SLOVENIAN filmmaker Damjan Kozole will appear Friday at the American Film Institute's Silver Theatre for the 8:30 screening of the 2005 film "Labor Equals Freedom." The movie kicks off a six-film series (through Tuesday) dedicated to Kozole, who has made a one-man industry of himself in Slovenia. His films, which combine social commentary with dark humor, depict conditions in his country in its post-Yugoslavian infancy.
In the 71-minute "Labor," which was created for television, Peter (Peter Musevski), an out-of-work machinist, learns about the debilitating impact of unemployment in a small country. His joblessness is a result of Slovenia's entry into the European Union; his factory has had to close down. His wife, Vera (Natasa Barbara Gracner), is a government worker, but it's not enough. Her disillusionment with Peter is growing as he spends his time at home, the unemployment office or the local pub.
When he attempts to romance Vera with a dinner out but asks her to lend him money to do so, it's the beginning of the end. His self-esteem plummets, and Vera's respect for him dwindles to nothing. It comes as little surprise that she has found someone else. They have a daughter, Sonja (Lara Djurica), who watches her parents without much outward reaction, but it's clear she cares for them both.
The film follows a fairly straightforward plotline: Man loses job, gradually loses wife and then meets a happy new development when he takes action to save his building from a gas leak. Kozole injects a little comedy into the general gloominess of Peter's situation, especially when his attempt to hang himself is interrupted by a neighbor looking to borrow some coffee.
"Labor" also screens Sunday at 6:40 and Tuesday at 7:30 at the AFI.
The other Kozole films are "Stereotype" (1997, showing Saturday at 4:40 and Monday at 7:45); 2003's "Spare Parts," Saturday at 6:30 and Sunday at 4:20; 2000's "Porno Film" (which is not a pornographic film), Saturday at 8:20 and Sunday at 2:40; the 1987 "The Fatal Telephone," Saturday at 10 p.m. and Tuesday at 6; and 1988's "Remington," Monday at 9:35 and Tuesday at 9:10. Admission for all shows is $8.50. Visit www.AFI.com/silver for more information or call 301-495-6720.
MOVIES IN THE MORNING
The Cinema Arts Fairfax is launching "Movies in the Morning," a regular, weekly series of American and foreign classics. It's a bold venture, featuring four screens' worth of films from the golden past. The films will be shown between 9:45 and 10:30 Wednesdays through Sundays at the theater's Fair City Mall location (9650 Main St.) in Fairfax. Each week, one or two of the theater's screens will show films connected to a single actor or director, another will show films to do with a subject theme and the fourth will show films simply based on the personal taste of Cinema Arts co-founder Jim Tomashoff's father, Mort (who turned him on to the movies in the first place).
For example, this coming week marks a Cary Grant series on the first screen, featuring "North by Northwest" daily (Wednesday through Sunday). At the same time, on another screen, it's a Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn theme, with "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" The theme on the third screen is movies to do with the law, and the first one is "12 Angry Men." And kicking off Mort's Favorites series will be the classic French comedy "Mr. Hulot's Holiday."
Admission is $5, and coffee, Danishes and bagels will be available for $1 each. Check other upcoming films and the showtimes on the theater's Web site, www.cinemaartstheatre.com. Call 703-978-6853 for more information.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Thomas Mann, the Goethe-Institut (812 Seventh St. NW) is showing a Monday night series (through Aug. 29) of film adaptations of novels by the brothers Heinrich and Thomas Mann and Thomas Mann's son, Klaus. On Monday, it's "Death in Venice," Luchino Visconti's sumptuous adaptation of Thomas Mann's novel. The 1971 film (shown at 4 and 6:30) is about an ailing composer (Dirke Bogarde) who, on a convalescent respite in 1911, becomes romantically obsessed with a teenage boy. The film won the Grand Prix at the 25th Cannes festival. Admission is $6.
On Wednesday, the Goethe-Institut will show "Stauffenberg," Jo Baier's 2004 movie about one of the leaders of the failed assassination plot against Adolph Hitler. The 6:30 screening, which is free, will be followed by a discussion with Peter Hoffmann, a leading authority on the resistance movement. For more information, call 202-289-1200, Ext. 167, or visit www.goethe.de/ins/us/was/ver/flm/mfs/enindex.htm.
-- Desson Thomson