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Indiana Jones, The Visitor, Before the Rains

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Aired 4/19/09

Tom Fudge : The first new movie we're going to talk about is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull . It's the new installment in Steven Spielberg's highly successful Raiders of the Lost Ark franchise. But before we get to that, we're going to talk to a couple of other film makers. Their names are Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala. They are now in their 30s. But in 1982, when the first Raiders movie came out, they were kids. They both loved the Spielberg film, and they set out on what became be a multi-year adventure, doing a shot-by-shot remake of Raiders.

The making of their movie brought them into adulthood. The scenes they shot, and acted in, bore witness to the changes in their voices and changes in their relationship. At times, they hated each other's guts. But their many years of work did not go to waste. The footage survive and was eventually edited together. Today, their remake is a cult favorite that many audiences have considered to be quite a hoot.
There will be an outdoor screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla on Thursday, July 10th at 8 p.m. It's showing as part of the museum's Parking Lot Picture Series.
Before the Rains is a new Merchant Ivory production. It's set in 1930s India, when that country was still under the colonial rule of the British Raj. An English businessman seeks to build a spice plantation, and a road that leads to it. Although married with a young boy, he is having an affair with a beautiful Indian woman, who is married to a man in a nearby village. At one point the two are seen making love in the forest by two boys from the village. Soon, the woman's husband finds out she's having an affair, though he doesn't know with whom.

The woman is beaten by her husband and returns to her lover's house. Unfortunately, by then the Englishman's wife and child have arrived, and all he wants to do is find a way to make his lover go away.

The primary character in Before the Rains is T.K., an Indian man from the same village, who works for the British planter and is loyal to him. His British boss asks T.K. to deal with the lover in some way, and the story takes a tragic turn. In the end, T.K. must decide where his loyalties truly lie. Before the Rains is directed by Santosh Sivan.
Before the Rains is currently playing at Landmark's La Jolla Village Cinemas.
Our next film is called The Visitor , written and directed by Thomas McCarthy. In The Visitor, we meet Walter Vale, an economics professor at a Connecticut college. He's burned out teaching the same class over and over, and he's putting neither mind nor heart into his occupation. He's alone. His wife, a professional pianist, died many years before. One day, he's forced by the dean to present a paper at a conference in New York, where Walter still owns an apartment. He goes. But when he enters his apartment he finds  two young illegal immigrants squatting there. At first, he kicks them out. But seeing them later on the street and knowing they have nowhere to go, he invites them to stay at his place for "a few more days."

What follows is an experience that changes Walter's life. The cheerful male immigrant, who's from Syria, teaches him to the play the drums. Walter soon meets the man's mother as her son develops problems with immigration officials. Walter hires an attorney in an effort to help the family out. The Visitor stars Richard Jenkins as Walter.
The Visitor is currently playing at Landmark's La Jolla and Hillcrest Cinemas.
Our final movie is Roman de Gare . The film is set in France and is in French. The plot is complex. In the beginning we meet, a famous female writer and a hairdresser who's abandoned by her fiancé. We also meet a mysterious man who may be either a school teacher who's abandoned his job and family, or he may be a serial killer, or he may be the famous novelist's ghost writer.

In fact, the "maybes" are a big part of this movie. Eventually, the serial killer/school teacher and the hairdresser hook up. And she has a plan to introduce him to her family as her fiancé, so they won't know that her actual fiancé dumped her. Roman de Gare is written and directed by Claude Lelouch.
Roman de Gare opens this Friday at Landmark's Hillcrest Cinemas.
Guests
  • Beth Accomando , KPBS film critic .
  • Scott Marks, author of the blog Emulsion Compulsion .
  • Chris Strompolos, producer of the film Raiders of the Lost Ark: An Adaptation. He also plays Indiana Jones in the film.
  • Eric Zala , director of Raiders of the Lost Ark: An Adaptation . He plays Dr. Jones' arch nemesis Dr. Rene Belloq.

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