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Red Bridge Film Festival opens Friday

"Images of the Future" is the theme for this year's Red Bridge Film Festival, the films to be shown April 13-17 at the Park Theatre.

Ranging from the great and beautiful 1927 futurist dystopian classic "Metropolis" to "This is Not a Film," a contemporary documentary about Iranian life and the meaning of art, the Red Bridge Festival brings entertainment, beauty, and serious consideration of issues central to our lives in 2012. These are the promise and perils of bio-engineering, free will, the rule of law, how we treat those different from ourselves, and the meaning of art.

Six feature films and one documentary fill out five days of entertaining and thoughtful movies.

Festival goers will be treated to "Blade Runner," a cult classic starring Harrison Ford; "District 9," a parable about the presence of persons fundamentally different from ourselves living among us; "Gattica," a tale about a society where individual effort and striving to improve has been replaced with bioengineering; "Ghost in the Shell," a beautiful Japanese "anime" or animated feature that explores the themes that its offshoot "The Matrix" made popular; and the thoroughly entertaining "Adjustment Bureau," starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, a fantasy with an intriguing exploration of free will.

The seventh movie, "This is Not a Film," is a documentary made in 2011 in Iran. All of the other films this year are fictional, each depicting some engaging story about the future.

In "This is Not a Film" we find ourselves thoroughly grounded in the Iranian present. The director, Jafar Panahi, has been sentenced to a six-year prison sentence (house arrest) and a 20-year prohibition from filmmaking. He is living in a society with a political environment that many of the other fictional movies in the festival tell us might one day be possible. But in this movie, the dystopian future depicted in the other films has become menacingly real.

"This is Not a Film" was made in 2011 and some of it was completed using an iphone. The film was smuggled out of Iran in a flash drive embedded in a cake, and was presented as an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival to resounding critical acclaim.

It was also an official selection of the New York Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival.

"The Red Bridge Festival is fortunate - as are all of us who have the opportunity to see this highly regarded and pioneering movie," said event coordinator Jamie Robertson.

Opportunity to discuss the films will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 13 on the festival's opening night at the Good Life Café and again from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Bella Caffe. Everyone is invited to these informal conversations.

"The Festival Committee hopes to see you at the movies," Robertson said.

Tickets are available at the Park Theatre box office, Beagle Books, the Park Rapids Enterprise and at Terrapin Station in Nevis.