Daily Archives: November 18, 1988

The Land Before Time

Ironically, it is this Spielberg-Lucas collaboration–directed by Don Bluth, and scripted by Stu Krieger, Judy Freudberg, and Tony Geiss–not the Disney studio’s new Oliver & Company, that comes closest to reviving the classic character animation of Disney in its heyday. In this case, what we get is a kind of dinosaur Bambi featuring an all-prehistoric cast. It’s a tale about growing up as well as an adventure about a trek for survival. Reportedly, Spielberg found the original version of this too scary and violent, requiring expensive changes, and it must be admitted that some of the action sequences feel abbreviated–but the overall handling of landscape and character is well done, and some of the old Disney mysticism about parental and ancestral roots manages to shine through. Not a masterpiece, but a nicely crafted piece of animation. (Biograph, Chicago Ridge, Edens, Nortown, Orland Square, Ridge, Water Tower, Woodfield, Ford City East, Yorktown, Hillside Square, Norridge) Read more


Perhaps the most striking instance of a suppressed Soviet film thawed out by glasnost, this 1967 first feature by Aleksandr Askoldov was apparently controversial only because it expresses overt sympathy for the Jews who were persecuted during the Russian civil war, and because the lead character is a pregnant woman whose combined characteristics challenged traditional stereotypes. As a first feature, the film is in many respects remarkable, if not an unqualified success. The black-and-white ‘Scope images are often clearly influenced by the silent Soviet masters, and the uses of subjective camera are especially striking; but the film’s effectiveness as narrative only works intermittently. Still, for anyone with an interest in the subject and in the Soviet cinema, this shouldn’t be missed. (Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday and Saturday, November 18 and 19, 6:45 and 9:00; Sunday, November 20, 5:00 and 7:30; and Monday through Thursday, November 21 through 24, 6:45 and 9:00; 281-4114) Read more