Arresting Polanski Film Plays At Amfest

Romanpolanskiwantedanddesired.comA scene from the film УRoman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,Ф one of four compelling documentaries being screened at this yearТs American Film Festival.

With Russian movie theaters constantly screening Hollywood blockbusters, few Russians know that most of these films have little to do with everyday American reality.

The Fourth American Film Festival is bringing independent American film to town. The festival will showcase a number of independent films — such as “Dare,” a teenage drama nominated for a prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival — but of particular interest is Amfest’s documentary section, one film in which has proved to be extremely timely.

The four documentaries promise to introduce Muscovites to a more realistic vision of American life.

“This year because of the financial crisis, we will be showing only four documentaries. So it was really important that the Amfest offers a really good range of style and format of the recent American documentary,” said Robin Hessman, the festival’s organizer, who is also a filmmaker.

“We wanted to show different stories about American life that the Russian audience wouldn’t see anywhere else,” Hessman added.

The documentary that will attract the most attention, following the arrest of the film’s subject last week, is “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” by Marina Zenovich.

In her film, Zenovich, a two-time Emmy winner, takes a look at the scandal and the decades-old charges against Polanski for having sex with a 13-year-old girl, which caused him to flee the United States. Polanski was recently arrested in Switzerland and faces extradition to the United States.

Zenovich will be at the screenings, and there will be a discussion with the audience after the film.

Oscar-nominee Marshall Curry’s “Racing Dreams” tells the story of the lives of 11- to 13-year-old junior NASCAR racers.

“As NASCAR fans are now considered an important voting block in America, it is really fascinating to see this microcosm of middle-class America — and through it the lives of these kids, searching for their place in this world,” Hessman said.

Both directors of “Trouble the Water,” the 2008 Sundance grand jury prize winner, will be in town for the festival.

The film is a unique look into the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, videotaped by New Orleans 24-year-old rapper Kim Roberts during the event, and provides a glimpse of the aftermath.

The last of the four documentaries, “October Country,” offers an intimate insider’s perspective on a working-class American family.

“This film is an exquisitely beautiful and artistic creation that is a poetic exploration into one family — and its ghosts,” Hessman said.

The American Film Festival runs Oct. 8 to 14 at Formula Kino Europa, in the Yevropeisky mall, 2 Ploshchad Kievskogo Vokzala. 795-3795,