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By Richard von Busack

Brainwash Movie Festival
Plays Feb. 18-19 at the Werepad, 2430 Third St., and Feb. 20 at Tuva, 3192 Adeline St., Berkeley. 415.273.1545.

The annual festival of under-the-underground movies includes Sex Life of a Chair by Bernard Roddy; the immortal Danny Plotnick's Socky; Golden Gate by Eric Landmark; the Burning Man exposé Bad Trip at Black Rock by Bruce Krueger; Sleepless Movie by Mark Haren; and a feature at long last based on that schoolyard song about the vegan's nightmare, Dunderbeck's Machine by Cosand Smith. Two separate programs are offered at the Werepad, and this year the festival crosses the bridge to Tuva, a Berkeley space near Ashby BART.

Holy Smoke
Opens Feb. 18 at selected theaters.

A consistently intriguing and weird effort by Jane Campion (The Piano). Essentially, the film is a remake of Rain, the once-popular story of an irreconcilable argument between a preacher and a loose woman--between the righteousness of the former and the sexual power of the latter. In this version, a suburban Australian wench (Kate Winslet) has become enamored of an Indian guru. Her family hires a macho deprogrammer (Harvey Keitel) to spirit her off to the Outback, where the older man and the younger woman become lovers. Campion wants us to root for the power of womanhood--and in the big-boned eroticism of Winslet, she has a strong argument. Yet she brings to this contest of wills more passion and interest in men than is customarily in such stories. You be the judge.

Plays at selected theaters.

A much-maligned Shakespeare play is made into a much-maligned movie. It's the fault of stage director Julie Taymor, turned film director here, who has been dazzling the bridge-and-tunnel trade on Broadway with The Lion King. The processions and computer-animated sequences are laughable, and the costumes (by Milena Canonero, who dressed the droogs in A Clockwork Orange) are often too Andrew Lloyd Webber to be endured. But Anthony Hopkins has his best time onscreen in years as an ancient Roman general who avenges the horrible slaughter. Jessica Lange, gilded and mascaraed as the whore-queen Tamora, is sturdy and serviceable; and Harry Lennix is fascinating as Aaron, the only grade-A psycho Shakespeare ever created.

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From the February 7, 2000 issue of the Metropolitan.

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