ALAIN TANNER RETROSPECTIVE

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Alain Tanner's many interests have made themselves felt in a long list of projects since his 1969 feature-film debut. The Tanner retrospective, continuing through Feb. 21 at the Walter Reade Theater here, includes:

* "Le Retour d'Afrique," 1973. This underrated dark comedy focuses on a young couple who announce their decision to abandon the developed world for a new life in Algeria - then hide out in their apartment for two weeks, afraid to face their friends when the trip is delayed and their resolution wavers.

* "Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000," 1975. Tanner and John Berger cowrote this high-spirited intellectual romp about a varied group of French men and women carrying on their lives after the turbulent events of May 1968, when revolutionary dreams collided with stubborn reality.

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* "The Woman From Rose Hill," 1989. She comes from Africa to provincial France as a mail-order bride. Inverting the usual pattern of such stories, the third-world character is far more worldly and sophisticated than the Europeans she encounters; the conflict between them leads to tragedy.

* "The Man Who Lost His Shadow," 1991. Tanner's most recent film centers on a young man who flees Switzerland for Spain, visiting an elderly friend who embodies a sense of idealism that Tanner feels has sadly disappeared from the Western world in recent years.

After New York, the show travels to the UCLA Film Archive in Los Angeles; the Film Center in Chicago; the Harvard Film Archive in Cambridge, Mass.; and engagements in Toronto; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia; and St. Louis.

Other events celebrating Swiss cinema, such as a retrospective of director Daniel Schmid, are scheduled at various New York locations through April 1.

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