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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

SpIFF 2012: The sun is shining inside

It's February, though you'd never know if from the sun bursting through my window. And for those of us who haven't spent a lot of time outdoors, the lure of nature calls. Still …

… this is the last weekend of the 2012 Spokane International Film Festival. And a whole schedule of films beckons. So while I'd prefer the weather to be dark and rainy, providing a better contrast to the warm comfort of either the River Park Square AMC Theaters or the Magic Lantern, I'm still headed for a day of filmgoing.

You can access the schedule here. But here are a couple of must-sees, plus one can't-miss event:

"Animation Showcase" (noon, AMC): Some dozen animated shorts, including the Oscar-nominated Canadian short "Dimanche," will screen at AMC. Note that even though the films are animated, some aren't for children. So take your kids AT YOUR OWN RISK.

"In the Family" (6:30 p.m., ML small house): One of the highlights of the festival, this unique, lengthy (2:49) drama is simply a superb achievement. The plot is straightforward: a gay man, upon the death of his partner, struggles with the dead man's family to remain connected to the 6-year-old boy who has come to know him as a father. But the film's execution is complex, balancing between authenticity and melodrama in a way that gets right to the heart of emotion without ever resorting to simplicity or stereotype.

"Inuk" (8:30, AMC): Filmed in Greenland, a treat in itself, this film tells the story of a troubled young man (whose name makes up the film's title) who is tasked with finding maturity while participating in a traditional hunting expedition. "Inuk" has won awards from Paris to Port Townsend.

The SpIFF Closing Party: Following the final features, "Inuk" and "You've Been Trumped" (8 p.m., AMC), the festival closing party will be held in the Saranac Building, which is where the Magic Lantern is located at 35 W. Main. And a good time will be had by all.