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all day: Movies

Following the relative optimism of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” Joel and Ethan Coen return to their darker roots with “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” a noirish tale of blackmail and murder. Billy Bob Thornton stars as a 1940s barber with a philandering wife and dreams of getting in on the ground floor of the dry cleaning industry. Frances McDormand, James Gandolfini, Tony Shalhoub, Michael Badalucco, Jon Polito and Scarlett Johansson round out the formidable cast. Stunningly photographed in black-and-white by four-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins.

* “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” rated R for a scene of violence, now playing at the Century Plaza, Century City and starts Friday at selected theaters.

8 pm: Theater

Stacy Keach and Mare Winningham star in L.A. Theatre Works’ live radio theater production of Clifford Odets’ “The Country Girl,” about a self-destructive alcoholic actor struggling to make a comeback and his long-suffering, loyal wife.* “The Country Girl,” Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A., Thursday and Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 2 p.m.; Sunday, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Ends Nov. 4. $36-$40. (310) 827-0889.

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7:30 pm: Movies

AFI Fest 2001 opens tonight at the newly-restored Grauman’s Chinese Theatre with the U.S. premiere of Academy Award-winning Czech filmmaker Jan Sverak’s “Dark Blue World.” More than 100 films from 37 countries roll out over 11 days at several venues along Hollywood Boulevard. The 15th edition of the festival includes a six-film tribute to Ang Lee, the world premiere of the closing-night film, “Monster’s Ball,” starring Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry and Heath Ledger, and films from internationally acclaimed directors Patrice Leconte, Guillermo del Toro, Abbas Kiarostami, Hou Hsiao Hsien, Jean-Jacques Beineix and Bille August .

* AFI Fest 2001, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, 6925 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Thursday, opening night gala, “Dark Blue World,” 7:30 p.m. Festival continues through Nov. 11, screenings at Egyptian Theater, 6712 Hollywood Blvd.; Vogue Theater, 6675 Hollywood Blvd.; Pacific Theatre, 6433 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A. $6.50 to $8.50, screenings; $43 to $600, passes; $20, filmmaker tribute; $75, galas. (866) 234-3378.

8 pm: Theater

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“Haven,” a new musical by William Goldstein, Joe Darion and Jerome Coopersmith, is based on Ruth Gruber’s book about the true story of 1,000 holocaust survivors who were faced with bigoted hostility in their “safe haven” in the United States, and the woman who became their champion.* “Haven,” Gindi Auditorium, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air, Tuesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Ends Nov. 18. $49.50-$55. $49.50-$55. (310) 476-9777, Ext. 201.

Freebies

* Journalist-poet Ruben Martinez and the Border Balladeers present Martinez’s “Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail,” a story-performance exploring the physical and metaphorical borders that divide and unite people. Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium, 5th and Flower Streets, downtown L.A., 7 p.m. Reservations advised: (213) 228-7025.

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* Darrell Fusaro presents “The Basement,” his solo, multicharacter theater piece about an Italian American family. 7:30 p.m. Reservations required. Istituto Italiano di Cultura, 1023 Hilgard Ave., L.A. (310) 443-3250, Ext. 114.


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