Dir. George Butler; writ. Caroline Alexander & Joseph Dorman; feat. Liam Neeson (narrator) (G)
The ship's name, Endurance, was prophetic. When Ernest Shackleton set out in 1914 for Antarctica, he knew he had a perilous journey before him: The glory-seeker intended, with 28 men, to cross Antarctica on foot. To staff his expedition, he placed an advertisement sure to draw stoic souls: "Men wanted for harsh journey, small wages, bitter cold."
But the vessel never reached shore - it was captured in the miles of ice surrounding the continent - and the crew's agonizing attempts to return to safety are legendary. Moreover, Shackleton's unstoppable will to survive and to save his crew is enough to convince jaded viewers that leadership is a real, tangible quality, capable of rescuing men from madness as well as ice.
Ten minutes into the tale, you may wonder why you are watching it in a theater instead of on PBS. The film's format is fairly generic, however fascinating the story. But there is something to be gained here from the white mass of a movie screen: Huge, translucent bodies of ice, photographed today where the expedition travelled, take on a frightening grandeur. And the crew's home movies, miraculously preserved, transport us in a way television rarely can, to a part of the world that before helicopters and satellite global positioning might as well have been the moon. Inspiring and almost unbelievable, it is a reminder that real life can make fiction look pretty pale.
The Endurance screens Tuesday, July 15 as part of Texas Public Radio's "Cinema Tuesdays" series. 7:30pm at AMC Huebner Oaks, admission $10 members/$12 non-members, 614-8977 or tpr.org for reservations.
Novia Que Te Vea
Dir. Guita Schyfter; writ. Hugo Hiriart, Rosa Nissan (novel); feat. Claudette Maille, Maya Mishalska (NR)
This 1993 feature, whose title translates "Like a Bride," follows the lives of two Jewish girls in Mexico City, one descended from Spanish Sephardic Jews, one from an Eastern European Ashkenazi family. Despite their very different backgrounds, the two become friends as they grapple with politics, love, their families' expectations, and their own hopes for the future.
Novia Que Te Vea screens at the Instituto de Mexico, 600 Hemisfair Park, at 4 pm on Sunday, July 13. Info: 227-0130. •