Here's What You Should See at CIFF Today (Thurs. 3/26)

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1) Monument to Michael Jackson (9:20 a.m., 95 minutes). Director: Darko Lungolov
Despite the title, this is a Serbian film. And though we're certainly partial to Eastern European cinema — all the films in this year's Central and Eastern European Competition are as stark and biting as always — this satirical dramedy would be worth seeing even if it were from bougie Western Europe. A down-on-his-luck Serb proposes that his town build a monument to Michael Jackson as a tourist attraction, in the hopes that the project will get his life back on track. He assembled an oddball cast of misfits to help him in his quest, and the result is not only funny, but a commentary on contemporary Serbian culture.  

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2) Sam Klemke's Time Machine (11:40 a.m., 94 mins). Director: Matthew Bate
This curious picture features the footage of caricature artist Sam Klemke, a man who has been meticulously documenting his life since the mid-70s. It's an unconventional — but extremely affecting — way to view a life, the captured fleeting moments that we so often disregard and forget. Klemke is a man with his share of major and minor struggles, and his accomplishments and his sorrows are those that will be familiar to most of us.  

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3) Eadweard (4:25 p.m., 104 mins). Director: Kyle Rideout 
First-time director Rideout portrays the magic of filmmaking int his biopic of one of cinema's earliest innovators, Eadweard Muybridge, a man whose name is almost as breathtaking as his experiments with motion photography. In a script that blends romance and 19th-century science, the story is a compelling one, dramatized by all sorts of cinematic tricks to capture the thrill of Muybridge's early work. Hell on Wheels' fans will recognize Christopher Heyerdahl in a supporting role.   

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4) Teacher of the Year (8:30 p.m. at the Hanna Theater, 80 mins). Director: Jason Strouse; Starring: Matt Letscher, Keegan-Michael Key.
Shot in the documentary style of TV's Parks and Recreation, this comedic look at the lives of high school educators is by turns hilarious and heartfelt. At Turner High, Principal Douche (Key) and Teacher of the Year Mitch Turner (Letscher) are only the tip of this ensemble's iceberg. 

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5) Xenia (8:40 p.m., 134 mins). Director: Panos H. Koutras
To close out your night, check out this masterful coming-of-age dramedy adventure about two Albanian brothers living in Greece who intend to seek out their estranged father for financial support when their mother suddenly dies. To make the plan more exciting, the older brother, Odysseus, intends to win the Greek version of America's Got Talent with his golden pipes. A riotous, rambunctious ride.  


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