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Fall film festival opens Thursday

Courtesy photo
Among the films playing at the 29th annual West Virginia International Fall Film Festival are (left to right from top): "Paul Goodman Changed My Life," "Monsieur Lazhar," "A Separation," "The Kid with a Bike," "Bernie," "The Queen of Versailles," "Hacking Democracy," and "Pariah."
Courtesy photo
Max Shreck portrays the evil count in the 1922 German horror classic "Nosferatu." The film plays at 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Fall International Film Festival runs Thursday through Nov. 10 at the Capitol Center Theater, 123 Summers St. The 29th annual festival brings 11 films to town, including an Iranian drama, a German horror classic, a Canadian rom-com and several documentaries.Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students (with ID). A six-ticket pack is $30. Call 304-342-6522 or visit
  • 7 p.m.: "Paul Goodman Changed My Life": U.S. Unrated. Biographical documentary. 89 minutes.
  • Examines the life, ideas and social impact of the 1960s visionary, who was an openly gay author ("Growing Up Absurd"), poet, pacifist, philosopher and psychotherapist. Free. Sponsored by Friends of Blackwater and J.R Clifford Project.
  • 9 p.m. "Hacking Democracy": U.S. Unrated. Documentary. 82 minutes.
  • Investigates the allegations of election fraud in the 2004 U.S. presidential election and exposes the security flaws in electronic voting machines that make them vulnerable to manipulation. Free. Sponsored by the WV Citizens Action Group.Friday
  • 7 p.m.: "Bernie": U.S. Rated PG-13 (some violent images and brief strong language). True-crime black comedy. 104 minutes.
  • A beloved mortician in a small Texas town becomes friends with a wealthy widow, kills her and goes to great lengths to create the illusion she's alive. Richard Linklater ("Dazed and Confused") directs; Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey star.Rotten Tomatoes (film review aggregator website) verdict: 7.6/10 average rating. "A gently told and unexpectedly amusing true-crime comedy that benefits from an impressive performance by Jack Black."
  • 9 p.m.: "The Kid with a Bike": Belgium. Rated PG-13 (thematic elements, violence, brief language and smoking). Subtitled drama. 87 minutes.
  • A boy is abandoned to a state home by his father. The town's hairdresser fosters him on weekends and helps in his obsessive search for his lost bike -- which he believes will lead him to his dad. Best Foreign Language Film Golden Globe nominee.Rotten Tomatoes verdict: 8/10. "A heart-wrenching, thematically and spiritually rich drama."Saturday
  • 5 p.m.: "The Queen of Versailles": U.S. Rated PG. Documentary. 100 minutes.
  • In 2008, a billionaire couple begins construction on a Versailles-inspired mansion, but its construction is halted and their lavish lifestyle dramatically scaled down in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis that left their business on the edge of ruin. Rotten Tomatoes verdict: 8.1/10. "A timely, engaging, and richly drawn portrait of the American Dream improbably composed of equal parts compassion and schadenfreude."
  • 7 p.m.: "Monsieur Lazhar": Canada. Rated PG-13 (mature thematic material, a disturbing image and brief language). Subtitled comedy/drama. 94 minutes.
  • An Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular grade school teacher who died. As he helps students deal with their grief, his own tragedy is revealed. Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee. Rotten Tomatoes verdict: 8.1/10. "A tender and thoughtful portrait of a man with hidden grief and also a compelling exploration of the teacher-student dynamic."
  • 9 p.m.: "Take This Waltz": Canada. Rated R (language, some strong sexual content and graphic nudity). Romantic comedy. 116 minutes.
  • A happily married woman falls for the artist who lives across the street. Sarah Polley ("Away From Her") directs; Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman and Luke Kirby star.
  • 11:30 p.m.: "Nosferatu": Germany. Unrated. Horror. Silent (with orchestral score). 94 minutes.
  • Unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" that's considered one of the greatest horror films ever made. It also introduced the concept of vampires being killed by sunlight.Rotten Tomatoes verdict: 8.8/10 "One of the silent era's most influential masterpieces, [its] eerie, gothic feel -- and a chilling performance from Max Shrek as the vampire -- set the template for the horror films that followed."Sunday
  • 2:30 p.m.: "A Separation": Iran. Rated PG-13 (mature thematic material). Subtitled drama. 123 minutes.
  • A married couple must decide whether to improve their child's life by moving to another country or stay in Iran to care for a parent with Alzheimer's disease. Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner.Rotten Tomatoes verdict: 9/10. "Morally complex, suspenseful, and consistently involving, [it] captures the messiness of a dissolving relationship with keen insight and searing intensity."
  • 5 p.m.: "The Kid with a Bike"  7 p.m.: "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry": US. Rated R (some language). Subtitled documentary. 91 minutes.Follows Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei as he prepares for a series of exhibitions and gets into an increasing number of clashes with the Chinese government.Monday 7 p.m.: "Pariah": US. Rated R (sexual content and language). Drama. 86 minutes.A black 17-year-old in Brooklyn is embracing her identity as a lesbian. She risks friendship, heartbreak and family in her eager search for a girlfriend.Rotten Tomatoes verdict: 7.8/10 "Pulsing with authenticity and led by a stirring lead performance by Adepero Oduye, [it] is a powerful coming out/coming-of-age film that signals the arrival of a fresh new talent in writer/director Dee Rees." 9 p.m.: "Bernie"Tuesday 7 p.m.: "The Queen of Versailles"Wednesday 7 p.m.: "Ai Weiwei: Nevery Sorry" 9 p.m.: "Monsieur Lazhar"Thursday 7 p.m.: "Bernie" 9 p.m.: "The Kid with a Bike"Friday 7 p.m.: "Monsieur Lazhar" 9 p.m.: "The Queen of Versailles"Saturday 5 p.m.: "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" 7 p.m.: "Take This Waltz" 9:30 p.m.: "Pariah"
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