We're back from break and already there are numerous worthy cinematic options playing in our area. The spring is usually known as downtime for film, but it's actually a great opportunity to go down a less trodden path and find more satisfying independent and foreign-produced fare.

On Saturday, the locally set and produced documentary, "There Ought to Be a Law" is playing at the Eveningstar Cinema.

The documentary chronicles the story of Cathy Crowley, a Maine mother, in her quest for greater gun control after her teenage son committed suicide with a gun bought at Wal-Mart. Maine has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the United States, so this issue is especially pertinent here. Though she had no activist experience, Crowley's story exemplifies why possessing the inner drive to stick with the cause matters most in the long run, especially when combating the well-funded gun lobby.

A panel after the film will include Crowley, the filmmakers, and a representative from the National Association on Mental Illness. This is another outstanding interactive film event from the Eveningstar Cinema, reminding me why it is a true gem of Midcoast Maine, one which deserves your support.

"There Ought to Be a Law" is playing March 31 at 11 a.m. For more details, check out www.eveningstarcinema.com.

The SPACE Gallery, at 538 Congress St. in Portland will host the Maine Women and Girls Film Festival on April 7.

The films presented are all made by women and girls, who remain a minority in the male-dominated filmmaking world. These films serve to celebrate the voice and visions of female filmmakers both in Maine and throughout the world.

Four categories of films will participate?documentary, narrative fiction, animation, and experimental. The majority are all short films and the evening will climax with the feature length documentary "The Breast Cancer Diaries," which follows a mother and journalist's personal battle with cancer.

For more information, check out www.acompanyofgirls.org/mwgff.htm.

Maine's best independent cinema, Movies on Exchange, at 10 Exchange St. in Portland, is screening the fantastic Oscar-winning German film "The Lives of Others." This is a film that surprisingly beat out "Pan's Labyrinth" for the award, and after seeing it I understand why. This is sophisticated European filmmaking at its finest and surely would place near the top of any year's best list.

The film is set in 1984 in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), at a time when the state spied on people for merely the slightest suspicion. Gerd is sent by the Stasi to spy on playwright Georg and his actress and partner Christa-Maria, neither of whom had done anything illegal.

While at first coldly objective, Gerd begins to feel his opinions changing after seeing more of the underbelly of East German's power elite, and the rich life of Georg and Christa-Maria. As he becomes intoxicated with the complex and fulfilling lives of others, he begins to test the boundaries of his pseudo-socialist state. This film is not to be missed.

"The Lives of Others" is now playing at 2, 4:45, and 7:30 pm. Check out www.moviesonexchange.com for more information.

This is the final call for submissions for the Bowdoin student film festival! Please submit all films to S.U. Box 548, or bring them to 13D in Coles Tower. Films made for classes can also participate. We're looking forward to seeing what you come up with! E-mail me (mnugent@bowdoin.edu) with any questions or concerns.