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T+L Reports: Reel Life Around the Globe

Charles Frazier's best-selling novel Cold Mountain was set in North Carolina, but for the film version director Anthony Minghella and the cast trekked all the way to Romania. Jude Law stars as a disillusioned Confederate soldier who travels home to his beloved, played by Nicole Kidman. The Transylvanian Alps (where wild dogs roamed the set) stand in for a devastated, Civil War-era South. (Opens December 25.) • In Japanese Story, directed by Sue Brooks, a spunky Australian geologist (Toni Collette) reluctantly agrees to chauffeur an imperious and taciturn Japanese executive (Gotaro Tsunashima) around the vast Pilbara desert, one of the world's richest mining reserves and last uncharted regions. A plot twist turns their predictable romance of opposites into a profound meditation on the mind-altering possibilities of travel and the clash between Eastern and Western cultures. (Opens December 31.) • The first film shot entirely in Afghanistan since the Taliban came to and fell from power, Siddiq Barmak's Osama stars nonprofessional actors found on the streets of Kabul. A 12-year-old girl (Marina Golbarhari) cuts her hair and passes as a boy in order to support her widowed mother and grandmother, who are banned from working under the Taliban. But life as a boy under the mullahs is no piece of cake, either—witness the crowds of angry burka-clad women demonstrating in the alleyways of a ruined city. (Opens in late January.) • At 3 1/2, he told his aunt he didn't like the dress she was wearing; at 19, he was designing for the house of Dior. Yves Saint Laurent, icon of French culture, is the subject of two affectionate documentaries by David Teboul. In YSL: Time Regained, the designer and his mother reminisce about his childhood in Algeria, while his partner and friends recall his meteoric rise in the seventies. Yves Saint Laurent: 5, Avenue Marceau, set in his atelier, offers an unprecedented peek deep inside the temple of la haute couture. (Both open January 7.)
—Leslie Camhi

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