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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reviews of the Cinematheque's weekend films

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 10:18 AM

The Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque is showing several great movies this weekend. Here are reviews of just two of them.

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The Cove (U.S., 2009) Even as nakedly manipulative as it is, The Cove ought to be a wake-up call about man’s inhumanity to non-man, specifically porpoises (called “dolphins” throughout). Protag Ric O’Barryworked on the, er, classic 1960s TV show Flipper, supplying and training the dolphins who played the hero marine mammal. When one of them died in his arms (a deliberate animal suicide, he claims), O’Barry became radicalized against the dolphin trade. The target for him now is the seaside Japanese village of Taiji, where a local “whale museum” sells plush-toy orcas and porpoises right along with their meat. Taiji’s economy centers on cruel harvesting of dolphins. Some are sold to kitsch aqua shows worldwide ($150,000 each specimen). Dolphins who don’t pass the audition? Killed in a guarded Taiji cove. These pained porpoises are actually just the tip of the iceberg in a crisis in worldwide fishing-whaling, in which the Japanese appear to lead the world. Next time Japan begs for earthquake relief, remember Taiji Harbor. At 10:20 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, at 7:35 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, and 9:20 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8. *** (Charles Cassady Jr.)

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Taxidermia (Hungary/Austria/France, 2006) Fascinating and deeply, willfully perverse, Hungarian fabulist György Pálfi's (Hukkle) Rabelaisian allegory marks him as a cross between Dusan Makavejev and Terry Gilliam. Beginning in World War II, the film charts a rocky course through modern Hungarian history as it follows an Everyman (Csaba Czene) and his descendants: a son (Gergo Trócsányi) born with a pig's tail and his taxidermist grandson (Marc Bischoff). If Pálfi's depraved vision is occasionally difficult, even painful to watch, his febrile imagination insures that you’re never remotely bored. Cinematographer Gergely Pohárnok makes even the most disturbingly outré images ineffably, hauntingly beautiful. At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, and 8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6. *** (Paurich)

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