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

Trips to Poland, Finland on tap for SpIFF 2014 tonight

We're down to the last three days of the 2014 Spokane International Film Festival, which continues tonight at the Magic Lantern Theater and climaxes Saturday at the Bing Crosby Theater. Wednesday night continued as most nights have, with those coming at the last minute struggling to find seats — in the dark — once the screening had commenced. And few, if any, seats were available. So be warned.

I was in the Lantern's larger house to watch the French-Moroccan film "Le sac de farina" ("A Bag of Flour"), a moving — if slightly too open-ended — study of a young woman's struggle to make her way in a remote Moroccan village after being taken (kidnapped?) by her birth father from a Catholic-run Brussels orphanage and unceremoniously dumped with his Islamic family. Meanwhile, a repeat program of U.S. short films played in the smaller house.

Tonight's lineup at the Lantern presents just as clear a choice:

6:30, "Aftermath": When a Polish immigrant to the U.S. returns to his home village after a long absence, he discover that his brother is resented by his fellow residents. What is the dark secret that affects, even ends up threatening, both brothers? According to some reviews, this film is causing a huge controversy in Poland. In the 100-seat larger house. 

6:46, "Aatsinki": If you've ever been curious about how Finnish reindeer wranglers exist in a land of ice and snow (at least for much of the year), then this is your documentary. With nary a word of dialogue between the real-life figures whom the camera follows, we see everything from fire-making to snowmobiling to preparing animals for roundup and their inevitable trip to the dinner table.

On Friday, SpIFF moves back to the Bing before spending much of Saturday again at the Lantern. Saturday night's closing film, "Matterhorn," plays at the the Bing, which will be site of the festival's closing party. For more information, click here.