Tale Looks Deep 'Into My Heart'

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Co-writers-directors Anthony Stark and Sean Smith's "Into My Heart," a beautifullly wrought, brutally honest tale of love, friendship and betrayal amid well-bred, affluent young people living in Manhattan, unspools at 7:30 tonight as part of the American Cinematheque's Alternative Screen program.

Friends from childhood, Adam (Jake Weber) and Ben (Rob Morrow) grow up in New England and attend Andover and Columbia, where Adam takes one look at the beautiful Nina (Claire Forlani) and decides it's love at first sight. Nina does responds, and they do move in together and marry. It's all too easy, and the idealistic Adam starts withdrawing into himself as the intense initial passion between the two him and Nina begins to ebb.

Early on, Nina and Ben hit if off, finding it easy to talk to each other. When Ben eventually marries, he and his wife Kat (Jayne Brook) frequently spend weekends at Adam and Nina's home in the Berkshires. Since Adam remains distant from Nina even in this rural, idyllic setting, and since Kat puts a highly demanding career first, Nina and Ben find themselves thrown together more and more, their with friendship getting more intensetaking on a more intense dimension.

To what could be a disastrous situation, filmmakers Stark and Smith take a low-key approach. The result is an assured , well-wrought film of resounding , acutely personal impact. Stark and Smith, plus cast members, are scheduled to participate inr a post-screening discussion. Co-presented with the IFP/West.

Playing with "Into My Heart" is David Greenspan's 12-minute "Bean Cakes," a Cannes prize-winner inspired by a Lafcadio Hearn story. The setting is and transposed with ominous effect to 1933 Japan, wheren a country boy (Sayako Hatano) on the first day at a city school honestly replies that the most important thing to him in the world is his mother's bean cakes when he's suppposed to say: "My duty to the eEmperor." Lloyd E. Rigler Theater at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. (323) 466-FILM.

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The third annual Blockbuster series of recent top-ranked German films continues at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Goethe Institute, 5750 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 100, with with Gordian Maugg's fascinating "Hans Warn: My 20th Century."

When Warn went to sea from Hamburg as a cabin boy at age 15 in the fateful year of 1914, he took a camera with him a camera. He would spentd his professional life at sea, roseising through the ranks, over the the next half-century and never ceased to take pictures and also shoot film. In 1993, Warn held his final exhibition, in a Bremen retirement home, and this retrospective show became the point of departure for Maugg's remarkable evocation of Warn's century-spanning life.

With significantinfinite pains but a vital spirit, Maugg has seamlessly blended Warn's photos and footage with archival material and with dramatic re-enactments of moments from Warn's life. The result is a rich sepia-tinged memory film that comes alive in the style of silent cinema with intertitles; as the end of the '20s approach and sound arrives the film subtly assumes the style (and much content) of newsreels and home movies.

Warn narrates the story of his long life, which on his first voyage finds him stranded in Chile at the outbreak of World War I. In one of those strokes of real-life irony a writer would hesitate to attempt, Warn, while serving in World War II, sadly witnessed the destruction of the "Herbert," the huge sailing ship on which he made his first voyage.

There are interludes: composed of Warn's lengthy, shy courtship;, his eventual marriage (in 1926) and the births of his daughter and son; followed by his survival of World War II (--a leg wound surely saved his life at one point); --through his retirement as a commerciical sea captain in 1965. (Suggesting that a marriage marked by long separations can be a plus, Warn says, "A seaman's wife is a bride forever.") Warn is a skilled photographer and a likable, unpretentious man, a onetime farm boy who who lived through two World Wars, and the rise and fall of fascism m--aand--and of the Berlin Wall. Warn found the strength and equanimity to take it all in stride. (323) 535-3388.

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The American Cinematheque's third annual "Mods & Rockers" festival, featuring "More Groovy Movies from the Shag-a-Delic '60s," opens at 7 p.m. Friday at the Egyptian.. First up is the with with the elaborate if uneven James Bond spoof "Casino Royale" (1967), which boasts an ensemble cast and no fewer than five directors, including John Huston and the esteemed Val Guest (who is scheduled to make an appearance at the screeningwill appear with the film).

David Niven is Agent 007, approaching retirement, and Woody Allen is his nephew and unlikeliest of successors. The film is most memorable for its Burt Bachaaraach score, highlighted by the evergreen song, "The Look of Love," sung by Dusty Springfield.

Because film is such a popular art form, some movies from fairly recent decades can tend to look and feel far more dated than others those of earlier more remote eras. As usual, the Mods & Rockers selection veers from the ridiculous to the sublime, with more emphasis on the former. In the festival's first weekend, the standout in this regard is "Beat Girl," made by MGM's British production company in 1960 and released in the U.S. with the more exploitable--and actually more accurate--title, "Wild for Kicks." It's unintentionally hilarious in its desperate attempt to be "with it.".

Dail Ambler's shaemelessly derivative and contrived script has virtually nothing to do with beatniks and everything to do with kids rebelling against indifferent and obtuse parents, a trend that had reached its full flowering with "Rebel Wwithout a Cause" in 1955.

It's no wonder that Jennifer (Gillian Hills), the pouty, sullen teen-age daughter of a long-divorced prominent London architect (David Farrar), reacts negatively to her father's thoughtless and presumably oft-repeated remark that the realization of his Brasilia-like city of the future is "the most important thing in my life." The flash-point for her occurs when her father brings home a young bride, a lacquered blonde Parisianenne (Noelle Adam). Her arrival intensifies Jennifer's sense of neglect and increases her eagerness to look for kicks in Soho clubs stronger on rock 'n' roll than Bbeat poetry.

Across from her usual hangout is a strip club run by a ruthless Christopher Lee that's soon to figure in the plot. This increasingly delirious melodrama seems to have been directed with a straight face by Edmond T. Greville and features rocker Adam Faith. In supporting roles are Shirley Anne Field and Peter McEnery, who would soonshortly attain greater renown, with the late Oliver Reed glowering wordlessly and billed simply as "Plaid Shirt." The jazzy, moody score by John Barry and the high-contrast black-and-white cinematography of Walter Lassally are far better than the movie deserves; both men would soon graduate to some of the most important films of the decade.

"Beat Girl" is preceded at 9:45 p.m. Friday by Jack Cardiff's "Girl on a Motorcycle" (1968), one of the few forays into directing by the legendary, still-active cinematographer's few forays into directing. It's a bit of '60s kink, at once erotic and comic, starring Marianne Faithfull (!) as a leather-clad, masochistic motorcylcling bride of a dull Alsace schoolteacher.; Best bet: Bruce Brown's classic 1965 "Endless Summer" (Sunday at 5 p.m. Sunday), the definitive surfer movie, chronicling a globe-girdling pursuit of the perfect wave. A discussion with Brown will follow. (323) 466-FILM.

FOR THE RECORD Los Angeles Times Thursday June 28, 2001 Home Edition Part A Part A Page 2 A2 Desk 2 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction Film screening--Director Bruce Brown will not attend tonight's screening of his 1965 surfing documentary "Endless Summer" at American Cinematheque, as stated in today's Calendar Weekend. Brown's cancellation occurred after Calendar Weekend went to press.
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