posted February 3, 2006

Knickerbocker Theatre Announces Spring Films

Hope College's Knickerbocker Theatre has announced its spring lineup of independent films.

The films being featured are "The World," "Turtles Can Fly," "The Grace Lee Project," and "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress." The series will begin on Friday, Feb. 10, and continue through Friday, March 17.

The series opens with the Chinese film "The World," showing on Friday-Saturday, Feb. 10-11, and Monday-Friday, Feb. 13-17, at 6:45 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. "The World" is a theme park on the outskirts of Beijing, 16 kilometers from the Chinese capital, designed around scaled representations of the world's famous landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But the film does not focus on the site as much as the staff behind it, offering a human perspective. While glittering for tourists, much of the staff is disillusioned with life and work. The film is not rated, but is not recommended for young teenagers or younger. In Mandarin with English subtitles, "The World" runs two hours 23 minutes.

"Turtles Can Fly" shows Monday-Saturday, Feb. 20-25, with showings at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., except for Tuesday, Feb. 21, when there is a 9 p.m. showing only. Near the Iraqi-Turkish border on the eve of an American invasion, refugee children gauge and await their fate. Soran is a 13-year-old boy who orders other children around as he installs an antenna for villagers keen to hear of Saddam's fall. Eventually, he falls for Agrin but is disturbed by her brother Henkov, who was left armless after he stepped on a landmine and who can now seemingly predict the future. The film is a spiritual bulletin from the war-ravaged Middle East, and placed children at the centre of the action. Rated PG-13, the film is in Kurdish with English subtitles. It runs one hour 38 minutes.

"The Grace Lee Project" runs Monday-Saturday, Feb. 27-March 4, with 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. shows. A video essay that goes in search of the average Asian-American woman, "The Grace Lee Project" is a unique and entertaining documentary. Early in her film, Grace Lee points out that almost everyone knows a Grace Lee, and what's more, is inclined to describe her the same way: nice, intelligent, quiet, sweet, studious and sort of forgettable. Although "The Grace Lee Project" is ostensibly about a name, it's really about cultural assimilation and a stereotype of virtue and subservience that has deep roots on both sides of the Pacific. The film is in English and is not rated. It runs one hour eight minutes.

"Balzac and The Little Chinese Seamstress" shows Monday-Friday, March 6-10, and Monday-Friday, March 13-17, at 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. In 1971 China, in the lingering grip of the Cultural Revolution, two university students are sent to a mountain mining village as part of their reeducation duty to purge them of their classical Western-oriented education. Amid the backbreaking work and stifling ignorance of the community, the two boys find that music and the presence of the beautiful local women are the only pleasant things in their life. However, none compare to the young seamstress granddaughter of the local tailor. Stealing a departing student's secret cache of forbidden books of classic Western literature, they set about to woo her and teach her things she had never imagined. In doing so, they start a journey that profoundly changes her perspective on her world and teaches the boys about the power of literature and their own ability to change their world in truly revolutionary ways. Parental discretion is recommended for children under the age of 13. In Mandarin with English subtitles, the film runs one hour 50 minutes.

Tickets for films at the Knickerbocker are $6 for regular admission and $5 for senior citizens, and may be purchased at the door. Updated information may be obtained by calling the Knickerbocker Information Line at (616) 395-7403 or visiting www.hope.edu/arts/knick.

The Knickerbocker Theatre is located at 86 E. Eighth St. in downtown Holland.