Arts & Entertainment

Spring series will make you laugh -- and think

A man is brutally attacked by thugs outside a bar and awakens from a coma with brain damage that impairs his speech and movement.

He has no medical insurance to cover costly rehabilitation treatments.

But this is no ordinary victim. He's determined not to let the bad guys win by wallowing in self-pity. Instead, he takes up the daunting task of rehabilitating his body and mind for the better.

He begins by erecting a miniature World War II town he calls Marwencol as a way to help rebuild his coordination skills.

This is no Hollywood hype movie. It's the extraordinary true story of Mark Hogancamp as told in the documentary, Marwencol.

The film is part of the Battelle Film Club's spring series that begins Jan. 28 in the Battelle Auditorium in Richland.

"Marwencol won the grand jury prize for best documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival last year," said Leela Sasaki, with the film club. "Documentaries have been getting a lot more attention in the past few years, with more good ones being released every year."

Whether it's a vintage Laurel and Hardy comedy, a thought-provoking documentary or a spoof of James Bond, the Battelle Film Club never fails to deliver entertainment.

Most of the spring lineup features foreign films with subtitles. Sasaki said subtitled movies take a little getting used, especially if there's a lot of action and dialogue going on at the same time.

"If someone has difficulty adapting to watch a film with subtitles they might ease into it by watching something that is not so action and dialogue laden," she said. Alamar, showing May 6, might be a good choice to try, she said.

A season pass to the Battelle Film Series is $15. Individual ticket prices to each movie are $4 adults and $2 for children. For tickets, go to or call 375-5979.

Here's the spring lineup:

-- Jan. 28: Sons of the Desert is a madcap Laurel and Hardy farce that has Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy scheming to get away from their wives by coming up with a plan to sneak away to Chicago for a little fun. But it all backfires in the usual comic way. The film is not rated.

-- Feb. 11: I Am Love. This Italian film with subtitles stars Tilda Swinton in a tragic love story set at the turn of the 21st century in Milan. Academy Award-winning Swinton learned to speak Italian with a Russian accent for the film. It's rated R.

-- Feb. 25: Marwencol

-- March 11: Ugetsu is an unrated Japanese film with subtitles. It takes place in medieval Japan when two friends must choose between their own dreams and the needs of their families in the face of civil war.

-- March 25: The Hedgehog, a French comedy/drama with subtitles. An 11-year-old girl becomes disenchanted with life's hypocrisies and plans to end her life on her next birthday. But during the 165 days that remain until her birthday, she films the world of people, places and things that surrounds her Parisian apartment building. In doing so, the girl finds friendship, and her sadly pessimistic look on life begins to change.

-- April 8: Double feature night will show Resisting Enemy Interrogation and The Battle of San Pietro. Both are World War II films and unrated. Resisting Enemy Interrogation has German subtitles and The Battle of San Pietro is in English.

-- April 22: Last Train Home is a Chinese documentary with subtitles. It follows a migrant working family that embarks on a journey, along with 130 million other peasants to reunite with a distant family.

-- May 6: Alamar is a Mexican film with Spanish/Italian subtitles. It follows 5-year-old Natan as he adjusts from city life in Mexico to village life in Italy. The film is not rated.

-- May 20: Walk on Water is a mystery/thriller about a Mossad hit man assigned to track down and kill a Nazi war criminal who may or may not still be alive.

-- June 3: Oss 117: Cairo Nest of Spies is a James Bond spoof with French subtitles.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;