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Post-Soviet 'Power Trip'
By Kevin Thomas, Times Staff Writer
What a splendid stroke of luck it was that documentarian Paul Devlin's college friend Piers Lewis became a regional manager for AES-Telasi — Applied Energy Services is the American multinational that is the world's largest owner of power, and in 1999 became electricity distributor to the former Soviet Republic of Georgia.
Devlin and Lewis' friendship resulted in "Power Trip," which offers unique insight into enormous challenges — Georgia adjusting to a new economic and political system and AES struggling against awesome corruption. Devlin makes this enormously complex situation clearer. The impact of the Enron scandal and Sept. 11 on Georgia allows Devlin to bring fresh meaning to the notion of the world as a global village.
With a 'Twist'
"Oliver Twist" (1948) screens Saturday in the American Cinematheque's David Lean Tribute series. From its opening sequence in which a young woman on the verge of childbirth struggles to reach shelter during a violent storm — a textbook example of how to grab an audience — Lean's glorious film of the Dickens classic never lets go. Impassioned, stirring and stylish, this picture is a great screen storyteller honoring a great novelist.
How awesome Dickens' grasp of human nature remains, how stubborn and all-encompassing his hopeful vision of mankind in the face of horrendous adversity. Lean brings the seamy side of London to rollicking life in a superb period evocation, and his film is studded with unforgettable performances.
The UCLA Film Archive's Halloween treat is "The Ghost Breakers" (1940), screening Friday. Amiably directed by George Marshall, this breezy, timelessly amusing comedy re-teams Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard, who two years earlier had enlivened that venerable old dark-house scare show, "The Cat and the Canary."
There's an old dark house in this one too. Built by Goddard's great-great grandfather and said to be haunted, she has just inherited it but suave, menacing types like Paul Lukas and Anthony Quinn keep warning her away.
Goddard is vivacious and lovely in her elegant Edith Head costumes, and Hope already the master of the one-liner. Exploring the dungeon beneath Goddard's palace, he quips, "Reminds me of my old hotel room in Scranton." "The Ghost Breaker" screens with selected vintage shorts.
Laemmle Theaters Documentary Days, 11 a.m. Sat-Sun, Fairfax Cinemas; Nov. 8, 9, Monica 4-Plex; Nov. 15, 16, Playhouse 7, Pasadena; Nov. 22, 23, Fallbrook 7, West Hills.
5 p.m. Sat., Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 466-FILM.
"The Ghost Breakers"
7:30 p.m. Fri., James Bridges Theater, 1409 Melnitz Hall, UCLA campus, (310) 206-8013.
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