FILMS AS DIVERSE AS OUR CITY
by Sarah Gish | www.gishcreative.com
We are the most diverse city in the country so it makes sense that the films served up are as diverse as our citizens. The variety of choices doesn’t quite match the ninety languages spoken in this wild and wooly city every day but almost. Just over the past few years, you could see films like “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” (Japan); “The Amazing Catfish” (Mexico); “The Island President” (Maldives Islands); and “Virgin Margarida” (Mozambique). We have spots that show foreign films on a regular basis and we have a variety of film festivals representing various cultures. To understand it all, you’ll need a road map to get you there. Consider me your tour guide.
The fun of exploring the diversity of films in Houston is that you not only can see authentic films from around the world, but you can also experience the culture through food and events as well as the people attending those events. Several organizations that offer these kinds of programs also host regular movie nights at their venues including the Czech Center Museum Houston (www.czechcenter.org); L’Alliance de Française Houston, Inc. (www.alliancefrancaise.org); the Italian Cultural & Community Center (www.iccchouston. com); and the Russian Cultural Center (www.ourtx.org). You can catch Bollywood Films at Funasia (www.funasia.net/index.php), a variety of foreign films at Asia Society Texas Center (www.asiasociety.org/texas) and the occasional African (not just African American) film at the Houston Museum of African American Culture (www.hmaac.org).
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (www.mfah.org) is home to a dizzying number of annual foreign film festivals each year, many of which are organized in part or all by Marian Luntz, the Museum’s curator of film and video. The Iranian Film Festival (www.mfah.org/films/series/10/) is the Museum’s longest-running festival and will be onscreen January 22–23 and January 29–30 as well as at the Asia Society Texas Center on February 4 and at Rice Cinema (www.film.rice.edu/Events.aspx) February 5–6. L’Alliance de Française Houston, Inc. is co-presenting “Five Funny French Films” with the MFAH from March 4–6 and “Latin Wave: New Films from Latin America” will be there from April 28–May 1. The Houston Palestine Film Festival (www.hpff.org) will open up at the MFAH on May 13 and then films will be screened at the Museum and at Rice Cinema. And, finally, the Turkish Film Festival will hit the Museum sometime in October.
The Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center (www.erjcchouston.org) presents several film programs each year – the Houston Jewish Film Festival (March 5–20); the “Summer Israeli Film Series” with the Consulate of Israel; and a film series during the Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Fair each November. On other screens around town there will be the Indian Film Festival of Houston (www.iffhinc.org) (dates tbd); the Houston Asian American Pacific Islander Film Festival (www.haapiff.org) (probably in June); and “Senorita Cinema” (www.senoritacinema.com) (dates tbd). And, finally, I would be remiss in not mentioning that many of our arthouse theatres regularly present foreign film fare so keep an eye out for those year-round at the Landmark River Oaks Theatre, Rice Cinema, Sundance Cinemas Houston, 14 Pews and the Aurora Picture Show.
WANT TO SEE MORE ART FILMS?
CHECK OUT THESE VENUES
14 Pews (www.14pews.org)
Alamo Drafthouse (www.drafthouse.com)
Asia Society (www.asiasociety.org/texas)
Aurora Picture Show (www.aurorapictureshow.org)
Blaffer Art Museum (www.blafferartmuseum.org)
Café Brasil (www.cafe-brasil.net)
Contemporary Arts Museum (www.camh.org)
Discovery Green (www.discoverygreen.com)
Holocaust Museum (www.hmh.org)
Jewish Community Center (www.erjcchouston.org)
Landmark River Oaks Theatre (www.landmarktheatres.com)
Menil Collection (www.menil.org)
Miller Outdoor Theatre (www.milleroutdoortheatre.com)
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (www.mfah.org/films)
Orange Show (www.orangeshow.org)
Rice Cinema (www.ricecinema.rice.edu)
Sundance Cinemas (www.sundancecinemas.com)