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Moving Image film series examines the sensibility of being strangers

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The museum kicked off its annual New York Film Critics Circle film series Saturday, which is screening films revolving around a central theme with introductions by critics from a number of city publications, including The New York Times, The Village Voice, Newsday and The New York Observer. This year's series - "Foreign Affairs" - will examine what it means to be an outsider, literally or metaphorically visiting or living in a different country.Despite the fact that the borough of Queens is home to more than 100 nationalities, David Schwartz, the museums chief curator of film, said the "outsider" theme was chosen more because of a renewed interest in international affairs in recent years rather than the borough's diversity. However, he said the series may appeal to the varied nationalities of Queens that can relate to being strangers in a strange land.Schwartz said the series is well-timed because people have taken more of an interest in international news in in light of the war in Iraq and other current affairs."In recent years, people seem to feel more connected with what is going on in the world, while they may have been more isolated in past years," he said. "The series seems very timely."Critics from the New York Film Critics Circle voted on this year's theme and each critic chose a film to introduce that fit in with the series. Last year, the series focused on films with taboo subjects.The series began with two films the circle chose among their favorites of 2005 - "2046" and "Capote." That the two films are both arguably about outsiders is merely coincidental.The series, which runs until mid-February, will feature a variety of critically acclaimed films of years past, including Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket," Werner Herzog's "Stroszek," Carol Reed's "The Third Man" and Martin Scorsese's "Kundun." Schwartz said many of the films are by directors who were exploring a culture that is not their own."When a director looks at a culture from the outside, you get a fresh and interesting perspective," he said. "You see things in a brand new way."He said he hopes the series will also promote continued dialogue about international affairs and that the film will appeal to city residents interested in taking a look at different cultures."One of the keys to improving things in the world is understanding other countries," he said. "People feel like outsiders when they are in other countries, but we are all more connected than we are different."Each critic will provide a 10-minute introduction before the film and discuss why they chose to screen it. Films are free when visitors pay the museum's $10 admission fee. Museum members get into all screenings free. Tickets for the screenings of "Capote" and "2046" are $12 for the general public and free for members.For a complete listing of the schedule for "Foreign Affairs," visit the museum's Web site at www.movingimage.us.Reach reporter Nathan Duke be e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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