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'This Is Spinal Tap' to Open Spring Semester
Film Series Jan. 19-21 at UW-Eau Claire

RELEASED: Jan. 9, 2007

scene from This Is Spinal TapEAU CLAIRE — "This Is Spinal Tap," a 1984 pseudo-documentary that follows a fictional band from its post-Beatles origins to its ill-fated American comeback tour, will open the spring semester of the campus film series Jan. 19-21 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The University Activities Commission will present the cult comedy at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Friday though Sunday in Davies Theatre.

Rob Reiner's first feature film profiles a has-been band that never really was. Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer are David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel and Derek Smalls three clueless, self-absorbed men who form the nucleus of Spinal Tap, described by film critic Roger Ebert as "a British rock group that is rocketing to the bottom of the charts." Co-starring as fictional filmmaker Marty DiBergi, Reiner created a film that lampoons just about every rock 'n' roll cliche in the book and has outlasted most of the bands it mocked.

The 88-minute film is rated R. Admission is free at the door.

Unless noted, admission to the remaining spring semester films is $2 for International Film Society members and UW-Eau Claire faculty/staff, or $1 for UW-Eau Claire students. International Film Society memberships allow community members to buy tickets to campus films throughout the year. Members receive a newsletter with advance information about campus films. An individual IFS membership costs $4; a family membership is $10. Memberships and tickets are available at the Service Center, 715-836-3727, in Davies Center's East Lobby.

Other spring semester films include the following:

  • "The War Within" (U.S. 2005), Jan. 25-28. A Pakistani engineering student (Ayad Akhtar) in Paris is apprehended by Western intelligence services for suspected terrorist activities. Imprisoned and tortured, Hassan is provoked to action. After his release he embarks upon a terrorist mission, entering the United States to join a cell based in New York City. On the morning of the planned attack, most members of the cell are arrested and Hassan takes refuge with Sayeed, an unsuspecting childhood friend who is living the American dream. Hassan finds himself torn between carrying out his deadly mission and his growing feelings for Sayeed and his family.
  • "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (U.S. 1967), Feb. 1-4. A woman brings the doctor she just met and plans to marry to meet her affluent, liberal parents (Spencer Tracy and Oscar-winner Katharine Hepburn). The idea of an interracial marriage shakes their household, as well as their prospective son-in-law's parents who hastily fly in for dinner. Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton co-star in Stanley Kramer's once-controversial, now charmingly dated love story notable for Tracy's final performance.
  • "The Constant Gardener" (Germany/U.K. 2005), Feb. 8-11. When a well-known activist (Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz) turns up dead in Kenya, her complacent husband (Ralph Fiennes) is driven by anger and remorse to investigate the circumstances of her death. He uncovers a conspiracy that will destroy millions of innocent people unless he can reveal its sinister roots. "This is one of the year's best films," said Roger Ebert; adapted from the bestselling thriller by John le Carr.
  • "Snatch" (U.K. 2000), Feb. 15-18. A diamond-heist-gone-wrong sets off a chain of events that brings career criminal Frankie Four Fingers (Benicio Del Toro), boxing promoter Turkish (Jason Statham), and boxer Mickey O'Neill (Brad Pitt) into each other's lives. Directed by Guy Ritchie ("Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels"), this crime thriller is riddled with pop violence and set in the London underworld.
  • "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (U.K. 1975), Feb. 16. When a soon-to-be married couple (Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick) breaks down in an isolated area, they pay a call to the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry). "A fast-paced pastiche of camp, science fiction, rock music, horror and more camp" (The A.V. Club), the audience-participation cult classic is a Winter Carnival tradition; screens Friday at midnight with special ticket pricing.
  • "Little Miss Sunshine" (U.S. 2006), Feb. 22-25. The endearingly fractured Hoover family treks from Albuquerque to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Redondo Beach, Calif., to fulfill the wish of 7-year-old Olive (Abigail Breslin), an ordinary little girl with big dreams. Along the way the family must deal with setbacks, heartbreaks and an unreliable Volkswagen bus, all leading up to the surreal Little Miss Sunshine competition. Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, Steve Carell and Greg Kinnear are part of the ensemble cast in this Sundance favorite.
  • "The Last King of Scotland" (U.K. 2006), March 1-4. A Scottish doctor (James McAvoy) on a medical mission in Uganda becomes entangled with one of the world's most barbaric figures: Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker). Impressed by Garrigan's brazen attitude in a crisis, the newly self-appointed Ugandan president hand-picks him as his personal physician and closest confidante. At first flattered and fascinated by his position, Garrigan soon awakens to Amin's savagery — and his own complicity.
  • "Sophie Scholl: The Final Days" (Germany 2005), March 8-11. The true story of Germany's most famous anti-Nazi heroine, based on long-buried historical records of her arrest, interrogation, trial and sentence. In 1943, as Hitler continues to wage war across Europe, a group of college students mounts an underground resistance movement in Munich — the White Rose. One of its few female members, Sophie Scholl (Julia Jentsch) is captured during a mission to distribute leaflets on campus with her brother Hans. Her interrogation by the Gestapo quickly becomes a searing test of wills in Marc Rothemund's multi-award-winning drama.
  • "Water" (Canada/India 2005), March 29-April 1. In pre-independent India, set against the backdrop of Mahatma Gandhi's rise to power, 8-year-old child-bride Chuyia hears of her husband's death. Following custom, her father exiles her to a widow's ashram where she is to live out her days. Chuyia's feisty presence affects the lives of the other residents, particularly that of Kalyani (Lisa Ray), a beautiful 20-year-old widow who breaks tradition and falls for a young upper-class Gandhian idealist (John Abraham). Directed by Deepa Mehta ("Fire").
  • "The Graduate" (U.S. 1967), April 12-15. Dustin Hoffman's portrayal of a clueless college graduate who has an affair with the seductive Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) and then falls in love with her daughter (Katherine Ross) made him a star. Director Mike Nichols received an Oscar for this film. Music by Simon and Garfunkel.
  • "The Science of Sleep" (France 2006), April 19-22. Shy, withdrawn Stephane (Gael Garca Bernal) is coaxed to return to his childhood home with the promise of a job in the mundane world of type setting at a calendar factory. Wildly creative, Stephane has a fanciful and sometimes disturbing dream life that constantly threatens to overtake his waking world. He is soon drawn to his skittish neighbor, Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), whose imagination matches his own. As their relationship blossoms, the confidence Stephane exude in his dreams begins bleeding over into his real life. Directed by Michel Gondry ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind").
  • "Transamerica" (U.S. 2005), April 26-29. Bree (Oscar-nominee Felicity Huffman) is a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual who learns she fathered a son 17 years ago. When her therapist insists she face her past before surgery, Bree travels from Los Angeles to New York City to meet the boy, Toby (Kevin Zegers), and bail him out of jail. Unwilling to explain who she is, Bree lets him think she's a Christian caseworker sent to transport him to L.A. The drive across America is eye-opening for them both.
  • "Infernal Affairs" (Hong Kong 2002), May 3-6. Headlined by Asian superstars Andy Lau and Tony Leung, this thriller centers on two Hong Kong police officers — one an undercover cop in the ruthless Triad gang, and the other a Triad gang mole on the force — who find their destinies intertwined. The film was remade by Martin Scorsese in 2006 as "The Departed."
  • "Half Nelson" (U.S. 2006), May 10-13. Day after day in his shabby Brooklyn classroom, a dedicated teacher (Ryan Gosling) inspires his 13- and 14-year-olds to examine everything from civil rights to the Civil War with a new enthusiasm. Although he is brilliant and in control in the classroom, he spends his time outside school on the edge of consciousness with a drug habit. When a troubled student (Shareeka Epps) finds him strung out in the school bathroom they stumble into an unexpected friendship.

Presented by the International Film Society and the University Activities Commission of the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate, the films most often screen at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. in Davies Theatre, a 250-seat theater in Davies Center on UW-Eau Claire's lower campus. All 6 p.m. Sunday film screenings will be shown with closed captioning when available. Subtitles will be on (if available) in place of closed captioning when necessary.

Complete schedule information is available from the Activities and Programs office, 715-836-4833, or online.

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JS/JB

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