News from March 18, 2001

At last, “The King Is Alive,” the final of the four original Dogme95 films, is coming to America.

Kristian Levring, who along with Lars Von Trier, Thomas Vintenberg and Søren Kragh-Jacobsen started the no-frills filmmaking credo six years ago, directs this story about a group of people stranded in Saharan Africa when their bus breaks down, who turn to performing King Lear to pass time.

The cast includes Janet McTeer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Davison, Romaine Bohringer and the late Brion James.

“The King Is Alive” will show as part of the Los Angeles International Film Festival in mid April. IFC Films, the theatrical offshoot of the Independent Film Channel, is scheduled to open the film, rated R for sexuality and language, in Los Angeles and New York on May 11.

In June, LA will also play host to the second annual Silver Lake Film Festival. Billing itself as the only true independent film festival in Los Angeles, the SLFF is accepting submissions until June 15th.

Wayne Wang first challenged censorship in 1990, when the MPAA slapped an X rating on his film “Life is Cheap… But Toilet Paper is Expensive.” The film was subsequently released with a self imposed A (for Adult) rating supported by Roger Ebert, and was intrumental in the creation of the NC17 rating.

Wang’s newest film, “The Center of the World,” was given an NC17 rating last week. Considering the rating to be a failure at allowing filmmakers to properly explore adult themes, Wang and Artisan Entertainment will release the film unrated starting April 20.

The film stars Peter Sarsgaard as a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who spend three days in Las Vegas with a stripper (Molly Parker).