Love and Madness Abroad

<i> Mark Chalon Smith is a free-lancer who regularly writes about film for The Times Orange County Edition</i>

Two acclaimed foreign movies will kick off fall film series Friday at Golden West College in Huntington Beach and UC Irvine.

UCI offers “Ju Dou,” a tale of adultery in China during the 1920s, while Golden West screens “Wedding in Galilee,” which explores the Israeli-Arab conflict through the domestic veil of a marriage.

UCI’s series is “Love and Madness,” two words that fit “Ju Dou” well. The 1989 release, directed by Zhang Yimou (who also made “Raise the Red Lantern”) focuses on the lusty affair between the wife of an elderly owner of a dye works and his mistreated nephew.

Golden West has chosen award winners for its annual “International Film Festival.” “Wedding in Galilee,” directed by Michel Khleifi, won the International Critics’ Award at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.


Up next at UCI, on Oct. 8, is Robert Rossen’s “Lilith.” Released in 1964, the film stars Warren Beatty as a young therapist who falls for one of his patients, played by Jean Seberg.

That same night, Golden West will present “Vagabond,” which picked up the top award at the Venice Film Festival in 1986. Directed by Agnes Varga, the picture follows a young woman (Sandrine Bonnaire) who leaves a secure home to wander on the road.

UCI turns to a silent movie Oct. 15 with G. W. Pabst’s “Pandora’s Box.” The 1928 German film features Louise Brooks as a vamp who roams through Berlin wrecking men along the way.

Also on Oct. 15, at Golden West, is “Song of the Exile.” Ann Hui’s 1990 film explores the emotional repercussions when a Japanese woman living in London returns to her homeland for her sister’s wedding and must face her estranged family.

On Oct. 22, Pedro Almodovar’s “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” is scheduled at UCI. The series’ flyer describes the 1988 film this way: “A sadistic spinster, a recently dumped actress, a gorgeous geek and a woman who loses her virginity in her sleep . . . the ultimate tale of unrequited love, borderline passion and renegade femininity.”

Golden West closes its program that same night with “Hour of the Star.” The 1987 film, directed by Suzana Amaral, centers on a naive, young immigrant trying to live in the big city. It won the Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear Award for Best Actress for Marcelia Cartaxo.

UCI continues its series Oct. 29 with Ken Russell’s “The Devils.” The 1971 movie, described as “a manic horror opera,” tosses the viewer into 17th-Century France . . . and the bizarre inclinations of Russell.

Up next, on Nov. 5, is Hiroshi Teshigahara’s “Woman in the Dunes.” A man and a woman are trapped in a sand pit in this existential drama first released in Japan in 1964.


On Nov. 12, Jean-Luc Godard’s “Woman Is a Woman” will screen. The 1960 picture poses the question: What should a woman do if her husband won’t father her child? Maybe his best friend is the answer in this serio-comedy.

On Nov. 19, Ingmar Bergman’s “Summer With Monika” is scheduled. The 1952 film about two working-class kids and their sexual experiences has been called Bergman’s most sensual work.

The UCI series closes Dec. 3 with “Betty Blue.” Directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix, the 1986 release is described in the flyer as “a portrait of obscurity and tormenting mental psychology . . . a sentimental and brooding tale of a young woman’s struggle to find identity and value through love.”



What: Zhang Yimou’s “Ju Dou” at UC Irvine and Michel Khleifi’s “Wedding in Galilee” at Golden West College.

When: Friday, Oct. 1, at 7 and 9 p.m. for “Ju Dou” and at 7:30 p.m. for “Wedding in Galilee.”

Where: “Ju Dou” is at the UCI Student Center’s Crystal Cove Auditorium; “Wedding in Galilee” is at Golden West’s Forum II theater, 15744 Golden West St., Huntington Beach.

Whereabouts: For UCI, take the San Diego (405) Freeway to Jamboree Road and head south to Campus Drive and take a left. Turn right on Bridge Road and take it into the campus. For Golden West, take the San Diego (405) Freeway to Golden West Street and head south. The school will be on your left about a 1 1/4 miles down.


Wherewithal: $2 to $4 for “Ju Dou”; $3.25 and $3.75 for “Wedding in Galilee.”

Where to call: (714) 856-6379 for “Ju Dou” and (714) 891-3991 for “Wedding in Galilee.”