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FESTIVAL SHOWS FILM AND VIDEO FROM 25 NATIONS

By David SterrittStaff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / May 10, 1991



NEW YORK

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival opens today at the Angelika Film Center here. The event is sponsored by Human Rights Watch, a privately supported organization that reports on human-rights activities in more than 60 nations, accepting no financial aid from governments or government-funded agencies. The festival runs through May 16. Entries on the program that have already earned substantial international reputations include: *``The Interrogation,'' a 1982 drama that was banned in its native Poland for several years, about a cabaret singer who is wrongfully imprisoned and tortured for political reasons. Richard Bugajski directed it, and star Krystyna Janda won the best-actress award at last year's Cannes Film Festival for her performance.

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*``Camp de Thiaroye,'' made in Senegal by Ousmane Sembene, a leading African director. It recounts a dramatic conflict between the French Army and Senegalese soldiers who fought with it during World War II. Sembene's earlier films include ``Ceddo'' and ``Xala.''

*``A City of Sadness,'' a complex family drama set in Taiwan from 1945 to 1949, after the island's return to Chinese rule after more than half a century of Japanese domination. Directed by Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsaio-hsien, whose works include ``Daughter of the Nile'' and ``The Time To Live, the Time To Die,'' and who is deservedly recognized as a master of expressive framing and understated narrative.

*``Special Section,'' a drama focusing on legal abuses during the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. Costa-Gavras, the maker of such politically charged dramas as ``Z'' and ``Missing,'' directed this underrated 1975 film.