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LIQUID SKY - A flying saucer lands in downtown Manhattan, perversely attracted by the demented lives of the trendy ''new wave'' set, which it spies and preys on. Directed with great visual panache but a striking absence of moral perspective by Soviet emigre Slava Tsukerman, who seems equally repelled and attracted by the loud, lascivious ''punk'' behavior he paints with hair-raising, and surely exaggerated, detail. (Rated R; contains enormous amounts of sex, violence, and vulgar language.)

MIRROR, THE - Autobiographical musings by the great Soviet director Andrei Tarkovsky, about a man recalling his childhood while dealing with a difficult time in his adult life. The family drama is slow and unmemorable, but the visionary dream sequences are overwhelmingly powerful. (Not rated.)

NIGHT OF THE SHOOTING STARS, THE - Amid the sad confusion of World War II, a group of Italian peasants flee the Germans who control their town and head into the countryside, looking for American soldiers and liberation. Directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani with their patented blend of realism, fantasy, and myth. (Rated R; contains some earthy details of peasant life.)

OCTOPUSSY - A tiny octopus is the symbol of a circus that gets mixed up in international intrigue, and the insignia of a smuggling ring that James Bond vanquishes after sundry close shaves. Directed by John Glen, who keeps the excitement level high for an hour or so, then lets the show slip into the doldrums. (Rated PG; contains vulgar language and sexual innuendo.)

PAULINE AT THE BEACH - On vacation, a teen-age girl watches two men court her older cousin, and tries to figure out why adults are so crafty and conniving about something as simple as affection. The third entry in the ''Comedies and Proverbs'' series of French director Eric Rohmer, who fills the picture with his usual blend of constant conversation, impeccable images, and sly intelligence. (Rated R; contains some nudity and sexual innuendo.)

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