Russell Library has partnered with Middlesex Community College and Wesleyan University to select and screen six acclaimed international films on Thursday evenings this fall. The festival provides an opportunity to learn more about our local community’s diverse cultures and to gather together on ‘common ground’ to celebrate the global human spirit. Each screening begins promptly at 7:00 p.m. and is followed by a scholarly discussion of the film’s cultural and societal themes. The venues are handicapped accessible. All events are free and refreshments will be served.
My Voice (2002) will be shown on Thursday, October 11, 7pm at Wesleyan University Film Studies. This Portuguese film, directed by Flora Gomes, is about a young girl from Africa who becomes an international star while in France. Her family believes that any woman who sings will die. Realizing that her mother in Africa will learn that she sings, she goes back to her native village and arranges her own funeral, albeit with instantaneous rebirth.
African Cinema IV
Seraphine (2008) will be shown on Thursday, October 18, 7pm at Russell Library. This French film, directed by Martin Provost, is based on the life of French painter Séraphine de Senlis who lived from 1864 to 1942. She was a shepherdess and housekeeper who in her free time turned to natural elements of the outdoor world for her paints. She used elements such as animal blood, oil from church candles, and dirt pulled from the ground. With these raw tools she created floral arrangements unlike any seen before. French Cinema IV
The Concert (2009) will be shown on Thursday, October 25, 7pm at the Russell Library. This Russian film, directed by Radu Mihaileanu, is about Andrei Simoniovich Filipov, the renowned conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra who was fired for hiring Jewish musicians. Now working as a janitor at the Bolshoi, he learns by accident that the Châtelet Theater in Paris invites the Bolshoi orchestra to play there. He decides to gather his former musicians and to perform in Paris in the place of the current Bolshoi orchestra. Andrei wants Anne-Marie Jacquet, a young violin virtuoso, to accompany his old Jewish or Gypsy musicians. If they all overcome the hardships ahead this very special concert will be a triumph. Russian Cinema IV
Poetry (Korean, 2010) will be shown on Thursday, November 1 at Wesleyan University Film Center. A sixty-something woman, faced with the discovery of a heinous family crime and in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, finds strength and purpose when she enrolls in a poetry class. Korean Films IV
Dancing Dreams (German, 2010) at Wesleyan University Film Center on November 8. How to describe the dance Pina Bausch? The special choreographic style is already fabulous in itself, but it is even more exciting to discover through the eyes of these young teenagers taking their first steps along with the audience. Each of these aspiring dancers reacts in their own way, some with humor and relaxation, some with apprehension and excitement. You feel in sync with them, the heart beating before coming on stage, the shortness of breath in the first minute of representation, the tears rising in moments of grace. The film creates emotion through movement, gesture, and the body speaking. This film is truly a small miracle.
As It Is in Heaven (Swedish, 2004) at Russell Library on November 15. A successful international conductor suddenly interrupts his career and returns alone to his childhood village in Norrland, in the far north of Sweden.It doesn't take long before he is asked to come and listen to the fragment of a church choir. He can't say no, and from that moment, nothing in the village is the same again. The choir develops and grows. He makes both friends and enemies. And he finds love.
This film series is funded by a grant from the Middletown Commission on the Arts and generous support from the Friends of the Russell Library, gener8or communications / Moving Pictures, the Haddad Family, and many individuals.
BOY - Taika Waititi, Director, New Zealand, 2010, 87 min.
Cherry Blossoms - Doris Dorrie, Director, Germany, 2008, 127 min.
Departures - Yojiro Takita, Director, Japan, 2008, 130 min.
Undertow - Javier Fuentes-Leon, Director, Peru, 2009, 100 min.
We Still Live Here - Anne Makepeace, Director, Native American, 2010, 82 min.
The Italian - Andrey Kravchuk, Director, Russia, 2005, 90 min.
Sin Nombre - Honduran/Mexican
Kaadhal - South Indian/Tamil
Yesterday - South African
My Best Friend - French
The Cave of the Yellow Dog - Mongolian
Reel Injun - Native American
Under the Same Moon - Latino
Offside - Iranian
Chungking Express - East Asian
Dance Me Outside and 4 shorts by local directors - First Nations/Native American
Golden Door - Italian
Everything is Illuminated - Ukranianian
Common Ground International Film Festival is made possible through a grant from the Middlesex County Community Foundation.