Fine finales to film fests

Critic's choice : Film

April 30, 2000|By Ann Hornaday

Maryland filmgoers are spoiled in April, when festivals abound and screen offerings swell to bursting.

Baltimore's Jewish Film Festival closes today with a screening of "The Children of Chabannes," Lisa Gossels' fascinating film about a group of Jewish children who were given safe haven during World War II at a French chateau in a remote rural village. Although formally not much to speak of, "The Children of Chabannes" still brings to light an obscure chapter of the war, and one that offers a rare glimpse of humanity in the midst of unfathomable human cruelty.

"The Children of Chabannes" will be shown at 3 p.m. at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave., in Owings Mills. Admission is $6.

The Maryland Film Festival, which opened Thursday and willhave screened more than 100 short and feature films by the end of the weekend, will close tonight with something of a "Homicide" reunion.

The festival's final film offerings will be 7 p.m. screenings of "Spring Forward," Tom Gilroy's festival-circuit favorite starring former "Homicide" rep member Ned Beatty and Liev Schreiber. And "Panic," former "Homicide" writer Henry Bromell's directorial debut, will make a rare festival appearance before opening in theaters later this year. "Panic" stars William H. Macy as a man facing the mid-life question of whether he should quit a business partnership with his father (played in a powerful turn by Donald Sutherland).

Both "Spring Forward" and "Panic" will be shown at the Charles Theater. The screenings will be followed by a closing-night party at the National Aquarium featuring a performance by singer-songwriter Jonathan Richman. For ticket information call 410-752-8083 or visit the festival's Web site at www.mdfilmfest.com.

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