'Citizen Kane'

Red-Hot 'Fuego'

The 4th Annual Maryland Film Festival

Thursday May 2nd Through Sunday May 5th


May 02, 2002|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Movie Critic

The ever-considerate Maryland Film Festival 2002 organizers have made it easy for those planning to attend this year's festivities from the very beginning: As of press time, there was only one movie scheduled for a 10 a.m. start time. But what a movie it is.

If you've never seen Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, and wonder why people still talk about this 60-year-old film as if it were the greatest movie ever made, by all means get an early start this morning and see it. Watch as the 26-year-old Welles plays with what he called the best toy-train set a boy ever had -- experimenting, playing against convention, making a film like no one else had ever seen before.

But amidst all the amazing cinematography, witty writing and cinematic derring-do, one aspect of the film is sometimes neglected: Welles' bravura performance as Charles Foster Kane, publisher, philanthropist, womanizer, blowhard. The character he and Herman J. Mankiewicz came up with in their screenplay demanded a larger-than-life performance that never forgets the man's all-too-human fallibility, and Welles fit the bill perfectly.

To those who have only seen Citizen Kane on TV or videotape, I say don't miss this rare opportunity to see it on the big screen. And if none of the foregoing entices you, don't miss this event if you're a fan of syndicated columnist and CNN commentator Robert Novak (Capital Gang, Crossfire), who will be serving as host of the screening.

For a look at other filmmakers trying to push various envelopes, follow Kane with a visit to the "Shorts 3," program (12:30 p.m.), where titles such as Born Loser, Afro Deutsch, Burn and Dirt promise all sorts of new experiences. None of the six films is longer than 22 minutes, so if you don't like something, be patient; it'll be over soon.

At 3:30 p.m., Women: The Forgotten Face of War offers some of those who witnessed the atrocities of the Serbian civil war a chance to ensure that their accounts of what happened are given a worldwide audience. One suspects it will be hard to remain unmoved. Directors Susan Muska and Greta Olafsdattir were also responsible for The Brandon Teena Story, a highlight of MFF 1 that formed the basis for the film Boys Don't Cry.

Grab a quick dinner when the film ends at 5:30, and get yourself back in the seats in time for the 6 p.m. showing of Kaaterskill Falls. Directed by Josh Apter and Peter Olsen, this tale of a vacationing couple whose decision to pick up a hitchhiker leads to all sorts of complications was nominated for several 2001 Independent Spirit Awards and features a surprise ending that, in the views of at least one Internet scribe, saves the entire film. Sounds intriguing.

Then again, if intriguing is what you're looking for, be sure and check out the 8 p.m. screening of Fuego, a piece of vintage-1969 soft-core porn from Argentina, starring Armando Bo (who also directed) and his wife, Isabel Sarli, Miss Argentina of 1955, who plays an out-of-control nymphomaniac. "She's a woman on fire!" the film's tagline proclaims.

Want more proof that Fuego should prove intriguing, at least? It's a favorite of John Waters, who'll be on hand to explain things.

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