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November 19, 2004

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Friday, November 19, 2004

Spangenberg Theatre Spangenberg Theatre (November 19, 2004)

Note: The Spangenberg Theatre is located on the Gunn High School campus, 780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto. Screenings are for Friday through Tuesday. Tickets are $5. For more information please visit www.spangenbergtheatre.com or call (650) 354-8220.

"Hero" (2004) Rich in visual splendor and cinematic poetry, this historical epic is set in ancient China. A ruthless ruler, Qin (Daoming Chen) -- the future first emperor of China -- summons Nameless (Jet Li) to his palace, wanting to know how this low-ranking official defeated his three worst enemies.

The tale unfolds Rashomon-style, first seen in flashback as Nameless narrates. He claims that he killed Sky (Donnie Yen) in a duel and defeated lovers Broken Sword and Flying Snow (Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung) by toying with their emotions. Scenes soar to transcendent heights, with the actors gracefully gliding to Itzhak Perlman's violin solos, as a color palette distinguishes each segment. Fri. at 5:20 p.m.

"Gloomy Sunday" (2003) Set in Budapest, circa 1940, the film centers on a love triangle. Ilana Varnai (Erika Marozsan) is hostessing at the city's old-school eatery, Szabo's. Her lover, restaurant owner Laszlo Szabo (Joachim Krol), is riding high -- madly in love with Ilana, enjoying his success and auditioning pianists to entertain his clientele.

Enter musician Andres Aradi (Stefano Dionisi), who falls hopelessly in love with the seductive Ilana. Struck dumb by his passion, Andres composes a moody piano piece in honor of his lady love. The ballad's effect is so painfully bittersweet that the song appears to be the cause of a number of suicides in the Budapest area. Simultaneously, the Nazi war machine invades Hungary, bringing with it an SS Colonel (Ben Becker) who has long worshipped Ilana and will do anything to have her as his own. Sat. at 1:30 p.m.; Sun. at 5 p.m.

"The Snow Walker" (2004) See review. Fri., Sun. - Tue. at 7:30 p.m.; Sat. at 3:45 p.m.


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