Sarasota's Burns Court Cinema was built for times like these, when the Cine-World Film Festival unspools 40 features, documentaries and experimental works from around the world.
The three-screen complex, complete with patio and gourmet concessions, hosts the Sarasota Film Society's 10-day showcase of world cinema, with emphasis on U.S. and French productions.
Highlighting this year's schedule is The Singing Detective, a brilliant adaptation of Dennis Potter's acclaimed 1986 BBC miniseries. Robert Downey Jr. stars as a mystery novelist who concocts a screenplay _ and reconstructs his psyche _ while hospitalized for a debilitating skin disease. A barely recognizable Mel Gibson co-stars as his psychologist and Oscar winner Adrien Brody plays a hoodlum, part of the author's increasingly real fantasies.
The Singing Detective will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Sunday and at 5:30 p.m. Monday.
Other U.S. films include Robert Altman's The Company (Nov. 15 and 16), an ensemble drama starring Neve Campbell and set against the backdrop of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. What Alice Found (2:30 p.m. today; 5 p.m. Saturday) is a Deauville Film Festival winner about a hitchhiker recruited into truck-stop prostitution.
The Cooler (Nov. 15 and 16) stars William H. Macy as the world's unluckiest person and Alec Baldwin as the casino boss using the cold touch to his advantage. Shattered Glass (5:30 p.m. Sunday; 8 p.m. Monday; 2:30 p.m. Tuesday) is the fact-based story of New Republic reporter Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen) who fabricated many of his stories.
French titles at Cine-World include the Cannes Film Festival winner The Barbarian Invasions, a sequel to Denys Arcand's The Decline of the American Empire (Nov. 14 and 15), Claude Chabrol's The Flower of Evil (6:45 p.m. Saturday; 2:15 p.m. Monday) and a tribute to director Jean-Pierre Melville featuring his new wave classic Bob le Flambeur, remade earlier this year as The Good Thief starring Nick Nolte.
Other nations represented include Great Britain (Jim Sheridan's In America and Gwyneth Paltrow in Sylvia), Australia (Japanese Story starring Toni Collette), Germany (Istvan Szabo's Taking Sides starring Harvey Keitel) and Crimson Gold (produced in Iran, France and Italy).
Documentaries include A Decade Under the Influence (2 p.m. today and Nov. 13), tracing U.S. cinema in the 1970s, Jonathan Demme's The Agronomist (8 p.m. Monday; 5 p.m. Tuesday) and Tom Dowd and the Language of Music (Nov. 13 and 14) featuring a roster of rock and jazz legends.
Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle, a quintet of avant-garde symbolist works, will be presented throughout the festival.
Guest appearances at Cine-World include actor Laurence Luckinbill (Nov. 16) discussing his one-man stage shows, Teddy, Darrow and Lyndon, plus his role in the 1970 film The Boys in the Band. Producer Randy Finch (Federal Hill, Outside Providence) will conduct a film production seminar at 2 p.m. Saturday, and directors Sandra and Joseph Cosentino will discuss their History Channel series Mouthpiece: Voice for the Accused in two programs Nov. 13 and 15.
Two Cine-World programs are free: Saturday's Academy Award Student Films showcase (noon) and the Florida State University and Ringling School of Art and Design short films collection at noon on Nov. 15.