Over Indulge!

(a Guide To Viewing Yourself Silly)

The Maryland Film Festival

April 27, 2000|By CHRIS KALTENBACH | CHRIS KALTENBACH,SUN STAFF

So many movies, so little time.

One hot ticket at this year's Maryland Film Festival will be tonight's local premiere of "King Gimp," Susan Hadary and William Whiteford's Academy Award-winning documentary about Towson artist Dan Keplinger. The screening at the Senator is sure to be splashy, but the weekend offers numerous other hot tickets. In fact, you'll have more than 100 films and shorts to pick from. To help you make the tough choices, we've created a road map of movie-going for each day of the festival.

SUNDAY

APRIL 30

To enjoy the best Sunday has to offer, you're going to need a car. The schedule is tight, but the day will run the gamut of American cinema, from low-budget to mega-budget; from the 19th century to the eve of the 21st.

I've seen "The Wizard of Oz" a kazillion times, on screens big and small, in color and in total black and white, in midtown Manhattan and on my TV screen. As much as I hate to let anyone travel the yellow brick road without me, I think I'll pass on this screening. But if you've got small kids and want a good Sunday-morning family outing, or if you've never seen Judy Garland, et al., on a genuine movie screen, then by all means take advantage of today's 9:30 a.m. showing.

10 a.m. -- Instead of trippin' with the Munchkins, I suggest you join me at the Charles to watch directors Jill Hennessy and Elizabeth Holder's "Acting Class." The film offers a (fictional) behind-the-scenes look at the New York acting scene, played for laughs. Hennessy spent a few years as Assistant District Attorney Claire Kincaid on NBC's "Law & Order," and she's called on old friends for help. Much of "Acting Class" was shot on the "L&O" set in New York, and the film includes cameos from Jerry Orbach, Chris Noth and Angie Harmon. Not only does all this sound promising, but Hennessy and Baltimore-native Holder will be on hand to introduce things.

For a bonus, there's an accompanying screening of David Schmoeller's documentary "Please Kill Mr. Kinski," yet another testimony to how difficult the late German actor Klaus -- father of Nastassja -- could be to work with. It's a good companion piece to Werner Herzog's "My Best Fiend," which played the Charles earlier this year.

Noon -- You can hobnob with filmmakers Hennessy, Holder and Schmoeller for a few moments. but don't tarry: it's time for a little Victorian-era entertainment at the Maryland Historical Society, 201 W. Monument St. Back when Great-Grandma was young and movies were still a figment of Mr. Edison's imagination, magic-lantern shows were all the rage. Stories were told using glass slides, frequently with moving parts, projected onscreen using a brass-and-mahogany magic lantern and with accompanying narration.

Terry Borton, of the American Magic-Lantern Theater, is a fourth-generation lanternist, and his program Sunday will include two segments specially designed with Baltimore in mind: a presentation of Poe's "The Raven" and slides depicting the British bombardment of Fort McHenry. Prepare to be enchanted.

2 p.m. -- Now you've got a choice to make, and it's a tough one. It'd be great to head back to the Charles for highlights of the Black Maria Film Festival at 2 p.m., and "Long Night's Journey Into Day," a documentary about the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, at 4 p.m. But if you want my advice, head to the Senator, at 5904 York Road (just south of Northern Parkway) in time for Stanley Kubrick's 1960 epic, "Spartacus," with Kirk Douglas as a slave leading a revolt against the Romans.

Not only is this a great film in its own right -- and there's no better place to see it than the Senator -- but you'll be seeing a fully restored version, including footage the studio deleted before it was ever released. Restorers James Katz and Robert Harris will be on hand to introduce the film, and just listening to these guys talk is worth the price of admission.

7 p.m. -- "Spartacus" should end around 5:30 p.m., which means you'll have time for dinner. But be sure to get back to the Charles in time for "Spring Forward," starring Ned Beatty and Liev Schreiber in a story of two municipal employees, one an old-timer looking to get along in the world, the other an ex-con trying to start afresh. Director Tom Gilroy (who had a cameo in "Acting Class") is scheduled to be on hand, along with Schreiber.

9 p.m. -- Those not ready to let the festival close, or those looking for a chance to talk with some guest filmmakers, should check out the closing-night party, featuring a performance from Jonathan Richman. The festivities are slated for the National Aquarium; admittance is an all-access pass or a ticket to either of the festival's closing-night films, "Spring Forward" or "Panic."

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