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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Best on Show From Altman to Zeffirelli

Tea With Mussolini (Italy)

Franco Zeffirelli's pseudo-biographical tale about a group of English women in fascist Italy. The tremendous cast features Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, Cher and Lily Tomlin and a wry script from John Mortimer.

Fri. 23 July, 10 p.m., Udarnik.

Sat. 24 July, 1:30 p.m., Khudozhestvenny.

The Big Brass Ring (U.S.)

William Hurt plays a candidate for governor of Missouri who is suddenly confronted by a figure from his past. Miranda Richardson plays his ambitious wife and Nigel Hawthorne the mysterious Dr. Kimball Mennaker. Based on an original screenplay by Orson Welles. Hurt's performance won him the best actor award at the Newport International Film Festival.

Wed. 28 July, 2 p.m., Pushkin Hall.

Thurs. 29 July, 4:30 p.m., Udarnik.

The Hi-Lo Country (U.S.)

Woody Harrelson and Patricia Arquette star in this sometime highly praised, sometime slammed western directed by Stephen Frears. Set in post World War II America, two cowboys face up to the changing modern world and their love for the same girl.

Mon. 26 July, 4:30 p.m., Pushkin Hall.

Mon. 26 July, 9 p.m., Khudozhestvenny.

Wed. 28 July, 7 p.m., Central House of Filmmakers.

The Color of Lies (France)

Claude Chabrol's tale about the aftereffects of an investigations into the murder of a ten year old girl in a small coastal town in Brittany.

Tues. 27 July, 4:30 p.m., Pushkin Hall.

Wed. 28 July, 7 p.m., Hall 5, Film Museum.

Thurs. 29 July, 7 p.m., Central House of Filmmakers.

Cookie's Fortune (U.S.)

Robert Altman gathers his typically strong ensemble cast ? Glenn Close, Liv Tyler, Lyle Lovett and Ned Beatty ? for this Southern drama that did well at the Berlin Film Festival. Expect Tennessee Williams crossed with "Short Cuts." Tues. 27 July, midnight, Pushkin Hall.

Tues. 27 July, midnight, Pushkin Hall.

Wed. 28 July, 7 p.m., Cinema Center.

Thurs. 29 July, 7 p.m., Illusion.

Gods and Monsters (U.S.)

Oscar-nominated Ian McKellen and Lynn Redgrave shine in this story about the last days of Frankenstein director James Whale's life. New star Brendan Fraser shows off his biceps in the garden. Rave reviews from all over the world.

Sat. 24 July, 9:30 p.m., Udarnik.

Mon. 26 July, 2 a.m., Kinodrom.

Love is the Devil (Great Britain)

Derek Jacobi gives a remarkable performance as British painter Francis Bacon in this bleak account of the artist's tortured love affair with the burglar who came through his window. Don't expect to come away with a taste for Bacon. He was not a very nice man. Tilda Swinton and various figures from the British art world give support.

Thurs. 29 July, 9:30 p.m., Udarnik.

Star Wars: Episode 1, The Phantom Menace (U.S.)

Not much chance of getting tickets for the festival showings, but the film will stay on at Pushkin Hall from 30 July.

Besieged (Italy)

David Thewlis plays an eccentric composer obsessed with his servant, an African medical student (Thandie Newton), in Bernardo Bertolucci's almost wordless love story.

Tues. 27 July, 7 p.m., Central House of Filmmakers.

El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba (Mexico)

An affectionate adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's short story by director Arturo Ripstein.

Mon. 24 July, Non-stop from midnight, Strela Movie Theater (preceded by "Un Dulce Olor a Muerte" and "Bajo California").

Mon. 26 July, 6:30 p.m., Khudozhestvenny.

Entre Las Piernas (Spain)

Manuel Gomez Pereira's film about two sex addicts in therapy who find themselves attracted to each other did well at the Berlin Festival.

Mon. 26 July, midnight, Pushkin Hall.

Tues. 27 July, 9 p.m., Khudozhestvenny.

Romance (France)

This disturbing French film about a woman whose lover cannot satisfy her caused a stir at the Rotterdam Film Festival.

Tues. 27 July, 7 p.m., Central House of Filmmakers.

Sun. 25 July, 10 p.m., Udarnik.

And the others with good buzz: the visually stunning Chinese film "Ghengis Khan," veteran Yugoslav director Goran Paskaljevic's movie "The Powder Keg," and "The Hole," from Taiwan.

Be warned: Times and venues change every day at the festival so call in advance to check. Tickets at the Pushkin Hall and the Udarnik are the most sought after, but it's advisable to buy tickets in advance for all of the above movies. The festival promises that all films will be shown in their original language with either subtitles or translation through headphones into Russian, and some shows will have subtitles or headphone translation into English, but you never know.

? Kevin O'Flynn