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ACLA'S DESCENT INTO FLORISTELLA
Inspired by true events, ACLA is an unflinching exploration of social mores and disturbing sexual practices largely unfamiliar to American audiences. Set in Sicily in the 1930s this haunting motion picture chronicles a major turning point in the life of Acla, a feisty 12-year-old sold by his destitute parents to work in the underground sulfur mines in Floristella.

Overworked and underfed, Acla toils from Monday to Saturday beside his father and older brothers in the steamy, candle-lit labyrinths. The heat underground is nearly unbearable and dozens of boys between the ages of 10 and 18 are forced to strip and hammer away deep in the caverns. At night they huddle together in the communal sleeping chambers, a lonely sea of aching flesh. Repeatedly beaten by his brutal “owner” and tormented by the ever-present specter of rape and sexual abuse, Acla attempts to escape... with dire consequences for both his family and himself. Hailed by film festivals critics throughout Europe and Canada, ACLA is a bold, revisionist account of the enslavement and inhumanity rampant throughout Italy in the days preceding World War II.

An astonishingly sensual portrait of institutionalized cruelty, Grimaldi’s vision exposes the endless cycle of religious hypocrisy and poverty that continues to produce children like Acla and his equally entrapped young friends.

Strong language, provocative subject matter. (Italian, 1992) Director: Aurelio Grimaldi. Cast: Francesco Cusimano, Tony Sperandeo, Luigi Maria Burruano, Lucia Sardo. Color. Running time: 86 minutes. Italian with English Subtitles. Letterbox format. Unrated.

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THE ANNUNCIATION
In the Garden of Eden, a nude Adam partakes of the forbidden fruit because he cannot bear to live without Eve, his love. Cast out of paradise by a wrathful God, the pair looks to beautiful Lucifer to fulfill his promise and grant them the secret knowledge of the trees. So begins THE ANNUNICATION, Andras Jeles' stunning epic account of the dark history of humanity as portrayed entirely by children between 8 and 12 years of age.

Photographed against the breathtaking fields, forests, steppes and shores of southern Hungary, THE ANNUNCIATION sends 12-year-old, dark-haired Adam on an odyssey through time and space. He becomes a general in Athens, presiding over the trial of a traitorous soldier. He is a crusader in Byzantium in old Prague, Danton during the French Revolution, and a witness to plague and poverty on London. As guided by a deceptively sweet, ultimately contemptuous blond-haired Lucifer, Adam confronts an endless procession of betrayal and savagery, rapists and concubines, mindless cruelty and fanaticism.

Superbly photographed, colorfully costumed and stunningly acted, THE ANNUNCIATION makes Pasolini-like use of its youthful cast to illustrate the horror and irrationality of our times."Sensual and darkly spirited! An exquisite indictment of mankind's folly!" - Cineast Magazin. "A remarkable achievement!" A haunting epic fantasy!" - Coutre Magazine.

(Hungary, 1984) Director: Andras Jeles. Cast: Peter Boscor, Julia Mero, Eszter Gyalog. Color. In Hungarian with English subtitles. Running time: 101 minutes. Unrated.

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THE BAD REPORT CARD
Eight short films make up this sweet bit of nostalgia from Germany in the '50s by the acclaimed still photographer and cinematographer, Lothar Sauer.The first is The Bad Report Card (Das Schlechte Zeugnis) which is the story of an afternoon of two schoolboys who were failed and don't dare go home with their bad report cards.Played by the boys of the lower grades of the Grammar School Mülheim (Ruhr) (26 minutes).
  1. The Chain (Die Kette) (18 minutes).
  2. The Boy in the Mirror (Der Junge im Spiegel) (3 minutes).
  3. The Dog (Der Hund) (6 minutes).
  4. The Negerkuss Duel (Das Negerkuss-Duell) (3 minutes).
  5. The Water Carrier (Der Wasser Holer) (3 minutes).
  6. The Death Zone (Die Todes-Zone) (5 minutes).
  7. An Old Song (Ein "altes Leid") (3 minutes) in which a boy dreams of leaving his schoolwork and going out to play, is inspired by a German proverb "Without study, no reward" (Ohne Fleiss, kein preis).

(Germany, 1958) Director: Lothar Sauer. Running time: 65 minutes. German captions with English subtitles. Black & white. Silent with piano score. Unrated.
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BOY OF BAGHDAD
For more than twenty-five years, Award Films International has sought to bring you the best, and often the most controversial, films available world-wide. They have succeeded once more with the exclusive release of the groundbreaking new docu-drama Boy of Baghdad. Using an embedded Iraqi camera crew, AFI has delivered an unprecedented look at life inside post-war Iraq, all from the unique perspective of a precocious twelve-year-old boy.

Doe-eyed and adorable Kheer Allah lives with his mother, father, two brothers and sister. Their "home" has no furniture and no modern appliances, except for an old television and radio sitting precariously atop a stack of used tires. There's no meat on this family's table. Home-baked pita bread is the staple in this beyond-poor household. School is out of the question too. Young Kheer Allah must work every day to help his family survive. This daily struggle forms the heart of this remarkable film. Through the wind-swept and war-ravaged streets of his neighborhood, Kheer Allah parlays his abundant charm into a variety of odd jobs that bring little money, but much satisfaction to his ever-smiling face. Boy of Baghdad is the heartbreaking, and very real, story of a remarkable boy forced to grow up much too quickly, in a dangerous world gone mad with politics and fanaticism. One that has sadly ignored its most vulnerable citizens, its children.

(Iraq, 2004) Producer: Award Films International. Director: Dr. Sabah Al-Moswi. Running time: 67 minutes. Color. Stereo. In Arabic with English, French and German subtitles. DVD Bonus: Trailer and Photo Gallery.

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THE BOYS OF BESLAN
May 25, 2005, the last day of school in Beslan, Russia, celebrated with the Ceremony of the Last Bell. A graduating senior carries a new student who rings a bell for the last time. The school year started on September 1st and was to be no different than any other. Tragically, within 48 hours, those youthful delights would be dashed by death and destruction. Chechen rebels had targeted School #1 in another misguided attempt at bringing attention to their country's plight. They had crafted an intricate plot to take hostage over twelve hundred students, parents and staff in achieve their goals. The plan failed. A huge bomb was detonated by accident and 344 hostages were killed, 172 of them were children. But THE BOYS OF BESLAN is not so much about the slaughter of innocents, but the spirit and resiliency of youth, embodied in the shining faces of young survivors Kazik and Asik. For even as they speak so sadly of the horror they witnessed that dark day in September, there is still the twinkle of hope in their eyes. These brave boys are not dwelling in the past but look firmly toward the future, one that will include, at last ... peace on earth.

(Russia, 2005) Producer: Baikal Films in association with Top Quality Video. Director: Andrey Ivanov. Running time: 47 minutes. Color. Stereo. In Russian with English subtitles. DVD Bonus: Preview, and Trailer.

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THE CHIPPENDIDDYS
Imagine nine, peach-fuzzed young teasers in a milk and cookies spoof of the world’s most famous all male dance troupe! Aaron, Simon, Sid, Kyle and their pals will gyrate their way into your heart and make you chuckle aloud at their puppyish exuberance and camaraderie. Watch the guys at rehearsal and later on stage, as they reveal some of their most exotic costumes and dance routines to an enthusiastic audience of female bubble gummers. Then meet these charming pre-teen dream boys up close and personal, as they discuss their lives and passions, and then get wild in a spirited game of “shirts and skins” soccer.

(USA/England, 1994) Producer: Top Quality Video. Cast: Kyle Donnelly, Simon Griffiths, Jordan & Shane Miles, Aaron Reed, Matthew Norbury, Sid Smith, John Trevor, Daniel Windsor and John & Angela Miles. Color. Running time: 45 minutes. DVD BONUS: Disc 1 - trailer, director and producer's commentary. Disc 2 - The Other Takes, Deleted Scenes, Extended Scenes, Goofing Around and 161-picture photo gallery. Unrated.

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CHRONICLE OF A BOY ALONE
Banned for thirty years by the Argentinean government, CHRONICLE OF A BOY ALONE, is a searing indictment of a fascist regime running roughshod over its most vulnerable citizens, its children. Focusing on the bleak life of eleven-year-old bad boy Polin, who's been abandoned by his family and sent to live in a state-run orphanage, it's also a moving portrait of the human spirit imprisoned by the chains of well-intentioned fools. Inside the harsh confines of the supposedly beneficial institution, Polin and his fellow inmates must deal with constant physical and psychological abuse by the staff, as well as the natural emotional tensions brought on by their own burgeoning adolescence. But through it all, they manage to keep their hopes alive with optimistic talk of freedom and bold plans of escape. One day, when the opportunity finally arises, and Polin learns that freedom, too, has its price. A neorealist masterpiece!

(1964, Argentina) Director: Leonardo Favio. Cast: Diego Puente, Tino Pascali, Beto Gianolo and Leonardo Favio. Black & white. In Spanish with English subtitles. Running time: 86 minutes. Unrated.

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CISKE THE RAT
CISKE THE RAT, starring Dutch singing sensation Danny De Munk, is without a doubt one of the most touching childhood sagas ever brought to film. Living in Amsterdam in 1934, eleven-year-old Ciske (nickname for Franciskus) is a troubled kid caught in the winds of the war between his separated parents. His father, a mostly absent merchant seaman, is just not up to the task of raising this good-hearted, but rambunctious kid. Constantly in trouble both at school and in the streets, Ciske is most certainly on a collision course with disaster, unless the few adults who do care about him can prevail against overwhelming obstacles. Based on the bestselling book trilogy by Piet Bakker, CISKE THE RAT will make you laugh, cry, and marvel at how one young boy can so skillfully capture your heart, and have you wishing him miracles.

(Holland, 1984) Director: Guido Peters. Cast: Danny De Munk, Willeke Van Amelrooy, Herman Van Veen, and Linda Van Dyck. Color. Running time: 107 Minutes. In Dutch with English subtitles. Unrated.

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COLEGAS
Two best friends are forced into street hustling and ever-expanding life of crime when one impregnates the sister of the other. Directed and co-authored by Spain’s most outspoken filmmaker, COLEGAS features fast pacing, sympathetic characters, harsh language and abundant male nudity.

(Spain, 1982) Director: Eloy de la Iglesia. Cast: José Luis Manzano, Antonio Gonzalez. Color. Running time: 117 minutes. Spanish with English subtitles. Full frontal nudity. Unrated.

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