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Courtesy of Film Forum

“Kawasaki’s Rose” follows a family living in the Czech Republic as they grapple with an accusation from their past.

If a weekend full of extended family and kitchen chaos seems a bit overwhelming, it's always good to know there's a movie theater just around the corner. Whether students are in the mood for an inviting animated feature or an artsy cerebral drama, this weekend has two solid options for film viewing. "Kawasaki's Rose" Some films can tell the story of an entire nation. "Kawasaki's Rose," this year's Czech entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, attempts to do just that. The film focuses on a family living a seemingly stable life in the present-day Czech Republic. That stability, however, succumbs to the pressure of a number of personal and political tensions. Pavel, a psychiatrist, is about to receive an award honoring his life's work and his role in toppling the Communist regime. However, while working on a documentary, his son-in-law Ludek uncovers evidence that Pavel actually aided the Communist secret police, the StB. As the story unfolds, the audience sees the deeply personal impact this accusation has on various members of Pavel's family. Adding to this drama, a number of other revelations about each character surface over the course of the film. "Kawasaki's Rose" is the first Czech or Slovak film since the 1989 Velvet Revolution that deals with the haunting past of the Communist secret police. It is an extremely relevant film, since the secrets of this past are still being revealed. Given this, the film could certainly do more to convey the sweeping nature of the StB's crimes. The film's focus on a single family allows the viewer to see subtle personal tensions. At certain points, however, the characters' emotions are unrealistically contained or explosive. The director, Jan Hrebejk, chose not to include flashbacks, and while this decision created the potential for interesting nuance, the film falls short in conveying the impact that StB crimes had on the Czech people. "Kawasaki's Rose" has its poignant moments, but it fails to make a deep personal or political impact. —Ian Erickson-Kery "Tangled" Titled "Rapunzel" before Disney changed the title to attract a broader, more male-based audience, "Tangled" is the tale of the lonely Rapunzel and her guide, the thief Flynn Ryder, as they journey to find the floating lights that mysteriously appear every year on her birthday. Unbeknownst to Rapunzel, she is actually the lost princess of the land, kidnapped by an old crone who uses her "adopted" daughter's magical hair to attain eternal youth. As Rapunzel, Mandy Moore successfully captures the innocence of a character who has been locked up in a tower most of her life, especially in the all-too-few musical numbers. On the other hand, Donna Murphy's villainous Mother Gothel, who raised Rapunzel to fear the outside world, is passive-aggressive and vain yet uninteresting. The character lacks the complexity, or even the gleeful wickedness, of past Disney villains. As the 50th Disney animated feature, "Tangled" is caught between keeping up with modern trends and maintaining its traditional roots. The film cannot find its tone—it can't decide if it wants to be a tongue-in-cheek, self-aware comedy like "Shrek" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" or a classic princess musical like "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Little Mermaid." Despite nostalgia for the visual mastery of the original Disney 2D animated features, the digital animation in "Tangled" solidifies how detailed and beautiful the medium can be. An especially captivating scene is one in which Rapunzel and Flynn gaze at floating lanterns that glitter in the sky and reflect on the lake beneath them, as the lanterns seem to glide right through the screen and into the theater. Although the tone of "Tangled" is an uneven knot of irony and sincerity, Disney's latest production serves as a perfectly adequate holiday feature. —Maricela Gonzalez

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