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CULTURAL, RELIGIOUS VIEWS SWIRL IN 'LIVE AND BECOME'

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Director Radu Miahaileanu's 2005 "Live and Become" ("Va, vis et deviens"), a drama that begins in a Sudanese refugee camp sheltering Ethiopians displaced by civil war and famine in 1984, will be the kick-off feature Saturday of this year's Columbia Jewish Film Series. The story follows a young boy, named Schlomo, who is air-lifted from Sudan to Israel, where he is adopted by a liberal Jewish family - and finds that assimilation into this new culture is harder than he thought. Complicating matters: he is not the Falasha, or Ethiopian Jew, that his adoptive family believes.

This marks the 18th season for the series, sponsored annually by the Columbia Jewish Congregation. The remaining schedule of movies includes Anna Justice's 2007 "Max Minsky and Me" (Feb. 13), Diane Crespo and Stefan C. Schaefer's 2007 "Arranged" (March 20) and Tzahi Grad's 2001 "Giraffes" (April 17).

Showtime for all films is 8 p.m. in room 200 of The Meeting House in Oakland Mills, 5885 Robert Oliver Place. Tickets range from $9 per film to $28 for the entire four-film series. Call 410-381-4809 or go to columbiajewish.org.

Anna Chlumsky returns: : "In the Loop," a political satire starring Peter Capaldi, Tom Hollander, James Gandolfini and - for all those wondering what happened to the 10-year-old who starred alongside an equally young Macaulay Culkin in 1991's "My Girl" - Anna Chlumsky, is this month's offering in the Howard County Library East Columbia Branch's New Release Cinema program. The monthly series, sponsored by the Friends of Howard County Library, showcases recent DVD releases. Admission is free, as are the soda and popcorn.

Showtime is 7 p.m. Thursday at the library, 6600 Cradlerock Way. Call 410-313-7700.

Cinema Sundays starts new season: : "Crazy Heart," featuring a performance by Jeff Bridges that is emerging as an early Oscar favorite, is the scheduled feature for Cinema Sundays at the Charles Theatre this weekend. The movie, directed by Scott Cooper, stars Bridges as a hard-living, booze-loving country singer and Maggie Gyllenhaal as the journalist trying to understand him. Scheduled to open in Baltimore Jan. 15, there's already talk that the movie should earn Bridges his first Oscar after four nominations.

Showtime is 10:30 a.m. at the Charles, 1711 N. Charles St. Tickets are $15; there's no extra charge for the coffee and bagels, or for the pre- and post-film discussion. Call 410-727-3456 or go to cinemasundays.com or thecharles.com.

A Baltimore actor returns home: : The latest movie from Baltimore's Jimmy Traymor, once lauded by Film Threat magazine as "the greatest filmmaker you've never heard of," will have its premiere tonight at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave. "Welcome Home: The Jay Randall Story" offers the cautionary tale of a Baltimore actor (Traymor) who goes off to L.A. in search of fame and fortune - and when he's forced to return home after finding neither, all sorts of mayhem ensues.

Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7, $5 for Alliance members. Call 410-276-1651 or go to creativealliance.org.

AVAM offers free winter film series: : The American Visionary Art Museum's free Winter Visionary Film Series, profiling the sort of fringe artists AVAM has faithfully championed, continues Thursday with "Grandma Prisbrey's Bottle House" and "Possum Trot," two films about proudly idiosyncratic California folk artists. One, Grandma Prisbrey, created a miniature outdoor village made of bottles and other recyclables, while the other, Calvin Black, created, displayed and operated some 80 female dolls at his "Bird Cage Theater" in the Mojave Desert.

Showtime is 7 p.m. at the museum, 800 Key Highway. Call 410-244-1900 or go to avam.org.

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