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Arts and Entertainment

LAist Film Calendar 12/30-01/02: Fear and Poetry in Afghanistan

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As countless hours of news coverage have illustrated, Kabul is a city without hope, suffocated by endless war, religious extremism and deep-seated corruption. While these menaces are certainly present in The Black Tulip, Afghanistan's submission for the 2011 Academy Awards, the film chooses instead to focus on everyday Afghanis, their perseverance and the daily struggle for free expression. The Black Tulip follows a decade of triumphs and tragedy for the Mansouri family, whom Taliban insurgents mark for death after they open The Poet's Corner, a cafe featuring live music and poetry readings.

Producing The Black Tulip mirrored the Mansouri family's struggles to live creatively rather than merely stay alive. Shot on location with an all-Afghani cast and largely local crew, the shoot was besieged by constant machine gun fire and a hotel explosion that sent the few American crew members packing. Writer and director Sonia Nassery Cole claims to have received so many death threats that she left a chilling note for her son reading "If I am abducted, do not make a deal to get me released. Let them torture me. Let them kill me." The Black Tulip opens Friday at Laemmle's Sunset.

For more blackness, head to Arclight Sherman Oaks for the 21+ screening of Black Swan. Have an extra cocktail for Natalie, as she won't be able to for a while. The Nuart continues to screen the grueling 127 Hours and technophilic The Social Network, as each continues to pick up awards momentum. There's a second offer of The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, this time at the Egyptian Theatre. The New Beverly completes the trilogy with a 20th-anniversary screening of The Godfather Part III.

To take it even further back, check into any of the Aero Theatre's screwball comedy screenings. Thursday's Remember Last Night? is a mystery wherein a party gets so raucous nobody seems to notice when bodies pile up. Somebody call Nick & Nora! Saturday, auld acquaintances the Marx Brothers harp in the New Year. A Day at the Races and A Night at the Opera are their first films for MGM, and amongst their finest overall. As a bonus, both films will be introduced by Groucho's grandson Andy.

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Full list appears below. See you at the movies!

All Week

Thursday 12/30

Friday 12/31

Saturday 1/1

Sunday 1/2

That's all for this week. How many movies did you catch theatrically this year? What were your favorites?