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Padmavati Film Sparks Epic Riots By Hindu Right Wing

A film about Padmavati earns the weekend’s award for Most Controversial Opening. Over in India, months of riots were sparked by unfounded rumors that the Bollywood film had a Muslim-Rajput erotic fantasy sequence.

For those who want something equally controversial, this weekend also sees an acclaimed film about an insult that spirals into massive religious unrest. This film has been nominated for an Academy Award.

Fortunately, controversy is one thing you won’t find in a new animated children’s fantasy directed by a Studio Ghibli alumnus.

Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes

Lianne and Cindy Reyes are two wives who are not related to each other. But their paths cross when their respective husbands reveal they’re carrying on a gay affair together. Both men decide to leave their wives and get married to each other. However, Lianne and Cindy plot to ruin the two men’s relationship to save their own marriages. But is such a plot really what both women need to fix their lives?

Now at the Century at Tanforan

The Great Buddha

Middle-aged buddies Pickle and Belly Button lead incredibly boring lives. Pickle works as a night security guard at a bronze statue factory and sometimes plays in a funeral band. Belly Button is a recycling collector who passes along picked up porn magazines to Pickle. When the office television breaks down, the two men entertain themselves by watching recorded dash-com footage from the boss’ car. Their voyeurism turns serious when they accidentally discover the boss’ terrible secret. That discovery sets in motion a chaotic chain of events which will eventually involve a Buddha statue being sent to a religious festival.

Now at the 4-Star Theatre

The Insult

In contemporary Beirut, Lebanese Christian Tony and Palestinian refugee Yasser face off in court. The suit concerns an insult between the two men that gets blown out of proportion. The court case soon turns into a media circus stoking Christian vs. Muslim tensions in the Arab community. Eventually, both Tony and Yasser realize matters have gone beyond redressing personal pride. One of this year’s five Academy Award nominees for Best Foreign Film.

Now at the Clay Theatre, the Shattuck Cinemas, and the Smith Rafael Film Center

Mary And The Witch’s Flower

Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arletty) adapts Mary Stewart’s children’s book The Little Broomstick. Young Mary is spending a dull country summer with her Great Aunt Charlotte. Things change when Mary follows a mysterious cat into the nearby forest. There, she discovers an old broomstick and the Fly-By-Night flower. This rare flower supposedly gives a person magical powers for only one night. Mary finds out the legends are true when she winds up at a college in the clouds. This is Endor College, a school for witches run by Madame Mumblechook. Though the school headmistress praises Mary as a prodigy, the girl will eventually find herself clashing with both the headmistress and transformation scientist Doctor Dee.

Now at the Roxie Theatre

Padmaavat

In 13th century India, beautiful and valorous Rani Padmavati is happily married to Maharawal Ratan Singh. However, the tyrannical Sultan of Delhi Alauddin Khilji becomes obsessed with Padmavati. And that obsession means Sultan Khilji will ruthlessly use any and all means at his disposal to possess the beautiful Padmavati for himself.

Now at the AMC Van Ness 14, the Century 12 San Mateo, and the Century 20 Daly City

Vazante

In early 19th century Brazil, slavery is part of the social fabric. Landowner Antonio is trying to convert a group of slaves who’ve worked in the diamond mines into farmworkers. He’s also trying to conceive an heir with new 19-year-old wife Beatriz. But trouble begins after Antonio’s land turns out to be unsuitable for farming. Eventually, the stage will be set for Antonio’s monstrous act of cruelty.

Now at the Opera Plaza Cinemas

Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany Of Rosie Ming

Rosie Ming (Sandra Oh) may be a young Canadian poet. But she lives with her overprotective Chinese grandparents and has never taken a trip anywhere by herself. That situation changes when Rosie gets invited to perform at a poetry festival in Shiraz, Iran. Among the poets and Persians she meets in Iran, the young poet is soon forced to face questions about the Iranian father who supposedly abandoned her and the nature of poetry itself. The film is a mix of animation styles, one for the main narrative and different ones for each of the individual stories and poems.

Now at the Roxie Theatre

About the Author

I'm a film reviewer for the Beyond Chron blog. Agnes Varda and Hirokazu Kore-eda are among my favorite filmmakers. I occasionally break down and watch a good action film...but don't tell anyone.

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