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Film Club: The Limits of Control, Adoration, The Song of the Sparrows, Lemon Tree

Film Club critics look at what’s new in theaters

Audio

Aired 5/20/09

This week on Film Club of the Air, we'll talk about the new films from acclaimed directors Jim Jarmusch and Atom Egoyan. We'll also discuss two new films set in the Middle East, and we'll get out critics to weigh in on the latest summer blockbusters to hit theaters in San Diego.

Maureen Cavanaugh: Memorial Day weekend is coming up, the unofficial start of Summer, and the launching point for the summer movie season. But before we get knee-deep in blockbusters, the KPBS Film Club of the Air highlights a few of the best movies out this Spring. And our critics like them, they really like them.

Guests

Beth Accomando is the KPBS Film Critic.

Scott Marks is the author of the film blog Emulsion Compulsion.

Isaach De Bankole in The Limits of Control.

Above: Isaach De Bankole in The Limits of Control.

The first movie we talk about it The Limits of Control by acclaimed director Jim Jarmusch. In this enigmatic movie, an unnamed man, who is a hired killer, meets two other men in an airport and is given an assignment. The Lone Man walks a great deal in Madrid, and goes through his ritualistic daily routine which is interrupted by meetings in cafes with a series of quirky characters with whom he exchanges information. The story is made (somewhat) clear at the end, but the film leaves the audience with unanswered questions along with a series of beautiful images.

The Limits of Control is currently playing at Landmarks Hillcrest Cinemas.

Our next film is called Adoration, directed by Atom Egoyan. In this movie, we meet a teenager named Simon who tells both his class and his internet chat group that his father was involved in a terrorist plot. Simon's French teacher, Sabine, instigates the story for reasons of her own. Simon's account of his father creates a furor, while what really happened to the teenager's parents is revealed in a series of scenes that move back and forth in time. Along the way we meet Simon's troubled young uncle, his dying grandfather and a neighbor lady in a jeweled burka.

Adoration opens Friday, May 29th at Landmark's Hillcrest Cinema.

Our next movie is an Iranian film called The Song of the Sparrows, directed and co-written by Majid Majidi (Children of Heaven) The story's hero, Karim works on an ostrich farm in a rural village, until one day an ostrich runs away and Karim loses his job. He travels to Tehran to try to get his daughter a new hearing aid. While there, Karim falls into a new career, giving rides on his dilapidated motorcycle to businessmen who need a quick lift across town. The big city challenges Karim's ethics and his happy family life, until an accident makes him re-examine his priorities.

The Songs of Sparrows opens on Friday, May 22nd at Landmark's Ken Cinema.

And the last film we'll be discussing is called Lemon Tree, by Israeli director Eran Riklis (The Syrian Bride). It's based on a true story of the legal battle waged by a Palestinian landowner. In the movie, a Palestinian widow named Salma, has little left in life but her beloved field of lemon trees. Her new neighbor is the Israeli defense minister and that field of trees is deemed a security risk because terrorists could hide there. The Israeli minister's wife, Mira, sees the inequity of the situation, and the inequity of her own marriage but feels powerless to do anything about either situation. Salma files a lawsuit and begins an unexpected love affair with her lawyer. The legal battle eventually goes before the Israeli Supreme Court. But, as with most events between Palestinians and Israelis, nobody actually comes out a winner.

Lemon Tree is now playing at Landmark's La Jolla Village Cinemas.

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