to represent them both. Director Martin
Scorseses long-awaited Gangs
of New York finally arrives in
movie theatres. Set in lower Manhattan in the 1860s, its
a tale of political corruption, anti-immigration hatred and gang
City of Gods
The always iconoclastic French director Jean-Luc
Godard once remarked that All you need for a movie is a gun
and a girl. It is as true for the filmgoer as for the filmmaker.
Indeed, what could be better than being able to experience
all the excitement, danger and passion -- without having to actually
risk life or limb? It is hardly surprising
to learn that most people go to the movies to be entertained, but
entertainment can also be educational, informative and illuminating.
Asked to comment on the role of cinema in todays world, Brazilian
director Fernando Meirelles, whose City of God opens
in Los Angeles in February 2003, offered a thoughtful but passionate
Cinema has multiple roles. A Ken Loach film
makes you think about your society; a Mike Leigh film makes you
understand your soul. Godfrey Reggios films make you meditate,
while works by Larry Clark, Ed Solomoz or Gaspar Noe test your limits.
A David Lynch film makes you feel you are in a dream; a Tarantino
one makes you have fun. James Camerons films make a lot of
money, while one by Walter Salles tells you what a human being is.
A Won Kar Wei film is pure pleasure. One by Bertolucci
goes deep inside. Paul Thomas Anderson and Robert Altman tell us
a lot of stories at the same time. A film by Scorsese makes you
get down on your knees. City of God makes you think
about how it is to be excluded.