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Friday, February 16, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Portland's Movie Fest Starts Tonight

While the Rainy States Film Festival and the Children's Museum Film Festival should be enough to keep Seattle moviegoers busy this weekend, the 19th edition of the Portland International Film Festival will get under way tonight. It runs through March 3.

Timing helps to give this Oregon festival one of its distinctions. It traditionally starts just after the Academy Award nominations are announced, and it always includes a selection of foreign-language films that were submitted by their countries of origin in the Oscar race.

Only five movies can make it into the winners' circle and be officially nominated for an Oscar for best foreign-language film. But the list of entries this year reached 41.

Nine of them are part of the Portland festival, including one that did make it into Oscar's top five: Holland's "Antonia's Line," which is part of tonight's opening festivities. (It's already playing in Seattle at the Harvard Exit.)

The other eight: Iran's "The White Balloon," which will also be shown tonight; Pedro Almodovar's Spanish entry, "The Flower of My Secret," which will be screened on the festival's closing night; Argentina's "Wild Horses"; Bolivia's "Jonah and the Pink Whale"; Finland's "The Last Wedding"; France's "French Twist," Hungary's "The Outpost"; and Thailand's "Once Upon a Time . . ."

The festival will present more than 30 new films from two dozen countries. The list includes Spain's "Cradle Song," Greece's "End of

an Era," Russia's "Peculiarities of the Hunt" and Canada's "Margaret's Museum," which last month won Genies (Canadian Oscars) for three members of its cast - Helena Bonham Carter, Kate Nelligan and Kenneth Welsh.

There's also a feature-length German documentary about a legendary American filmmaker, "Orson Welles - The One Man Band," and a few favorites from last year's Seattle International Film Festival ("Chungking Express," "Two Crimes," "Denise Calls Up").

As before, Portland's festival has scheduled a Pacific Rim showcase, including Taiwan's "The Daughter-in-Law," South Korea's "Eternal Empire," and a Japanese entry, "The Last Dance," directed by Juzo Itami of "Tampopo" fame.

The list of shorts by prominent independent filmmakers includes Bill Plympton's "How to Make Love to a Woman," Suzanne Pitt's "Joy Street," Bruce Weber's "Gentle Giants" and Nick Park's "Close Shave." A series of family matinees will include the 1924 silent version of "Peter Pan," presented with live musical accompaniment.

Screenings will be held at ACT III's Broadway Cinemas, the Guild and the Berg Swann Auditorium in the Northwest Film Center at the Portland Art Museum.

Tickets for each event are $6.50 for adults, $5.50 for Film Center members and $3 for children. A festival pass is $95. Information: 503-221-1156.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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