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Your best movie bets for film fest's final weekend

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By Robert Horton
Herald Movie Critic
Some recommendations for the final weekend of the Seattle International Film Festival:
"In Search of Kennedy": If you thought that the subject of John F. Kennedy's brief presidency was exhausted, this film from the veteran (and Oscar-winning) filmmaker Chuck Workman begs to differ. It's not the archival footage that fascinates the most in this thoughtful documentary, but the interviews with people today -- some famous, some not -- about the JFK legacy that just won't go away. Workman will introduce the film, which is having its world premiere. 4 p.m. today, Egyptian; 7 p.m. Saturday, SIFF Cinema.
"Letting Go of God": Former "Saturday Night Live" player and "God Said, Ha!" monologist Julia Sweeney films another of her one-woman shows, this time a warm and honest soliloquy about the way a devout Catholic schoolgirl could eventually, logically and thoughtfully become an atheist (although her parents wouldn't like that word). Former UW grad Sweeney will be on hand to talk about her film. 6:30 p.m. today, SIFF Cinema; 4 p.m. Sunday, SIFF Cinema.
"Sunrise": Two screenings of F.W. Murnau's all-time world-beating silent classic, accompanied by a new music score from SubPop recording artists The Album Leaf. 7 and 9:30 tonight, Triple Door.
"Alexander Nevsky": More live music, this time of the orchestral variety. Sergei Eisenstein's epic 1938 Soviet film features some of the most stupendous battle scenes ever put on screen (you just know Peter Jackson studied this before making "The Lord of the Rings"), and it gives the Seattle Symphony a chance to perform the mighty musical score by Prokofiev in a live setting. 7 tonight, 8 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday, all at Benaroya Hall.
"Jolene": What goes around comes around: One of SIFF's co-founders, Dan Ireland, returns to the festival with the world premiere of his latest film as director. It's a picaresque saga, based on an E.L. Doctorow story, of a Southern girl (rising star Jessica Chastain) whose journey through life includes more than a little of the wrong kind of man. Nicely balanced with a consistent strain of rueful comedy, the film is fueled by Chastain's indomitable performance. 9:30 tonight, Cinerama; 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Cinerama.
"The Bluetooth Virgin": Playing like a junior version of an early David Mamet talkfest, this arch look at the ups and downs of struggling screenwriters has more than its share of well-landed zingers. The crux of the film is the rivalry between two writers, one of whom makes the disastrous mistake of telling the truth about his friend's awful-sounding script. 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Harvard Exit.
"Faces": A screening of one of director John Cassavetes' more accessible (and insightful) films, this one tracks the long night of a troubled marriage, with Gena Rowlands and John Marley delivering corrosive performances in the leads -- although it was supporting performers Seymour Cassel and Lynn Carlin who garnered Oscar nominations. If you've never seen one of Cassavetes' work-shoppy, partly improvised movies, this is a good introduction. 4 p.m. Saturday, SIFF Cinema.
"Towelhead": Alan Ball, the screenwriter of "American Beauty" and creator of "Six Feet Under," takes to the director's chair for this thoroughly brave, taboo-cracking adaptation of Alicia Erian's novel. The story's about an adolescent Arab-American girl (Summer Bishil) staying with her father (memorable Peter Macdissi) in the suburbs of Houston, but don't expect an "After School Special." This is a take-no-prisoners version of a coming-of-age movie -- and of the American scene in general. Aaron Eckhart and Toni Collette co-star. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Egyptian; 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Egyptian.
"Fugitive Pieces": Study of a Holocaust survivor (Stephen Dillane) wrestling with his demons, even as his writing career succeeds. This is a tasteful, possibly too tasteful, treatment of a worthy subject, and the feel of it is pleasingly literary. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Pacific Place; 1:15 p.m. Sunday, Pacific Place.
"Apollo 54": A raggedy and (I am glad to say) utterly juvenile lark about two boneheads who decide to follow a mysterious cable into outer space. Despite the low-rent feel of something designed as a five-minute YouTube skit, this Italian comedy actually gets more ingenious as it goes along, and almost sustains its overlong running time. 4 p.m. Sunday, Harvard Exit.
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