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A weekly update of film releases

THE LONG WALK HOME - A middle-class white family and a hard-working black maid confront big decisions when blacks launch a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. The story is inspired by heartbreakingly true events, and recognizing their importance could prod urgently needed action on today's festering racial tensions. The movie falls into the usual traps of its well-meaning genre, though: It reduces a complicated social problem to a string of highly personalized dramatic incidents; and it gives equal weight to white and black heroines in a strained attempt to ``balance'' its story. Richard Pearce directed. (Rated PG-13)

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PRIVILEGE - Facts and fictions blend in this complex look at sex, race, and class divisions in the United States, revolving around a long conversation between two women of different backgrounds. Directed by Yvonne Rainer, who never fails to provoke thought and challenge complacency, even when her work falls short of its highest level. (Not rated)

RODRIGO D: NO FUTURE - Although the city of Medellin, Colombia, is familiar to most North Americans only through headlines about its infamous drug cartel, this searing Columbian drama makes it real and immediate with a story of poverty-striken youngsters trapped between violence and hopelessness. If the characters often seem interchangeable, it's less a dramatic flaw than a sign of director Victor Manuel Gaviria's insistence on the problems of dehumanization and the waste of individual talents. (Not rated)

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