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Out On Video

A weekly update of video releases

CHASING BUTTERFLIES - Autumn is the season and melancholy is the mood of this deftly understated French comedy. The wandering story centers on the quiet lives and changing fortunes of rich, poor, and in-between folks who dwell in the vicinity of an aging but still elegant countryside chateau. In the tradition of Jacques Tati's expressive comedies, the plot covers everything from tea time to terrorism with so little dialogue that the English subtitles are hardly needed. Sensitive acting and camera work keep the action engaging from start to finish. Directed by Georgian filmmaker Otar Iosseliani in 1994. (Not rated; New Yorker Video)

INHERIT THE WIND - Spencer Tracy won an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of a defense attorney based on Clarence Darrow in this 1960 dramatization of Tennessee's famous "Monkey Trial," which pitted evolutionists against creationists. The 1925 court case centered on a young schoolteacher who brought Darwin's theories into the classroom despite a state law forbidding such a thing. Frederic March plays the prosecutor based on William Jennings Bryan, and Gene Kelly takes on one of his few purely dramatic roles as a fast-talking reporter. The windy but compelling picture was produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, whose shortcomings as an artist are outweighed by his commitment to movies dealing with stimulating ideas. (Not rated; MGM/UA Home Video)

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TALKING TO STRANGERS - A young man wanders the public and private spaces of an anonymous city, striking up conversations with everyone who strikes his fancy, be it an out-of-control criminal or an eager-to-please clergyman. The purpose of his odyssey is deliberately ambiguous, and it would be more resonant if the film's acting and writing had been further refined. But there's no doubt about the technical brilliance of the movie, which presents its nine episodes in unbroken shots of fluidity and gracefulness. Directed by Rob Tregenza with great cinematic savvy. Contains some violence and vulgar language. (Not rated; Cinema Parallel)

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