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Bright Lights, Film Forum, "Ajami," SF Indiefest

The Auteurs Daily

Bright Lights Film Journal

Just a very quick Daily roundup from within the Rotterdam maelstrom. First and foremost, a new issue of Bright Lights Film Journal is up - but hold on, as editor Gary Morris explains, there's more: "Yes, we've joined the contemporary makeover craze, redesigning, restructuring, and recoding every single page of Bright Lights. We've also merged our popular blog, Bright Lights After Dark, with the site." As for Issue 67, "It's one of our biggest standalones, with lots of new writers joining the BL stalwarts in one of our most exciting issues."

"In 1972," begins Melissa Anderson in the Voice, "at the age of 23, Karen Cooper took over the two-year-old Film Forum when, as she recalls, 'it was a little hole-in-the wall on West 88th Street.' Three moves and 38 years later, Cooper continues to direct one of the city's - if not the nation's - most indispensable movie houses, showcasing both New York City premieres (which Cooper co-programs with Mike Maggiore, who joined the staff in 1994) and exceptional repertory offerings (programmed by Bruce Goldstein, who joined in 1986). On the occasion of MOMA's tribute to the indefatigable director, I met with Cooper, now 61, in Film Forum's Soho office to discuss documentaries - the focus of the MOMA series - changing tastes, and interesting times." Karen Cooper Carte Blanche: 40 Years of Documentary Premieres at Film Forum runs through February 20.

Film Forum's Kurosawa retrospective runs on through February 18 (and here's an earlier roundup) - and with it, Ran, "either the most intimate of epics or most epic of chamber pieces," as David Phelps writes in the L Magazine. More from David Fear in Time Out New York.

Also at Film Forum, but playing through February 16 is Ajami, Israel's horse in the Oscar race. "When you break it down, Ajami tells a pretty simple story," writes Andrew Schenker in Slant. "Two Muslim kids living in the eponymous Arab neighborhood in Jaffa, Israel, both in desperate need of money, stumble upon what they believe to be a valuable package of drugs and arrange an ill-fated sale. But co-directors and screenwriters Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani (a Palestinian and an Israeli, respectively) are not after anything so straightforward, and, like many a filmmaker before them, they subject their narrative to a counterproductive time-shuffling, crafting a web of shifting perspectives and peripheral plotting in an attempt to widen the film's scope." More from Eric Hynes (indieWIRE), Nicolas Rapold (L), Joshua Rothkopf (TONY), Ella Taylor (Voice) and James van Maanen.

Sticking with New York for the moment, the series Storm Warnings: Resistance and Reflection in Polish Cinema, 1977 - 1989 runs at the Walter Reade through February 11. Michael Atkinson has an overview in the Voice and, for the L, David Phelps offers a brief take on the opening film, Feliks Falk's Top Dog.

The San Francisco Independent Film Festival opens tomorrow and runs through February 18. Cheryl Eddy scans this year's edition for the Bay Guardian while Michael Hawley takes a sneak peek at four titles in the lineup.

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I will be running over to the Forum for both films. Ran was a no-brainer.

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