A Tale of a Naughty Girl
Buddhadeb Dasgupta (India)
Living in the mystical landscapes of West Bengal, the precocious young Lati is caught between the push of tradition and the pull of the promise of a new life. Her aging prostitute mother is trying to sell her to a lecherous movie-theatre owner, who will serve as patron to both women. But having tasted the fruits of education, Lati yearns for the world beyond her village. Indian director Buddhadeb Dasgupta may be without equal in crafting lyrical stories about the forces that threaten to destroy innocence. Though the film is set in 1969, just as man is about to walk on the moon, Dasgupta has fashioned a timeless and almost flawless tale that speaks to women and men everywhere. - M.P.
(Sat. Sept. 7, 9 p.m., Cumberland 3; Mon. Sept. 9, noon, Varsity 1.)
Jia Zhang-ke (China/South Korea/France/Japan)
Jia's fluid follow-up to Platform is less epic but equally radical in its approach to freedom among today's American-influenced Chinese youth. The camera revolves around two only-child slackers and their romantic escapades with the stylish Qiao Qiao, a two-bit performer attached to a local thug. The climax, which results from a half-serious attitude that one need not live past 30, confirms that the film's English title - the second Joy Division album - is no coincidence. Its music operates on an emotional level of stunted, late-teen solitude, and is the primary means Jia uses to tap into generational angst. Full of poignant moments of sentimental intimacy, Unknown Pleasures argues that love and history both can tear us apart. - M.P.
(Fri. Sept. 6, 6:30 p.m., Cumberland 2; Sat. Sept. 7, 1 p.m., Uptown 3.)