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Film Picks

[whitespace] Picks by Richard von Busack

Another Day in Paradise (1998)
May 26-27 at the Red Vic Theater.

A pair of aging criminals (James Woods and Melanie Griffith) recruit a pair of younger needle fanciers for a road trip and some violent crimes. Grade B, and not because of the atmosphere of neglect and the world gone wrong, which doesn't work. To spare the budget, photographer-turned-director Larry Clark recreates the '70s in the countryside, taken by the dappled light, the waving grasses and the skinny, youthful forms of his two young stars, Natasha Wagner and Vincent Kartheiser. The film lopes along, skittering whenever Woods gives it a push. As Mel, the chummy leader of the crew, Woods handily dominates his movie; his nervous energy is the only energy the film has, and sometimes that's enough. The film has one of the best soundtracks in years: a soulful assemblage of vintage rock, jazz and R&B.

Divorce Iranian Style (1998)
Plays May 28-June 2 at the Roxie Theater

A British documentary about three women doing the unthinkable: trying to get a divorce in Iran. The women are Jamileh, almost killed by her battering husband; Ziba, a 16-year-old trying to get out of a marriage to a man twice her age; and Maryam, fighting to get custody of her daughters.

François Truffaut: A Retrospective
May 14-June 9 at the Castro Theater

Two dozen films by the erratic French master, a film critic turned director. Among the best bets, I would pick Shoot the Piano Player (1960; screens May 26), his tribute to film noir, elaborated on with eccentric, satirical touches. Charles Aznavour plays an ivory-tickler in raunchy nightclubs who was once a virtuoso concert pianist. Also worth recommending is the classic Jules and Jim (1961; May 21-22), his masterpiece about a three-sided friendship balanced as delicately as a house of cards, and The 400 Blows (1959; also May 21-22), a semiautobiographical tale of a boy's mixed-up life spent in stifling schools. Also scheduled: The Story of Adele H. (1975; May 30), a historical story of a female stalker (Isabelle Adjani) who happened to be the daughter of France's greatest novelist.

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From the May 24, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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