Foreign Film Week at Varsity Theatre

The Varsity Foreign Film Week opens on Friday, Sept. 26, and will run through Thursday, Oct. 2. Six award-winning films will be featured.

"Mongol," from Kazakhstan, was an Academy Award nominee for best foreign language film. It is a historic epic by Russian filmmaker Sergi Bodrov ("Prisoner of the Mountains"), which is based on scholarly accounts and captures the life and legend of Genghis Khan.

"Times and Winds," from Turkey, won the Golden Tulip for best picture in the Istanbul International Film Festival. The film, directed by Reha Erdam, is set in a poor village where three children grow into adolescence with all its attendant conflicts. Rebelling against age-old customs, they yearn for lives far different from the ones they are leading.

"Wonderful Town," from Thailand, was selected for the Tiger Award for best film and won the Rotterdam Film Festival New Currents Award. It's a sensitive love story set against the devastating 2004 tsunami in the rural town of Takua Pa, near the coast of southern Thailand.

Norway's "Reprise" won the Discovery Award and the Toronto International Film Festival best film, direction and screenplay awards. This is a whimsical, intelligent reflection on friendship and youthful exuberance as filmmaker Joachiam Trier employs flashbacks, flash-forwards and a visual flourish reminiscent of the French New Wave cinema.

"Beaufort," from Israel, directed by Joseph Cedar, was the Academy Award nominee for best foreign language film, and the Silver Bear winner for best director at the Berlin International Film Festival. It is a harrowing account of Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon and the Beaufort Mountain fortress.

From the Czech Republic comes "I Served the King of England," which was the official selection for the best foreign language film at the Academy Awards. Directed by Jiri Menzel, based on the book by Bohunil Hrabal, it is a film of bittersweet redemption for a man released from jail after having collaborated with the Germans during World War II.

Advance tickets and a schedule of films are available at the Varsity Theatre box office, Ashland. Student/senior season tickets cost $25; general season tickets, $35. Seating will be on a first-come, first-seated basis and there will be no bargain matinee pricing.

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