Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival gives foreign movies their day in the sun
Spring is usually a tough time for movie lovers, as the major studios go into their post-Oscar hibernation, and clear out their basements of new releases before summer blockbuster season. Oddly enough, this makes it the perfect time for film festivals -- turning over some space on the marquee to foreign films, documentaries and independent movies.
One of Pittsburgh's most unusual and consistently interesting film festivals begins this weekend -- the Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival. This year's theme is "Faces of Globalization."
"The theme is usually a pretext to find new, interesting films from different countries, and touching important issues," says festival organizer Jolanta Lion. "What we know about globalization is that the world is becoming unified, regarding the economy, but not always regarding the cultures."
Globalization, of course, is a fairly broad concept, encompassing a wide range of subject matter. Featured movies range from the post-apocalyptic climate-change fable "The Age of Stupid" on opening night, to the engrossing documentary "Pray the Devil Back to Hell," about the Liberian women's movement that helped stop a bloody, intractable war in West Africa. There's also "Afghan Star," about an "American Idol"-style competition in Afghanistan, where the singers put their lives at risk by singing in public.
Another highlight is "Mid-August Lunch," an Italian film about food and family.
"It's a lovely story of a 50-something man in Italy who is taking care of his 90-year-old mom," Lion says. "He doesn't work, he can barely pay the rent, and is constantly making food. And drinking. His colleagues want to (visit) for a weekend, and they have the same occupation -- they also take care of their moms. I've heard from Italian guys that half of Italy lives that way. There's just a great dynamic between the characters in the film. They are eating, talking, coming to life by being together.
"The guy who directed the movie (Gianni DiGregorio) wrote the script for 'Gomorrah.' He started very late in life -- he's over 50 now. When he started to make his own film, he got his film people around him, and said, 'I'm looking for the character of the film -- an alcoholic loser who doesn't know what to do with his life, just living with his mom.' He says that then all eyes looked at him. (DiGregorio) is also the lead actor in the film."
The festival continues through April 24. Most screenings will feature introductions and panel discussions afterward, hosted primarily by CMU or University of Pittsburgh professors.
This year's festival also will showcase a student short film competition, featuring entries from all over the world. The winner -- who will receive $1,000 -- will be announced on opening night. There will be a screening of the entries at the Future Tenant art gallery Downtown on April 11.
• "The Age of Stupid" (Great Britain 2009): 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Melwood Screening Room, Oakland. Opening night reception: $15, or $10 for students. With Indian and Middle Eastern food from the East End Food Co-op, and Bio-Dynamic wine.
• "The Wondrous World of Laundry" (Germany, 2009): 7:15 p.m. Friday, Melwood Screening Room
• "Pray the Devil Back to Hell" (Liberia, 2008): 7:15 p.m. Friday, Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, East Liberty. With a performance by members of Abafasi, a traditional African percussion group, and African food.
• "Afghan Star" (Great Britain/Afghanistan, 2009): 5:15 p.m. Saturday, Melwood Screening Room
• "Weaving Girl" (China, 2009): 7:15 p.m. Saturday, Melwood Screening Room
• "Mid-August Lunch" (Italy, 2009): 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Regent Square Theater. With a reception featuring wine and food from local Italian restaurants, serving dishes featured in the film.Additional Information:
Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival
When: Thursday through April 24
Admission: $7; $4 for students. Full access festival pass (14 films), $40; $20 for students.
Where: Melwood Screening Room, Oakland; Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, East Liberty; Regent Square Theater
Details: Web site
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Abercrombie name to shrink from clothing
- Steelers wrap lackluster preseason with loss to Panthers
- Electrical problem sparks fire
- Sex offender held for court in address registration case
- Kittanning razes condemned homes it bought at tax sale
- Valley girls building winning mentality
- Study: Foreign students often flee
- LaBar: Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts reportedly hospitalized
- Students, ALS win when Shannock Valley principal takes Ice Bucket Challenge
- Steelers notebook: Safety Mitchell faces former team, hurts leg
- 10 awesome things you didn’t know your phone could do