Schedule of Events

United Kingdom, 2002

U.S. Premiere

Comedy

Two men become escorts, which does wonders for their bank accounts but wreaks havoc on their lives in all other respects. An unsentimental but romantic sex comedy that promises "a cinematic first in the closing frame." (Edwards Island Cinemas, 2 p.m.)

Strange Fruit

United States, 2002

Documentary

In 1937, Bronx-born high school teacher Abel Meeropol wrote a poem titled "Strange Fruit" about the lynching of a black man. The poem begins, "Southern trees bear a strange fruit/Blood on the leaves and blood at the root," which eventually became the lyrics for a tune performed by jazz legend Billie Holiday. Director Joel Katz explores jazz history, biography, concert footage and the history of lynching for this provocative documentary. (Orange County Museum of Art, 2 p.m.)

The Flats

United States, 2002

Drama

Harper is a party boy who takes the party too far one night; sentenced to six months on a work farm, he decides to spend the eight days he has left before he ships out living it up with his ragtag crew of friends. His best friend, Luke, sees that Harper is on a fast track to oblivion and tries to intervene, and Harper responds to his friend's loyalty by seducing Luke's girlfriend. (Edwards Island Cinemas, 3:30 p.m.)

The Shaman's Apprentice

United States, 2001

Documentary

Susan Sarandon narrates this documentary look at ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin and his attempts to preserve the ancient knowledge of the Amazonian shamans. (Orange County Museum of Art, 3:30 p.m.)

The Month of August

United States, 2002

Romance

Nick has suffered through a string of failed relationships when his friend Sam sets him up with a quirky waitress who represents everything Nick doesn't want--and everything he can't resist. (Lido Theater, 4 p.m.)

Something Foreign in the Shorts

A collection of shorts with a title that verges on the nauseating, featuring shorts from nearly every genre from around the globe, including Daniel Hsia's comedy, How to Do the Asian Squat. (Edwards Island Cinemas, 4 p.m.)

L'Chayim Comrade Stalin

United States, 2002

Documentary

Ron Perlman (the former star of TV's Beauty and the Beast, but don't hold that against him) narrates this documentary about the Jewish settlement Stalin set up in Siberia in 1928. By establishing the Jewish Autonomous Region, Stalin intended, as one person in the film puts it, to "strangle Jewish culture at its roots," but instead he inadvertently produced a thriving and populous Jewish land decades before the creation of the state of Israel. (Orange County Museum of Art, 5 p.m.)

The Anarchist Cookbook

United States, 2001

Comedy/Drama

Puck is the ringleader of a band of pranksterish, hardcore, nonviolent lefties who live in an abandoned East Dallas house. But things turn grim following the arrival of Johnny Black, a nihilistic sort who goads the group into violence, cruel scams and drug addiction. As if Puck's life wasn't already heading downhill fast, he also finds himself falling for a kinky Republican girl with a fetish for leather and George W. (Edwards Island Cinemas, 6 p.m.)

Short Stack

A fistful of shorts with no consistent theme I can work out, including Resurrection Mary, a supernatural thriller about a string of disappearances that have been taking place in a small town for more than a century. (Lido Theater, 6 p.m.)

Satisfying Your Shorts

A collection of shorts with a title that just doesn't make sense any way you slice it. Shorts themselves, whether of the filmic or short pants variety, are inanimate and thus are incapable of being satisfied. I think the phrase the festival organizers were grasping for was "Satisfying Shorts," but the poor dears were probably so exhausted from coming up with all those double-entendres for their shorts program titles they could no longer think straight. (Orange County Museum of Art, 6:30 p.m.)

Final Draft

United States, 2002

U.S. Premiere

Romance

Harry and Marty, two Jewish, aspiring-director buddies, seem to finally get a break when they get the chance to pitch a script to Misney Studios; but the pressure gets to them, and the differences in their personalities begin to drive them apart. (Edwards Island Cinemas, 7 p.m.)

Drive

United States, 2002

Southern California Premiere

Documentary

Mike Vallely is a gentleman who takes skateboarding very, very seriously. In this film, he crosses the country using naught but his board powered by his own foot endlessly slapping the pavement, musing as he goes about the nature of modern America and skateboarding's place within it. A completely annoying and perplexing cinematic experience to some, but no doubt a godsend to the select few on Vallely's particular wavelength. (Orange County Museum of Art, 8 p.m.)

Merci Pour Le Chocolat

France/Switzerland/Spain, 2001

Thriller

A Hitchcockian thriller about young Jeanne, who believes she may have been switched at birth with another newborn (the son of a famous piano player) and decides to investigate, uncovering in the process lies, murder and the general hypocrisy of the middle class. But at least by way of compensation there's chocolate. (Edwards Island Cinemas, 8:30 p.m.)

The Gatekeeper

United States, 2002

Drama

A monstrous U.S. border-patrol agent is vigilant about keeping immigrants out of the U.S. until an undercover operation goes awry, and he is forced to live and work alongside the people he has hated in this thumpingly unsubtle crime drama. Clumsy, ugly and just really un-fun in all particulars. (Edwards Island Cinemas, 8:30 p.m.)

The Trip
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