Festival '90 : MOVIE REVIEWS : Vivid South American Images

More than 100 films and videos representing 25 Pacific Rim cultures are being screened through Sunday. Highlights of programs today and Thursday are reviewed here:


Home on the Range

United States Today, 8 p.m., Los Feliz Theater, 1822 N. Vermont Ave. In its quiet, unassuming way, Adam Horowitz's documentary tells a devastating story. Set mostly on the Marshall Islands' Kwajalein Atoll--now a testing facility for ICBM and "Star Wars" programs--and neighboring Ebeye, an overcrowded, 66-acre island on which the original occupants were "repopulated"--it records the consequences when Kwajalein's rightful owners, under feisty and likable chief Handel Dribo (translated by James Whitmore), try to reclaim their land from the United States when the lease expires. Horowitz keeps his voice muted, careful and alive to the irony of the situation. The chief--whose favorite actor is Duke Wayne--stands for every value and ideal America supposedly represents and, at the end, when he says sadly: "I don't understand the Americans. . . . They seem to be the best people in the world and also the worst," it has become hard to disagree.

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