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CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD -- At a school for the deaf, a teacher who can hear falls in love with a deaf cleaning woman who used to be a brilliant student, and who refuses to learn speech as a matter of ferocious pride. Beneath its slick and manipulative surface, the film shows sparks of intelligence, treating the relationship between ``normal'' man and ``handicapped'' woman as a metaphor for commonplace male-female inequities. The screenplay is by Mark Medoff, based on his play. Randa Haines directed. (Rated R) THE NAME OF THE ROSE -- In the early 14th century, a sharp-witted monk tries to trap a murderer in an Italian monastery that's renowned for its vast library of approved and forbidden books. Based on Umberto Eco's best-selling novel, which works less well as a detective story than as a literary puzzle and a journey into history. Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, who builds a vividly medieval mood and retains at least a little of the novel's literacy, but can't resist playing up the story's sex and violence. (Rated R) NINETEEN NINETEEN -- An aging man and woman, who were treated for sexual problems by Sigmund Freud years earlier, get together in Vienna to discuss their experiences. Hugh Brody directed this gently paced drama, which is thoughtful but not especially insightful. (Not rated) ROUND MIDNIGHT -- A psychologically troubled jazz musician leaves New York for Paris, where the selfless friendship of a French jazz-lover helps him find temporary respite from turbulent feelings and self-destructive habits. The movie touches on unpleasant and even unsavory material, but the emphasis is on the uplifting qualities of loyalty and commitment. Sax player Dexter Gordon gives a superb performance as the main character, who's modeled after Bud Powell and Lester Young, two giants of real-life jazz. Directed by French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier in his usual laid-back style. (Rated R) THAT'S LIFE -- Facing his 60th birthday, a well-to-do architect has a midlife crisis, and his wife awaits a medical diagnosis that could have sad consequences. Although some of the domestic scenes are filmed with great intelligence by director Blake Edwards, who also brings in some needed humor, the characters whine so much you feel like throwing popcorn at them. (Rated PG-13) TOUGH GUYS -- Sprung from jail after a 30-year stretch for robbing a train, two old-time desperados try to go straight but can't resist the call of the wild. There are some good laughs and ironic twists in the story, along with a nagging vulgarity. Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas make a terrific team, and director Jeff Kanew gives them free rein to amuse us. (Rated PG) TWIST AND SHOUT -- The heroes of this Danish comedy-drama are two teen-age boys. One falls in love with an older girl, who goes through a harrowing and explicitly filmed abortion; the other must decide whether to confront his father about more humane treatment for his mentally ill mother. Capably directed by Bille August. (Not rated) RATINGS: Films with ratings other than G may contain varying degrees of vulgar language, nudity, sex, and violence.

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