'Chinese Ghost' is a must

April 24, 1992|By Stephen Hunter

The vocabulary of film criticism is taxed to the ultimate to encompass the sensations contained in "Chinese Ghost Story III." But after laboriously studying Katz's "Encyclopedia of Film" and the collected works of Pauline Kael, I've come up with two words that may fill the bill: Holy cow!

This baby, which closes out the 23d Annual Baltimore International Film Festival Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Baltimore Museum of Art, simply has to be seen to be believed and it may not even be believed then. Still, it simply must be seen.

Wild and crazy -- and that's just in the slow moments -- it appears to be a story about a monk and his acolyte who take upon themselves the task of putting the infamous Tree Devil back in the earth in some mythic time period roughly consonant with Conan the Barbarian. The film must have cost about $50 million bucks, by the way, with incredible special effects (many involving, believe it or not, tongues) and great fighting sequences. If you see it, you will never forget it. You will never understand it, either.

Tickets remain for the event, and at 9, if you can still function, there's a closing party for the festival.

Other festival events:

Tonight at 7, "Alex," from Portugal, about a boy growing up under Salazar's dictatorship; and "Berdel, at 9, about village life in Turkey.

At 7 p.m. tomorrow, "Locked-Up Time," about an East German exile confronting the people who arrested and expelled her; at 9 p.m., a collection of animation by Michel Ocelot of France.

All events are at the Baltimore Museum of Art. For more information, call 889-1993.

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