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On screen as well as on stage, this is the perfect time to celebrate women.

For the fifth year in a row, the University at Buffalo is bringing in an International Women's Film Festival. Sponsored by UB's Institute for Research and Education on Women and Gender, the festival runs Thursday nights in the Market Arcade Film and Arts Centre downtown.

Still to come are five groundbreaking films from around the world:

Thursday: "Ratcatcher" (Scotland, 1999, 94 minutes). In rough, blue-collar '70s Glasgow, a 12-year-old boy creates his own world as he plays near a canal and seeks refuge in a half-built house. The movie focuses on his friendships, in particular his awkward relationship with a 14-year-old girl named Margaret Anne. Directed by Lynne Ramsey.

Feb. 15: "Spring of Life" (Czech Republic, 2000, 107 minutes). The title refers not to an abortion protest but to a story set in the Third Reich. The Nazis had a program known as "Lebensborn," which promoted the coupling of "Aryan" people in order to produce superior offspring. In this story, a girl from Czechoslovakia is chosen for the program, but falls in love with a Jewish man instead. Directed by Milan Cieslar, in Czech, German and Polish, with English subtitles.

Feb. 22: "Honey and Ashes" (Tunisia, 1996, 80 minutes). In modern-day North Africa, three women resolve to change their relationships with men. The story brings out the pressures women endure in this foreign culture. One woman, a doctor, finds herself facing an arranged marriage; another has to rebel against an abusive husband; and the third is perceived as promiscuous and is threatened because she kissed the man she loves. Directed by Nadia Fares, in Arabic and French, with English subtitles.

March 1: "Celestial Clockwork" (Venezuela, 1993, 85 minutes). In this screwball comedy, a Venezuelan girl dumps her fiance at the altar and flies off to Paris to become an opera singer. She accumulates a bunch of wacky roommates and seeks the starring role in Rossini's "Cinderella." The soundtrack is lovely, with music by Rossini, Schumann and Schubert as well as salsa star Alma Rosa, who puts in an appearance. Directed by Fina Torres, in French and Spanish with English subtitles.

March 15: "Dance, Girl, Dance" (United States, 1940, 90 minutes, black and white). Dorothy Arzner was one of the first women directors. UB points out that her movie "Dance, Girl, Dance" explores themes later tackled by "Flashdance" and "Dance With Me"; Maureen O'Hara stars as an aspiring ballerina who supports herself by working as a stripper. Lucille Ball also appears in the film, playing a dancer named "Bubbles" who embraces a career in burlesque.

All movies start at 7 p.m. General admission is $6.50. For more information, call the Market Arcade at 855-3022.

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