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Short Subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Opening Friday
L'AUBERGE ESPAGNOLE (R) This utterly charming, hip and modern story follows French graduate student Xavier (Romain Duris) on his chaotic journey from his Parisian home to the warm and sexy embrace of Barcelona. Director Cedric Klapisch continues to mine the hipster humanism he delivered so beautifully in 1997's When the Cat's Away. Despite its sweet, entertaining timbre, Klapisch's coming-of-age story perfectly conveys the bewitching effects of a change of locale and has profound insights about the need to hold onto one's identity in this frantic world. --FF

2 FAST 2 FURIOUS (PG-13) John Singleton became Oscar's youngest Best Director nominee for Boyz N The Hood, but he's unlikely to get a second nod for this sequel to The Fast and the Furious. Vin Diesel has sped away from the franchise in pursuit of higher paychecks, but co-star Paul Walker returns, with Tyrese and Ludacris in tow, for another parade of fast cars and fast women.

Duly Noted
ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL IMAGE Film & Video Center festival's 27th annual festival of independent films includes more than 100 narrative, documentary, experimental and animated features and shorts. The event opens June 6 with comic book adaptation American Splendor and closes June 14 with Camp, a comedy set at a theatrical performance camp for youngsters. See complete festival coverage on page XXXX. Atlanta Film Festival. June 6-14. The Rialto Performing Arts Center and other locations. $7.50 per show or $100 for a festival pass ($6 and $75, respectively, for IMAGE members). 404-352-4225.

FANFARES OF LOVE (1951) (NR) Didja know that Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot -- perhaps the finest screwball comedy ever made -- was a remake of this German comedy? Two jobless musicians don dresses to join a ladies' swing band, thereby complicating their love lives. After the War, Before the Wall: German Cinema 1945 - 1960. June 4, 7 p.m. Goethe Institut Inter Nationes, 1197 Peachtree St., Colony Square. $4. 404-892-2388.

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (NR) Martin Scorsese once said that David Lean's classic had the sweep of epic cinema but a film-noir approach. As superbly photographed as the battles and desert scenes may be, they're just the backdrop to Peter O'Toole's fascinating portrayal of the glories, failures and contradictions in the heart of British adventurer T.E. Lawrence. Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival. June 8, 8 p.m. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. $7. 404-881-2100. --Curt Holman

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS (PG-13) The middle film based on Tolkein's Middle-Earth epic is so full of spectacle it makes Fellowship of the Ring look like director Peter Jackson was just clearing his throat. It's also a more black-and-white affair, stressing mortal combat over moral struggles as heroes like Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) resist the forces of evil. The schizophrenic Gollum, an all-CGI creation superbly voiced by Andy Serkis, has the most complicated inner life and proves the film's unlikely star. Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival. June 5, 8 p.m. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. $7. 404-881-2100. --CH

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) (R) The cult classic of cult classics, the musical horror spoof follows an all-American couple (Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick) to the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a drag-queen/mad scientist from another galaxy. It's all fun and games until Meatloaf gets killed. Dress as your favorite character and participate in this musical on acid. Midnight Fri. at Lefont Plaza Theatre and Sat. at Marietta Star Cinema.

THE SEVEN SAMURAI (1954) (NR) Akira Kurosawa's tale of samurai defending an impoverished village from bandits created a template that would be imitated by The Magnificent Seven and many others. But the director's command of cinematic storytelling -- at once rich and economical, exciting and delicate -- make the film one of the greatest ever made. Films at the High: Kurosawa & Mifune. June 7, 8 p.m., Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Auditorium. $5. 404-733-4570. -- CH

THE SINNER (1950) (NR) A young woman (Hildegard Knef) survives post-WWII Germany by becoming a prostitute in director Willi Forst's highly controversial drama. After the War, Before the Wall: German Cinema 1945 - 1960. June 11, 7 p.m. Goethe Institut Inter Nationes, 1197 Peachtree St., Colony Square. $4. 404-892-2388.

SPIRITED AWAY (PG) When her parents are turned into pigs, a Japanese girl enters the realm of spirits and deities to save them and herself. An Alice in Wonderland for the 21st century, this winner of the 2002 Best Animated Feature Oscar finds director Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke) at the height of his powers, offering mature characterizations, sharp conflicts without violence and one of the strangest, least predictable coming-of-age stories you've ever set eyes on. Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival. June 8, 3 p.m. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. $7. 404-881-2100. --CH

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