Annual international film series runs March 10 through May 5, at the Studio Cinema in Belmont
BELMONT, MA—Belmont World Film announces the line-up for its 13th annual international film series entitled “Home Is Where…,” which takes place Mondays at 7:30 PM from March 10-May 5 (except for April 14) at the Studio Cinema in Belmont (376 Trapelo Road). Eight internationally acclaimed films—including many New England premieres, as well as several countries’ submissions for best foreign film at this year’s Oscars—have been culled from the world’s top film festivals from countries not known for filmmaking, such as Singapore, Chad, and Afghanistan, as well from more familiar countries, such as Brazil, France, Morocco, and Portugal. All events feature either post-film discussions by notable experts or culturally-related performances; several screenings feature pre-film dinners and receptions. The festival is a participant in the Consulate General of France in Boston’s Francophonie Celebration of New England and the Boston Portuguese Festival.
“Each film in this year’s series is concerned with the home, whether it’s returning home, finding a new home, being imprisoned at home, or finding home through personal pursuits,” says Belmont World Film Executive Director Ellen Gitelman. “Although home is a common human need, these films demonstrate how it means something different in every culture. It is Belmont World Film’s aim to engage with other cultures through film in order to promote understanding.”
The line-up includes:
Monday, March 10: Playing Dead by Jean-Paul Salomé (Belgium/France; in French) New England Premiere
Monday, March 17: Ilo Ilo directed by Anthony Chen (Singapore; in Mandarin, Tagalog, English & Hokkien) New England Premiere
Monday, March 24: GriGris directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad/France; in French & Arabic) New England premiere
Monday, March 31: Only When I Dance directed by Beadie Finzi (Brazil/UK, documentary, in Portuguese, English & French)
Monday, April 7: Imagine directed by Andrzej Jakimowski (Poland/Portugal/France/UK; in English, French, Portuguese & German)
Monday, April 21: An Afghan Love Story directed by Barmak Akram (Afghanistan/France; in Persian)
Monday, April 28: Rock the Casbah directed by Laïla Marrakchi (France/Morocco; in French, Arabic & English) New England Premiere
Monday, May 5: The Gilded Cage directed by Ruben Alves (France; in French, Portuguese & English) New England Premiere
Opening night features the New England premiere of the witty, Agatha Christie-style whodunit Playing Dead, in which an out-of-work former movie celebrity (Francois Damien, Audrey Tatou’s co-star in Delicacy) is relegated to playing the dead victim in a tangled crime scene reenactment in the French Alps. The actor’s obsession for dramatic detail causes sparks to fly with the civil officer investigating the real-life crime, potentially putting both their lives in danger. It is preceded by a Fabulous Fondue Party from 6-7 PM (separate admission).
In Ilo Ilo, the arrival of a Filipino maid, who has left her own children behind, threatens the already strained relationships in an upwardly mobile family in Singapore. The maid and the difficult boy she cares for form a bond, and she soon becomes an unspoken part of the family. But this is 1997 and the Asian financial crisis is starting to be felt. The film is Singapore’s submission for best foreign film to this year’s Oscars. Maria Sacchetti, an immigration reporter at the Boston Globe, will speak after the screening.
GriGris, Chad-born, France-based director Mahat-Saleh Haroun’s follow up to A Screaming Man (BWF 2012), is about 25 year-old GriGris, who dreams of being a professional dancer, despite a disabled leg. While making extra cash by performing at a local club he befriends a beautiful but damaged prostitute. Together they try to start a new life after he is forced to take a job smuggling oil to pay his stepfather’s hospital bills. The film won the Vulcan Award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and was Chad’s submission for best foreign film to this year’s Oscars. Cliff Odle, a specialist in Africana on stage, screen, and TV at UMass Boston, will speak after the screening.
In Only When I Dance two black teenagers from a favela in Rio, Brazil, follow their dreams to become world-class dancers despite constant prejudice and doubt in an effort to beat the odds and escape their tough day to day lives. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Irlan Silva, one of the dancers featured in the film who is now a member of the Boston Ballet, conducted by Jared Bowen of WGBH’s Greater Boston.
A new instructor at a well-known Lisbon clinic for the visually impaired teaches a controversial technique to his international group of blind patients in Imagine. For him, the key to getting around and living a fulfilling life are the mind and imagination, not sensory perception. But when he breaks the rules to help a female student rediscover life’s pleasures, he jeopardizes both her life and his livelihood.
An Afghan father weighs his family’s honor against his allegiance to his daughter after she is seduced and impregnated by a handsome waiter in An Afghan Love Story. The film won the World Cinema Dramatic Screenwriting prize at last year’s Sundance Film Festival and was Afghanistan’s submission for best foreign film to this year’s Oscars. The film’s star, Wajma Bahar, will speak after the screening by Skype from France, along with Qais Akbar Omar, who directed her in Love’s Labors Lost in Kabul, the production of which became the subject of his 2012 book Shakespeare in Kabul.
Hiam Abbass (The Visitor) stars and Omar Sharif is featured in the bittersweet comedy Rock the Casbah. Over the three days of mourning called for by Moroccan tradition, an upper class family gathers in their departed father and husband’s villa. Secrets come out, throwing the order once maintained by the patriarch into turmoil. A collective hysteria leads each of the women to face up to some home truths.
The closing night film returns to Portugal with The Gilded Cage. The film is a charming, semi-autobiographical comedy about a loving, hardworking married couple living in Paris whose long-held dream of returning to their native Portugal finally comes true–only to be secretly undermined by their overly dependent friends and neighbors. The Consul General of the Portuguese Consulate of Boston, Jose Rui Caroco, will speak after the screening, which will be preceded by an optional Portuguese reception (separate admission required) hosted by the Portuguese Consulate of Boston.
Tickets are $11 general admission and $9 for students, seniors, and Belmont World Film members. The Belmont World Film “Passport” includes eight admissions for $65 and can be shared with one other person. Tickets to the optional opening dinner on March 10 are $29; the optional reception on May 5 is $20. Tickets for films, passports, the dinner, and reception are available online at www.belmontworldfilm.org or in person at the Studio Cinema during box office hours. On day of show, tickets are available at the box office 30 minutes prior to screening.
Sponsors of the series include Cambridge Savings Bank and Wicked Local. Belmont World Film is sponsored year-round in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and in-kind by Cambridge Reprographics.
For more information, visit www.belmontworldfilm.org or call 617-484-3980.
Belmont World Film is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that promotes cross-cultural understanding through the powerful universal language of film. It presents award-winning feature films, documentaries, animation, and shorts from around the world for both adults and children enhanced by topical speakers, cultural performances and ethnic cuisine.