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LAist Film Calendar 04/15-04/17: The Indian Film Festival Turns Arclight Bollywood!

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The Indian Film Festival returns to LA! Bring your best bangles to Arclight Hollywood for a masala blend of high drama, social documentaries, romance and, of course, song and dance. The festival kicked off last night with the gala premiere of award-winning feature I Am Kalam, with many more premieres & returning favorites on hand throughout the weekend.

Tonight, witness the LA premiere of The Bengali Detective. This real-life film noir traces hard-boiled detective Rajesh Ji through the mean streets of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) on the trail of adulterers, counterfeiters & even murderers. The bizarre twist? Between these horrors, and a wife on her deathbed, Rajesh still pursues his dream of becoming a professional dancer. You can't make this stuff up.

Also playing tonight is Peepli Live, another pitch-black satire (this time fictional) portraying the media frenzy surrounding a poor farmer who plans to commit suicide so the government will relieve his family of debt. Both films were featured at Sundance, and Peepli Live was India's submission for the 2010 Best Foreign Picture Oscar.

Thursday, a positive counterpoint to Peepli Live emerges in the documentary Ganesh, Boy Wonder. This time, the media exposure of a young boy's facial deformity helps him access the lifesaving treatment his poor family could never afford.

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Thursday also sees two powerful narratives hit the screen. An Unfinished Letter stars Bengali legend Aparna Sen (who also wrote and directed) as an aging actress contemplating her life & career as she writes a suicide note. For a meta casting twist, Sen's daughter, Konkona Sen Sharma (an acclaimed actress in her own right) stars as a younger version of her character. Mumbai Diaries delves beneath the Bollywood glamor for a lo-fi, verite-style portrait of the city through the eyes of young romantics.

Friday, come out for the world premiere of documentary I Am. How do Indian gays & lesbians relate to their families in a society where their identity was illegal until two years ago? The LA premiere of That Girl In Yellow Boots focuses on a different family trial, as a bi-racial girl runs away to Mumbai to find her estranged Indian father.

Then, break the tension with a late-night screening of Endhiran, the delirious Tamil science fiction musical epic about a robot who falls for its creator's lover. Starring cult action star Rajinikath (the Indian Chuck Norris), with a score by A.R. Rahman (best known here for Slumdog Millionaire), special-effects from Stan Winston Studios & stunts from Yuen Woo Ping (The Matrix), it's Frankenstein meets Romeo & Juliet. On acid. With dancing!

Saturday's an all-day affair, beginning with matinees of Virgin Goat & Udaan. The former's a poor farmer's journey through hell, high water & heavy political blockade to get his goat so he can regain economic stability. The latter's a harsh coming of age story of expulsion, child workers & abusive parents that premiered to a standing ovation at Cannes.

The day continues with the LA premiere of Troublemaker, another story of self-motivation and young adulthood, this time set in Seattle amongst the Indian diaspora. I Am (no relation to the documentary playing Friday) is a short film anthology of people living fractured lives on the fringe of Indian society. The evening comes to a close with the world premiere of Big In Bollywood, documenting a struggling Angeleno actor's overnight Indian success, and last year's Bollywood blockbuster Wedding Planner.

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Sunday, the final day of the Indian Film Festival opens with a matinee encore of Big in Bollywood. The afternoon continues with a double-feature of Pink Saris & Pink Chaddis. Both documentaries chronicle the confrontation between ultra-conservative men & the modern Indian women's movement. The "Pink Gang" (referenced in both titles) meld humor, advocacy & bravery in their stands against child brides, abusive families & caste conflicts.

The festival ends with the gala world premiere of Zokkomon, Walt Disney Pictures' first feature from their Indian division. Zokkomon features all the family-friendliness of the Mouse & all the dance numbers of Bollywood in its story of a boy who becomes an unlikely superhero after his wicked uncle kicks him out of their village.

Looks like we've taken a few cues from Bollywood with the epic length this week. Non-festival listings appear below. See you at the movies!

All Week
Henry's Crime (2010) (The Landmark)
Le Quattro Volte (2010) (Nuart Theatre)
Rubber (2010) (Downtown Independent)

Thursday 4/14
Caught (1949) / Beware, My Lovely (1952) (Egyptian Theatre) (Noir City, Hollywood: 13th Annual Festival of Film Noir)
Clay Dean and Tuni Chatterji: (Un)related Films by Lovers (w/ filmmakers) (Echo Park Film Center)
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) / The Doll Squad (1973) (New Beverly Cinema) (Grindhouse Film Festival)
Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976) / Cinderella Liberty (1973) (Aero Theatre) (New Hollywood Godson: An In-Person Tribute to James Caan)
Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (Arclight Hollywood)
Joe's Sea - from Sicily to Alaska (2009) (Warner Grand Theatre)
Secret Reunion (2010) (free event) (Korean Cultural Center)
Source Code (2011) (Arclight Beach Cities) (Arclight Sherman Oaks) (21+ screening)
Tony Clifton: Live On The Sunset Strip (2010) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre)
Who Killed Chea Vichea? (2009) / Enemies of the People (2009) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)

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Friday 4/15
Body Parts (1991) (w/ writer/director Eric Red) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (Friday Night Frights)
Enter the Void (2009) (Nuart Theatre) (Cine-Insomnia Midnight Movie)
The Houston Story (1956) / New Orleans Uncensored (1955) (w/ Jeanne Cooper) (Egyptian Theatre) (Noir City, Hollywood: 13th Annual Festival of Film Noir)
Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (Arclight Hollywood)
The Joy Luck Club (1993) (Warner Grand Theatre)
King of Kings (1927) (Old Town Music Hall)
The Oath (2010) (Echo Park Film Center)
Nostalgia for the Light (2010) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum)
Red Headed Woman (1932) / Libeled Lady (1936) (w/ special guests) (New Beverly Cinema)
Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010) (midnight show) (New Beverly Cinema)
The Shining (1980) (Regency Academy) (Insomniac Cinema Midnight Movie)
Thief (1981) / Hide in Plain Sight (1983) (w/ James Caan) (Aero Theatre) (New Hollywood Godson: An In-Person Tribute to James Caan)
Wild Style (1983) (w/ director Charlie Ahearn & co-stars Busy Bee, Fab 5 Freddy & Patti Astor) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (Art in the Streets)

Saturday 4/16
April Love (1957) (Warner Grand Theatre)
The Big Lebowski (1998) (w/ quote-a-long, costume contest, Wii bowling, & white Russians) (Art Theatre of Long Beach) (Mondo Fridays)
Blackboard Jungle (1955) / Brute Force (1947) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Looking for Richard Brooks: An Appreciation)
Even the Rain (2010) (Egyptian Theatre)
Framed (1947) / Mr. Soft Touch (1949) (w/ Glenn Ford's son, Peter Ford) (Egyptian Theatre) (Noir City, Hollywood: 13th Annual Festival of Film Noir)
Funny Lady (1975) / Misery (1990) (Aero Theatre) (New Hollywood Godson: An In-Person Tribute to James Caan)
Grace of My Heart (1996) (w/ Allison Anders, Illeana Douglas & Eric Stoltz) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (An Evening With Allison Anders)
In the Mouth of Madness (1994) (midnight show w/ producer Sandy King) (New Beverly Cinema)
Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (Arclight Hollywood)
King of Kings (1927) (Old Town Music Hall)
The Land Before Time (1988) (w/ voice actor Will Ryan) (Aero Theatre)
The Last Unicorn (1982) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (Pajama Party VI)
Macario (1960) / La Perla (1947) (Autry National Center) (Crossing Borders Film Series)
REDCAT International Children's Film Festival, Day 7 (REDCAT - Roy & Edna Disney/Calarts Theater)
Red Headed Woman (1932) / Libeled Lady (1936) (w/ special guests) (New Beverly Cinema)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (Sins O' The Flesh Midnight Show) (Nuart Theatre)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (Midnight Insanity Midnight Show) (South Coast Village Regency Theaters)
White Savage (1943) / Key Largo (1948) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Looking for Richard Brooks: An Appreciation)

Sunday 4/17
The Art of the Canon (Goethe-Institut)
Cry Tough (1959) / Down Three Dark Streets (1954) (Egyptian Theatre) (Noir City, Hollywood: 13th Annual Festival of Film Noir)
A Disappearance Foretold (Qianmen qian) (2008) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Between Disorder and Unexpected Pleasures: Tales from the New Chinese Cinema)
Even the Rain (2010) (Egyptian Theatre)
Gas Food Lodging (1992) / Mi Vida Loca (1994) (w/ Allison Anders, Ione Skye, Brooke Adams, Angel Aviles, Seidy Lopez, & Jacob Vargas) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (An Evening With Allison Anders)
Gigi (1958) / Love in the Afternoon (1957) (New Beverly Cinema)
Gone With the Wind (1939) (The Bay Theatre)
Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (Arclight Hollywood)
The Intensity of the World: An Evening with Tomonari Nishikawa (w/ Tomonari Nishikawa) (Los Angeles Filmforum) (Egyptian Theatre)
King of Kings (1927) (Old Town Music Hall)
Lunafest (Downtown Independent)
REDCAT International Children's Film Festival, Day 8 (REDCAT - Roy & Edna Disney/Calarts Theater)
Scenes of City Life (1935) (free event) (Getty Center)
The Tillman Story (2010) (Warner Grand Theatre)
Underground, U.S.A. (1980) (w/ Patti Astor) (Echo Park Film Center)
Wendy and Lucy (2008) / Old Joy (2007) (w/ writer/director Kelly Reichardt) (Aero Theatre)

That's all for this week. OK, we'll play out a few more song & dance pieces: the Cinefamily features beyond-X burlesque Tony Clifton: Live on the Sunset Strip & legendary NYC graffiti film Wild Style (with hip-hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy!). The New Beverly boasts the multi-Oscar classic Gigi & the return of the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World midnight show (as if the weekend needed any more epic epicness).