Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Week of March 9 to March 15 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

Wow! There are ten different films showing this week. No, they haven’t added more screens, just more choices. You’ll have to watch the schedule closely.

The big boy is ALBERT NOBBS, the triple-Oscar-nominated (Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Makeup) story of women passing as men in Edwardian-era Dublin. Although it’s cross-dressing, this is as far from the tone of 901 Duval drag as you can get. Albert (Glenn Close) and Hubert (Janet McTeer) are straight-up gents, choosing their roles to avoid job discrimination rather than to make a gender-bending statement. Ms. Close first played this role in an off-Broadway adaptation of an Irish short story, and has been trying to get it made into a movie ever since.

You can see why. It’s a stunning performance, topped only by an even more stunning one by McTeer. The story itself, and the film, is “spare, quiet and surprisingly moving” (Washington Post). It’s a period and a place when restraint and understatement are the currency of the workplace, and Albert is deeply committed to it. The movie is about the nature of a life lived as a lie, and what it does to one, something we all need to contemplate, at least a little.

Also new this week is DECLARATION OF WAR, the French submission for this year’s Foreign Language award. No it’s not a war picture, but a family drama about a couple named Roméo and Juliette, who take on the challenge of a seriously ill-child with panache. No, of course not “Oh, happy day, my child is sick,” but the exact opposite of a woe-is-me whine.  Based on the actual experience of the lead actors (Valérie Donzelli, who also directed, and Jérémie Elkaïm) they’ve turned the movie into “a dazzlingly strange docudrama with musical numbers, choreographed interludes and prodigious cinematic verve.” (Andrew O’Hehir, It’s enough of an upper rather than downer that it has become a smash hit in France and earned the Pick of the Week from


Okay, that’s five movies accounted for, but where are the other five? They are mainly in The George, the Tropic’s own little alternative cinema with something for everyone.

You want a documentary? See
ADDICTION INCORPORATED, the story of the whistle-blower who turned around the national dialogue about smoking.
You’re a balletomane? Catch LE CORSAIR, live from the Bolshoi via satellite at 11:00AM on Sunday (8PM in Moscow), or in a rebroadcast at 7:00PM EST. This ballet is a great romantic drama of a beautiful slave girl and a dashing buccaneer, with a Titanic-like ending.
Or are you an opera aficionado? Tuesday brings us LA BOHEME from Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, also live via satellite, at 3:00PM (9PM in Spain), with a rebroadcast at 7:00PM EST.
Classic movies your thing? How about Billy Wilder’s STALAG 17 on Monday night. More proof that the March theme “Wild About Wilder” is well-deserved. Great comedy, and high drama in the unlikely setting of a German P.O.W. camp. All the more striking when you realize it was released in 1953, only eight years after the war ended.
Oh, fishing is more your thing than this culture-corner stuff? Come on Sunday evening for the latest version of the FLY FISHING FILM TOUR at 7:30PM in the Carper Theater. Another collection of fabulous shorts, all about you-know-what, that’s touring the country and drawing crowds from Tulsa to Tampa… in Key West for one night only.
Full schedules and info at or

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