Time of the Dancer

The Family.
Directed by Rustam Ibragimbekov and Ramiz Hassanoglu Mirzoev.
Azerbaijan, 1998. 95 min

Written and co-directed by Rustam Ibragimbekov (scriptwriter for Burnt by the Sun and The Barber of Siberia), this allegory of the USSR's collapse traces the disintegration of an extended family—several generations, several ethnic backgrounds—in 1990 Baku. Stark realism combines with the exotic; pogroms and violence in the city parallel intrigues within the family. The director will introduce the 2 May screening.

Prisoner of the Mountains.
Directed by Sergei Bodrov.
Russia, 1996. 96 min

Major Russian actors, Oleg Menshikov and Sergei Bodrov. Jr., star as two soldiers who are captured and held hostage by a Chechen villager, whose daughter falls in love with the younger of the two soldiers. Loosely based on Leo Tolstoy's famous story, this contemporary tale is fast-paced and disturbing, raising provocative questions about Russia's role in the Caucasus.

Time of the Dancer.
Directed by Vadim Abdrashitov.
Screenplay by Aleksandr Mindadze.
Russia, 1997. 154 min

Set "somewhere in the Caucasus," this film by a duo of Russia's major filmmakers gives an unusual twist to the war theme, telling a story of three Russian men-two officers and a folk dancer--who decide to settle down in a recently occupied village. The masterful combination of ironic stylization, human drama, and violence explores Russia's imperial ambitions and complex national identity. The scriptwriter will introduce the 4 May screening.

The Checkpoint.
Directed by Aleksandr Rogozhkin.
Russia, 1998. 90 min

Due to a tragic mishap, a group of young Russian soldiers is exiled to a remote outpost in the skirmish-ridden Caucasus, where they spend time drinking, doing drugs, and enjoying sexual favors of a local girl. The shockingly simple style of this film, which avoids both the classic Hero and the moralizing message, underscores the absurdity of the "war mission."

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