Special screenings

A Day Without A Mexican, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Pink Panther, Simon del desierto, Visiones: Latino Art & Culture, and Steven Kellman's observations on 'Shaolin Soccer'

A Day Without A Mexican

Dir. Sergio Arau; writ. Arau, Yareli Arizmendi; feat. Fernando Arau, Arizmendi, Todd Babcock, Tony Abatemarco, Yeniffer Behrens (R)

Sergio Arau, son of famed Mexican director Alfonso Arau, cut his teeth playing rock en español and directing videos with a sense of tongue-in-cheek humor and verve that set his work apart from the regular grind. In A Day Without a Mexican, his full-length feature debut, he imagines what California would be like without Mexicans around to pick crops, wash dishes, and care for children. Because the film poses provocative questions, a fertile premise, and relevant issues, the National Association for Latino Asset Builders is hosting its San Antonio premiere. Join filmmaker Arau and writer and actor Yareli Arizmendi, former mayor Henry Cisneros, and other Latino leaders from around the country, in a discussion of Latino economic asset building following the screening. Prior to the film, NALCAB will honor the winner of the David C. Lizzaraga Community Development Award. Alejandro Pérez

A Day Without a Mexican screens at 7pm Friday, September 3, as part of NALCAB's conference, at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, 1300 Guadalupe. Admission is $20. 281-772-9373 for more information or reservations.

Shaolin Soccer

Dir. Stephen Chow; writ. Chow, Kan-Cheung Tsang; feat. Chow, Vicki Zhao, Man Tat Ng, Yin Tse, Sarondar Li, Yut Fei Wong (PG)

Kung-fu, good and good for you, improves the soccer chops of a gang of disabled and dissheveled losers in Shaolin Soccer.
If professional matches were as predictable as sports movies, bookmakers would be losers. But filmmakers keep their books balanced by repeating the same winning formula - a sorry squad of scrappy underdogs claws its way to victory in the final moments. Shaolin Soccer is a kung-fu fairy tale, the story of how the discipline and intensity acquired from Shaolin martial arts enable a bunch of pathetic underachievers to become soccer champions of Shanghai. Since their opponents in the finals are a squad named Team Evil, the outcome offers as much suspense as an election in Syria. A boisterous soundtrack that includes American hip hop keeps the Shaolin ball rolling until the final frame, when our heroes achieve apotheosis on the cover of Time. — Steven G. Kellman

Cyrano de Bergerac

Dir. Michael Gordon; writ. Carl Foreman, based on the play by Edmond Rostand; feat. José Ferrer, Mala Powers, William Prince, Morris Carnovsky, Ralph Clanton, Lloyd Corrigan, Virginia Farmer, Edgar Barrier (NR)

José Ferrer won the Oscar for his portrayal of the famous, big-nosed, muy feo bard, whose words win the love of the fair Roxane - for his handsome rival. — Nicole Chavez

Cyrano de Bergerac screens at approximately 9pm Thursday, August 26 as part of the series "In the Public Domain," at the Slab across the street from La Tuna, 100 Probandt. Admission is free. For more information, call 212-9373.

The Pink Panther

Dir. Blake Edwards; writ. Edwards, Maurice Richlin; feat. Peter Sellers, David Niven, Robert Wagner, Capucine, Brenda De Banzie, Colin Gordon (NR)

This week, Texas Public Radio takes us back to the beginning of the long-running Pink Panther series - when that suave cartoon cat was nothing more than a cute accessory for a credits sequence. The cat isn't the star, of course; that would be Peter Sellers, even if the series' first installment doesn't quite understand that. Here, Sellers shares the spotlight with cat burglar David Niven, whose savoir-faire is diametrically opposed to the hilarious bumbling of Inspector Clouseau. As is the case with many movie franchises, the Panther series features a character who so outshines the stories built around him that his adventures are usually better remembered than re-watched. Youngsters who haven't seen them should approach the films as they would Jackie Chan's oeuvre: Don't expect to love the movie as a whole, but keep a close eye on the star, whose smallest gesture can be brilliant. Revisiting the films, one sees that the best moments are not the obvious ones - Clouseau trying to prop himself on a spinning globe, for instance - but the ones which the character struggles to pass off as business as usual, maintaining his dignity by pretending nothing is amiss while his raincoat is on fire. John DeFore

The Pink Panther screens at 7pm, August 31 as part of Texas Public Radio's "Cinema Tuesdays" series, at the Bijou at Crossroads Theater. Admission is $10 members / $12 non-members. 614-8977 or tpr.org for reservations.

Simon del desierto

Dir. Luis Buñuel; Buñuel, Julio Alejandro; feat. Claudio Brook, Silvia Pinal, Hortensia Santoveña, Luis Aceves Casteñeda, Enrique Álvarez Félix, Antonio Bravo, Enrique del Castillo, Jesús Fernández (NR)

The Instituto ends its "Buñuel in Mexico" series with his 40-minute religion send-up, Simon of the Desert, a satirical take on Jesus' 40 days with the devil. Often referred to as the single greatest short film of all time.

Simon del desierto screens at 4pm Sunday, August 29, and 7pm Wednesday, September 1 at the Instituto de México, 600 Hemisfair Park. Admission is free.

Visiones: Latino Art & Culture

Dir. Hector Galan (NR)

Taquero Miguel Angel Soria and musicos Cameron Jasper and Nicolas Carvajal of The Taco Shop Poets, a San Diego-based spoken-word troupe known for their 21st-century Chicano-Beat aesthetic, are coming to San Anto for a performance following a special screening of Hector Galan's Visiones: Latino Art & Culture documentary. The multi-part documentary, which looks at Latino life and culture, will be aired on PBS next September. Our Lady of the Lake University, in conjunction with the National Association of Latino Arts & Culture, is sponsoring the event. Alejandro Pérez

Visiones: Latino Art & Culture screens at 7pm Saturday, August 28, followed by a performance by The Taco Shop Poets, at Our Lady of the Lake's Thiry Auditorium. Admission is free. For more info, call 210 434-6711.


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