FREEZE FRAMES

HELLO AGAIN - Farce about a woman who returns to life a year after dying. The whole picture is pretty dim, but the slapstick scenes are so limp they must be seen to be believed. Frank Perry was the director. (Rated PG) THE LAST EMPEROR - Epic based on the life of Pu Yi, the Chinese emperor who reigned in the Forbidden City after China became a republic. Later he abdicated, made a comeback in his native Manchuria, and ended up an ordinary worker in the Mao Tse-tung era. As directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, who wrote the screenplay with Mark Peploe, the picture is grandiose claptrap in the old Cecil B. DeMille tradition. Yet it's often fun to watch as the hero grows from a three-year-old potentate to a teen-age reformer, an irresponsible playboy, and eventually, in the most complex and enjoyable scenes, a lovable old codger. Vittorio Storaro's cinematography is always imposing, although the action itself turns dull or tasteless on occasion. The film contains some of the sexual groping that's a dubious Bertolucci trademark. (Rated PG-13) SIESTA - Melodrama about an American woman who finds herself in Spain with only a dim idea of why she's there, or how her dress got covered with blood. The movie veers between her frantic efforts to get home and her fitful memories of what led to this situation. The first half is imaginative and surprising. Then the sex and gore become grotesque, leading to a howlingly foolish ending. Directed by Mary Lambert, who shows more promise than the pretentious screenplay lets her realize. (Rated R) THEME - This wintry but gentle Soviet drama takes place in an icy village where some residents have a deep love for poetry and literature. The main character, an aging playwright, visits there at a time when he's afraid his life has been wasted on meaningless work. The story doesn't find a satisfactory ending, but its performances are moving and its moods are rich and Russian to their core. Brilliantly directed by Gleb Panfilov, with an unhurried yet insinuating pace that recalls the transfixing films of Andrei Tarkovsky. (Not rated) LA VIE EST BELLE - This comedy, filmed in Kinshasa, the capital of Zaire, follows the adventures of a young country man who goes to the big city and tries to become a music star. The story is slight but likable, the filmmaking is smooth and freewheeling. Directed by Benoit Lamy, of Belgium, and Ngangura Mweze, of Zaire. The able star of the film is Papa Wemba, a singing star in Zaire. (Not rated) THE WANNSEE CONFERENCE - Using historical documents as their source, director Heinz Schirk and producer Manfred Korytowski have reproduced as accurately as possible a horrifying Nazi meeting at which the ``final solution'' was discussed, approved, and set in motion. There's not much story in the usual sense, but the dialogue builds a bone-chilling momentum, and the performances are frighteningly convincing. A unique, courageous, and important film. (Not rated)

RATINGS: Films with ratings other than G may contain varying degrees of vulgar language, nudity, sex, and violence.

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