MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Beginning June 12, the Middlebury College Language Schools will kick off their annual International Film Festival, which will feature one major film in each of the nine languages taught at the schools-Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

The films will be shown at Dana Auditorium in the Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125) from June 12 to Aug. 7. Film showings are at 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Saturdays. The films, which are all in color, are subtitled in English, and free and open to the public. Some of the films may be inappropriate for children. A schedule of the film festival is available on the College’s Web site at www.middlebury.edu/ls/film.

Filmgoers from the community are invited to participate in a film discussion after the 7 p.m. screening each week. The discussions will be conducted in English and will be closed to the language schools’ students because of the Language Pledge, a formal commitment to speak the language of study and no other for the entire summer session.

The films are selected to provide a wide variety of genres and themes that will appeal to a diverse audience. This year’s choices include a Palestinian production that depicts a woman forced to choose between marriage to a suitable husband or leaving her homeland, as well as a film that offers a definitive portrait of the dog-eat-dog capitalism of post-Soviet Russia as exemplified by a notorious entrepreneur, based on real-life billionaire Boris Berezovsky.

For more information, contact the Middlebury College Language Schools at 802-443-5510.

Middlebury College Language Schools

Friday, June 11, marks the beginning of the Middlebury College Language Schools’ summer sessions. This year, approximately 1,200 students will come to Middlebury throughout the summer to participate in the schools. During the course of the schools’ 89-year history, more than 38,000 students-including more than 11,000 advanced degree holders-have attended one or more of the language programs.

International Film Festival schedule:

Saturday, June 12:

7 p.m.

“Black Orpheus”

Brazil/France/Italy, 1959, color, 100 minutes

Directed by Marcel Camus

In Portuguese with English subtitles

This classic retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth is set in a slum in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival time. Winner of the 1960 Academy Award and the Palme d’Or at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival, this film introduced bossa nova music in the United States.

9:30 p.m.


Brazil, 1999, color, 110 minutes

Directed by Carlos Diegues

In Portuguese with English subtitles

Based on the play that inspired “Black Orpheus,” “Orfeu” features luscious colors and an infectious hip-hop score. This dynamic film never forgets that its explosions of beauty and creativity are defiant responses to an otherwise intolerable burden of poverty and grief.

Saturday, June 19: 7 and 9:30 p.m.

“Rana’s Wedding” [Al Qods Fee Yom Akhar]

Palestinian production, 2002, color, 90 minutes

Directed by Hany Abu-Assad

In Arabic with English subtitles

A young Palestinian woman living in Jerusalem is faced with an ultimatum: choose a husband from an approved list of eligible, respectable men, or leave East Jerusalem for an extended stay in Egypt. If she has not decided on a groom by 4 p.m., she will have to accompany her father to the airport. As film viewers learn, Rana has her own ideas. Winner of the Best Actress Award at the 2002 Marrakesh International Film Festival for Clara Khoury’s affecting performance, “Rana’s Wedding” premiered during the 2002 International Critics Week at Cannes.

Saturday, June 26: 7 and 9:30 p.m.

“Happy Times”

China, 2001, color, 106 minutes

Directed by Zhang Yimou

In Mandarin with English subtitles

This charming bittersweet comedy concerns an aging bachelor who must find a job for the teenage stepdaughter of his bossy fiancee. The stepdaughter is a blind masseuse. Posing as a big-shot entrepreneur, he enlists his friends to build a makeshift massage parlor in an abandoned warehouse with themselves as the only customers and make-believe paper money. New York Magazine called it “A gentle marvel.”

Saturday, July 3: 7 and 9:30 p.m.


Japan, 2002, color, 114 minutes

Directed by Takeshi Kitano

In Japanese with English subtitles

“Dolls,” the 10th and possibly most poetic film by Japanese director Takeshi Kitano, whose other films include “Sonatine” and “Fireworks,” focuses on three couples and the overpowering love that both drives and dooms them. The film is inspired by the beauty of traditional Japanese Bunraku puppet theater and is exquisitely shot in the colors of all four seasons with immaculate and eye-popping costumes by Yohji Yamamoto. “Dolls” premiered at the 2002 Venice Film Festival and was also screened at the Toronto, London and Pusan Film Festivals.

Saturday, July 10: 7 and 9:30 p.m.

“Man on the Train” [L’Homme du train]

France/Germany/United Kingdom/Switzerland, 2002, color, 90 minutes

Directed by Patrice Leconte

In French with English subtitles

A bank robber and a retired poetry teacher are not two people who would necessarily be expected to share the same space, but an unlikely encounter occurs when the robber accepts the teacher’s offer of shelter. This film explores the friendship that develops between these two men as they ponder what would have happened in their lives if each had taken the other’s path.

Saturday, July 17: 7 and 9:30 p.m.

“The Longing” [Das Verlangen]

Directed by Iain Dilthey

Germany, 2002, color, 95 minutes

In German with English subtitles

“The Longing” tells the story of Lena, a minister’s wife, who lives with her tyrant of a husband, Johannes, in a loveless marriage. The mysterious murder of a village girl suddenly knocks Lena’s humdrum existence off its tracks. In the wake of these events Lena discovers the affection and tenderness for which she has always longed in Paul, the village mechanic. This encounter is the start of an emancipation that leads her not to reveal Paul’s secret regarding the girl’s murder,

for fear of losing her newly won happiness. This screening was made possible with the support of the German Film Academy.

Saturday, July 24: 7 and 9:30 p.m.


Argentina/Spain, 2002, color, 105 minutes

Directed by Marcelo Piñeyro

In Spanish and Swahili with English subtitles

Ten-year-old Harry’s life is disrupted when his dissident parents flee the country after the 1976 coup in Argentina. To protect Harry and his sister, they decide to leave the children with their grandparents. When the moment comes to say goodbye, his parents leave Harry their favorite board game, a contest of war tactics. The rules of the game conceal a secret that only Harry will discover and which will help him hold out until the situation in Argentina improves.

Saturday, July 31: 7 and 9:30 p.m.


Italy/France, 2002, color, 90 minutes

Directed by Emanuele Crialese

In Italian with English subtitles

In this award-winning film based on a Sicilian fable, a beautiful and free-spirited young mother living on a small island excites the disapproval of her fellow villagers with her carefree behavior. A poem on the endurance of love and family, “Respiro” brings to mind the neo-realism of early Visconti, the surreal subjectivity of Fellini, and the neurotic madonnas of Antonioni.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called “Respiro” “A triumph!”

Saturday, August 7: 7 and 9:30 p.m.

“Tycoon” [Oligarkh]

Russia/France/Germany, 2002, color, 128 minutes

Directed by Pavel Lungin

In Russian with English subtitles

From the director of “Taxi Blues” comes this portrait of the primitive dog-eat-dog capitalism of post-Soviet Russia as exemplified by an extraordinary and notorious entrepreneur. This much-talked-about film was based on real-life billionaire Boris Berezovsky, and serves as an epic biography whose flawed, titanic protagonist embodies the spirit of his age. The director was a visiting artist at the Middlebury College Russian School in the summer of 2002. Stephen Holden of The New York Times called it “A cinematic newspaper whose alarming headlines cry out not to be ignored.”

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