A weekly roundup of what else is screening around town.
$3.50-$8.50. 20 E. State St., Doylestown. 215.345.6789. www.countytheater.org
The Secret of NIMH (1982) (Shown on DVD): After famously leading a group of animators away from Disney, Don Bluth (An American Tail) premiered this vibrantly animated feature, which only slightly tones down the Robert C. O'Brien original, featuring escaped lab rats, a widow protagonist and even someone dropping the D-word. B Sat., Feb. 23, 11am.
Free. 501 Rhawn St. 215.685.0547. www.freelibrary.org
Empire of the Sun (1987) (Shown on DVD): See Bryn Mawr Film Institute. B- Thurs., Feb. 21, 1pm.
7605 Old York Rd. 215.635.7300. www.freelibrary.org
Empire of the Sun (1987) (Shown on DVD): See Bryn Mawr Film Institute. B- Mon., Feb. 23, 7pm.
$5-$7. 3701 Chestnut St. 215.387.5125. www.ihousephilly.org
Selections From the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival As ever, the new year ushers in I-House's culling from the HRW fest, which brings you down with the world's various ills then lifts you up by showing that at least some people care. On tap:
Enemies of Happiness (2006) (Shown on Beta SP): In 2005 the notoriously outspoken Malalai Joya became one of the very few women elected to Afghanistan's parliament during their first democratic parliamentary election. Sound crazy? Eva Mulvad's doc trails Joya in the days leading up to the election. Accompanied by armed guards, Joya sits down for rap sessions with various progressively minded civilians. Accompanying this medium-length profile will be Sari's Mother, which was initially to be the fourth story in James Longley's searing, brilliant Iraq in Fragments. Revolving around a child with AIDS and his peerlessly devoted mother, the short is by far Longley's most direct--an honest-to-God tearjerker. B Wed., Feb. 20-Sat., Feb. 23, 7pm.
Carla's List Another profile, this one on prosecutor extraordinaire Carla Del Ponte, who headed up the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Granted a behind-the-doors look at the dispiriting and frustrating hunt and prosecution of war criminals, director Marcel Shupbach plays his doc like a thriller, albeit of a breed represented by Zodiac and The Wire: It's all dead-ends, red herrings and endless frustration, with truth and justice always just out of reach. B Thurs., Feb. 21, 7pm.
Suffering and Smiling/ The City of Photographers (2007/2006) (Shown on Beta SP): Two Nigerian Afrobeat musicians take up the revelatory doc Suffering and Smiling: The late Fela Kuti, who melded unapologetically didactic lyrics with some seriously irresistible beats; and his son Femi, who watched as his dad's old nemesis--vile Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo--was elected to the presidency after 16 years of military rule. Dragging us over to Chile, The City of Photographers adds to the stack of docs about dreaded ex-president and war criminal Augusto Pinochet. The focus this time is on those who snapped the atrocities and the resistance to his gruesome regime, evoking the power of photographs as both proof of what's swept under the rug and a powerful form of remembrance. Both: B Fri., Feb. 22, 7pm.
Strange Culture (2007) (Shown on Beta SP): Just after his wife died of a heart attack, professor Steve Kurtz became a suspected bio-terrorist when police spotted suspicious looking but actually harmless chemical materials--bought over the Internet and intended for an art piece--in his house. How to depict this laughable mockery of justice given Kurtz, still awaiting trial, is forbidden from speaking directly about what transpired? Mix methods, of course. And so director Lynn Hershman-Leeson cuts between recreations starring Thomas Jay Rya and Tilda Swinton, animation, news clips and interviews with experts, a cautious Kurtz himself and even the actors--an ambitious meta idea that somehow holds together just fine. B Sat., Feb. 23, 2pm.
White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (2007) (Shown on Beta SP): Initially an HBO presentation, Steven Okazaki's masterful recounting of the atomic ruin of Hiroshima and Nagasaki examines the twin bombings from all sides, though mostly hangs on the words of the few survivors still living today. Most of them scarred and/or deformed, they soberly discuss the worst things you've ever heard before going into their curious aftermath. (The oddest: a group of "Hiroshima Maidens" flown into America for a year and a half of plastic surgery and highly questionable appearances on This Is Your Life.) Okazaki doesn't explicitly take sides on whether it should have happened at all, instead letting the faces and testimony of war's innocent victims eat into your brain. B+ Sat., Feb. 23, 7pm.