As the ongoing violence in Afghanistan and Iraq evolves in complexity, it's important to remember how the consequences of war ripple beyond the front lines and define the personal legacies of those involved. A new film series, War Goes Home to the Movies, curated by the San Diego Public Library, addresses such issues and how they are represented on screen. The films screen at the Central Library in East Village (330 Park Blvd.).
The first entry in the series, 2002's Daughter from Danang (which screened on Dec. 1), explores the story of an "Americanized" woman and her Vietnamese mother. Directed by Gail Dolgin and Vincente Franco, this harrowing documentary examines how the trauma of war impacts identity and family.
Indigènes (Days of Glory) , from 2006, screening at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8, contains a number of violent war scenes depicting the heinous brutality of the North African conflict during World War II, but it's ultimately a film about recognizing humanity in the "other." A group of local rebels enlists a French platoon to stop the advancing Nazi tide, and throughout their struggle, each obtains a better sense of why they are so determined to reclaim their respective country's freedom.
The winner of the Best Foreign Language Oscar in 1986, Luis Puenzo's The Official Story screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15. Grappling with Argentina's "dirty war" and, in turn, many of the oppressive South American regimes of the 1970s, the film examines the impact of state terrorism against its own people, specifically important in light of the information leaked by Edward Snowden and the Ferguson protests.
Finally, John Sayles' little-seen but worthy Amigo , a lyrical yet haunting look at the American occupation of a Filipino village during the Philippine-American War (1899-1902), screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 22.
Each of these films challenges the notion that war is easily definable, noting instead the human costs that accrue along the way.
Amapola : This romantic musical from Argentina stars Camilla Belle as a young girl who experiences a magical new realm with a handsome stranger.
Balboa Park: The Jewel of San Diego : An engaging time capsule, this 30-minute documentary takes viewers through the long and fascinating history of the local landmark. Runs Wednesday, Dec. 10, through Dec. 31 at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.
Diplomacy : On the eve of Germany's planned destruction of Paris in the face of Allied advancements, a Swedish consul attempts to sway the Nazi general in charge against bombing the city. Screens through Dec. 11 at the Ken Cinema.
The Dark Valley : This Austrian-German western tells the story of a stranger who arrives in a mountain village to take revenge. Screens through Dec. 11 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
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Shaun of the Dead : Two underachieving Londoners try to survive the zombie apocalypse in Edgar Wright's riotous horror film. Screens at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3, at Atkinson Hall at UCSD.
Bad Santa : Billy Bob Thornton's vulgar Santa impersonator does not want you to sit on his lap, unless you're a lady. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma and 6:45 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, at Arclight La Jolla.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas : Jim Carrey stars as the famous destroyer of all things happy in this adaptation of Dr. Seuss' timeless classic. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, at Arclight La Jolla.
The Hundred-Foot Journey : A family who emigrates from India to France opens a restaurant across from a snooty eatery whose owner takes umbrage with her new neighbors. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, through Saturday, Dec. 6, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Mexican Noir Double Feature: You'll find plenty of dark shadows, femme fatales and shady criminals in Sensualidad (1951) and Aventurera (1950), two classic Mexican films rarely seen in the United States. Sensualidad screens at 8 p.m. and Aventurera screens at 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park. See Page 22 for details.
Days of Glory : A group of North African men enlists French soldiers to help defeat the Nazi army. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8, at the Point Loma / Hervey Branch Library.
Die Hard : Welcome to the party, pal! Screens at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8, at Arclight La Jolla.
The Giver : Based on Lois Lowery's famous young-adult novel, this film envisions a future where a seemingly perfect community strips all feeling away from its citizens. That is, until a young boy sets out to learn about true pain and pleasure. Screens at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9, at the Point Loma / Hervey Branch Library.
It's a Wonderful Life : George Bailey (James Stewart) gets a second chance at making the right Christmas decisions. Screens at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9, at Arclight La Jolla.
What If : A young man (Daniel Radcliffe) burnt out from a string of bad relationships meets a charming new girl and has his faith in love restored. Screens at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10, at the Mission Valley Library.
Mona Lisa is Missing : The life of Vincenzo Peruggia, the man who stole the "Mona Lisa" from the Louvre in 1911, is the subject of this award-winning documentary presented by the San Diego Italian Film Festival. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10, at UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas.
Elf : If you've always wanted to see Will Ferrell run around like a child while wearing tights, this is your chance. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Food Chains : Through their Fair Food program, Florida farm workers battle a powerful collective of supermarket chains. Director Sanjay Rawal (Nov. 28) and food activist Ellen Gustafson (Nov. 30) will be on hand for post-screening discussions. Ends Dec. 4 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park. Get details at digitalgym.org.
The Homesman : A lonely farmer (Hilary Swank) living in the old west agrees to transport three women who've gone insane across state lines with the help of an ornery old louse (Tommy Lee Jones).
Horrible Bosses 2 : Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day get another chance to turn the tables on their self-serving bosses and exact revenge.
Penguins of Madagascar : A trio of goofy penguins must join forces with a secret underground organization to defeat a villain trying to destroy the world.
Point and Shoot : Filmmaker Matthew VanDyke sets out on a journey to find his own masculinity and instead gets involved as a revolutionary in the Libyan civil war. Ends Dec. 4 at the Ken Cinema.
Foxcatcher : Bennett Miller's dark sports film tells the tragic true story of the Schultz brothers (Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum), wrestlers who became forever entwined with the wealthy heir to the du Pont fortune (Steve Carell).
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1 : Having just destroyed the Hunger Games infrastructure, Katnis returns home to lead the rebellion against the corrupt forces of the capital.
Beyond the Lights : On the brink of superstardom, a talented young musician struggles with the pressure of the public limelight.
Dumb and Dumber To : In this sequel to the 1994 hit comedy, walking morons Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels) return to the big screen to grace us with their idiocy.
Rosewater : Gael Garcia Bernal stars as a journalist who becomes imprisoned after filming the aftermath of the 2009 elections in Iran. It's directed by Jon Stewart of The Daily Show .
The Theory of Everything : Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) is diagnosed with motor-neuron disease just as he's graduating with a doctorate degree in physics from Cambridge and starting a new life with his wife (Felicity Jones).
Awake: The Life of Yogananda : This documentary covers the life and influence of the famous spiritualist who brought Hindi practices to the west in the 1920s.
Big Hero 6 : An inflatable robot develops a bond with a prodigy named Hiro, and the two become high-tech heroes.
Force Majeure : While on vacation in the French Alps, a Swedish family experiences a traumatic event that reveals the deep-seated emotions and frustrations that have long simmered under the surface.
Interstellar : Christopher Nolan's new science-fiction epic follows a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to find a new home for humanity.
Citizenfour : Laura Poitras' documentary about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden explores the abuses of national security in post-9/11 America.
Nightcrawler : This scathing and unsettling portrait of modern news television stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a vulture scouring the Los Angeles streets for gory events.
Mysteries of Egypt : Traverse the glorious history and legacy of the ancient Egyptians in this IMAX adventure that takes you beyond the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Birdman : A burnt-out superhero actor (Michael Keaton) tries to mount a play on Broadway in order to prove his worth. It co-stars Naomi Watts, Emma Stone and Andrea Riseborough.
John Wick : After his dog is killed during a random break-in, a former hit man (Keanu Reeves) goes on the warpath looking for vengeance.
St. Vincent : A misanthropic senior citizen (Bill Murray) befriends a young boy going through familial trouble, inevitably leading to redemption for all involved.
Fury : A surly tank commander (Brad Pitt) and his small crew fend off Nazis during the waning days of World War II.
The Book of Life : This animated fantasy follows a young man who's torn between fulfilling his family duties and following his heart. It features the voices of Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana and Channing Tatum.
Whiplash : A sadistic music teacher tortures a young drummer at a posh New York City conservatory.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day : A boy lives through a calamitous day, and the bad luck spreads to his other family members.
The Judge : Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) returns to his childhood home to defend his embittered father (Robert Duvall), the town's judge, who's been accused of murder.
Gone Girl : David Fincher adapts Gillian Flynn's bestselling novel with Ben Affleck in the lead as the suspicious husband whose beautiful wife (Rosamund Pike) suddenly goes missing.
The Equalizer : Denzel Washington takes names and kicks ass in this remake of the 1980s television show.
Hidden Universe : Blast off into the stratosphere with this documentary that uses real images captured from telescopes to examine the vast reaches of space. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Journey to the South Pacific : Let the glorious scale of IMAX take you to the tropical islands of West Papua, where life under the sea is just as lush and vibrant as it is on shore. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.