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

SpIFF presents ‘Amelie’ Wednesday at The Bing

Since I've lived in Spokane — which in February, hard to believe, will be 34 years — one of the biggest complaints i've heard from moviegoers concerns the inability to see movies that are playing in the rest of the country. And for a long time, I sympathized.

Fact is, though, much of that problem has been solved. The Magic Lantern continues, week after week, to bring in little-known movies — many of which will never play anywhere else. AMC's River Park Square also continues to screen smaller movies alongside the mainstream efforts. And what you can't see on the medium and big screens, those of us with On Demand television services can catch pretty much when we need to.

And all that is complemented by online services that — legally and illegally — will allow you to see just about everything else.

Still, to those of us who experienced the golden years of American cinema — which many of us define as the 1970s — nothing beats seeing a movie on a big screen. Preferably with like-minded cinephiles. And that's the crowd that the Professor's Series, sponsored by the Spokane International Film Festival, is intended to serve. The 2013 series, which has already screened “Fargo” and “Pan's Labyrinth,” will continue on Wednesday with a special screening of the 2001 French film “Amelie.”

This is the movie that introduced the charming Audrey Tautou (photo above) to American audiences. Here is what the late Roger Ebert wrote about Jean-Pierre Jeunet's film: “It is so hard to make a nimble, charming comedy. So hard to get the tone right and find actors who embody charm instead of impersonating it. It takes so much confidence to dance on the tightrope of whimsy. 'Amelie' takes those chances, and gets away with them.”

“Amelie,” which will be presented by Leonard Oakland, plays at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7 general admission, $2 for students with ID.

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