La Perla
Dir. Emilio Fernández; writ. Fernández, John Steinbeck (novel); feat. Pedro Armendáriz, María Elena Marqués, Fernando Wagner, Gilberto González, Charles Rooner (NR)

La Perla is part of the Instituto de Mexico's new "Highlights of Mexican Classical Movies" series, which takes

A scene from Emilio Fernández' La Perla.
place every Sunday in June. Movies will be screened on video tape instead of film, but these classics can be so hard to find for home viewing that even a video screening is a service to the community. This first installment, based on John Steinbeck's The Pearl, was directed by one of Mexico's silver screen legends, a man whose career in front of and behind the camera lasted almost 60 years. Known as "the Indian," Emilio Fernández participated in the Mexican Revolution and fled to the U.S. rather than serve a 20-year prison sentence - later returning to make critically acclaimed films. JOHN DEFORE

La Perla screens at the Instituto de Mexico, 600 Hemisfair Park, at 4 pm on Sunday, June 8. Info: 227-0130.

Dir. and writ. Godfrey Reggio (PG)

Naqoyqatsi was a long time coming. The final installment in Godfrey Reggio's widely celebrated "qatsi" trilogy (the previous chapters being Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi - Hopi Indian terms for "life out of balance" and "life in transition," respectively), the movie was released last year, 14 years after its predecessor. "Naqoyqatsi" means "war as a way of life," and furthers Reggio's montage-based visual investigation - for the uninitiated, these films are streams of images without dialogue or a traditional story - of what mankind has done to itself and the planet.

This time around, the filmmaker is much more interested in the commercialization of the psychic sphere, bombarding the viewer with assorted trademarks and corporate imagery. Celebrities also play a part they haven't before; the Beatles, Castro, and Albert Einstein stand in for the anonymous hobos and teeming oppressed masses of the earlier films. And instead of class warfare, this film centers on the literal kind, with shots of marching troops and instruments of destruction.

What hasn't changed is the series' continuously pulsing heart - the music of Philip Glass, here joined by cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The ceaseless repetition and slowly evolving patterns of Glass' music give an epic narrative thread to Reggio's dissolving visions; the score is the march of time and movement of humanity as we struggle to understand our place in a world that often seems to suffer from our presence. JOHN DEFORE

Naqoyqatsi screens Tuesday, June 10 as part of Texas Public Radio's "Cinema Tuesdays" series. 7:30 pm at AMC Huebner Oaks, admission $10 members/$12 non-members, 614-8977 or tpr.org for reservations.

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