Impressive new films from renowned directors François Ozon of France and Italy’s Taviani brothers are the coups in Belmont World Film’s 12th annual international film series, running Mondays at 7:30 p.m. from March 11 through April 29 at the Studio Cinema in Belmont (376 Trapelo Road). This year’s theme is “Found in Translation,” as the fest celebrates eight international films, many of them US or area premieres, that deal with multiculturalism and/or feature multiple languages.
The fest’s closing feature, “In the House” (Dans la maison), is arguably Ozon’s best film since “The Swimming Pool” in 2003. Like that film, “In the House” is a seductive, psychologically dark and sometimes subversively funny drama about an older character’s infatuation with a younger one. Literature teacher and failed novelist Germain (Fabrice Luchini, from Ozon’s “Potiche”) becomes vicariously involved in his student Claude’s (Ernst Umhauer) intimate writings, leading to a blurring of reality and fiction. As usual with Ozon, there are hints of homoeroticism amid the danger and mystery. Emmanuelle Seigner and, particularly, Kristin Scott Thomas deliver memorable supporting performances.
The series opens Monday with the New England premiere of “Chinese Take-Away,” a 2011 Argentine comedy about the surly owner of a small hardware store in Buenos Aires whose quiet life becomes entangled in surprising ways with that of a Chinese stranger named Jun (Ignacio Huang). Written and directed by Sebastián Borensztein, it stars acclaimed Argentine actor Ricardo Darín (“The Secret in Their Eyes”). All films in the series will feature post-film discussions, performances, and/or appropriate cuisine.
Paolo and Vittorio Taviani went inside a high-security prison in Rome to film inmates in an acting program as they rehearse and eventually perform Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.” The film, “Caesar Must Die” (March 18), shot largely in black and white and combining explosive material and setting, earned the Golden Bear award at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival and was Italy’s entry for the best foreign film Oscar, but didn’t make the short list. Peter Keough, film critic at the Phoenix, will lead the post-screening discussion.
Other notable titles in the festival include the East Coast premiere on April 1 of France’s “Queen of Montreuil,” a bittersweet comedy directed by Sólveig Anspach about a young woman who pursues her dream to be a film director after her husband dies unexpectedly. Boston Society of Film Critics president Tom Meek will be on hand to discuss the film. “Beauty” (April 8), directed by Daniela Seggiaro of Argentina, is about a young girl who breaks with the cultural traditions of her Wichi tribe in north Argentina. “The Dead and the Living” (April 15), directed by Barbara Albert, is about a young German woman who investigates her family’s past during World War II. Igor Lukes, professor of international relations and history at Boston University, will speak after the screening. In “Istanbul My Dream” (April 22) by Ferenc Török, Dutch actress Johanna ter Steege (“The Vanishing”) plays a Hungarian who is left by her husband of 30 years and copes with the jolt by hitchhiking her way to Istanbul.
For more information, visit www.belmontworldfilm.org or call 617-484-3980.
Beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday, South Korean filmmaker Seung-Jun Yi will engage in a Skype question-and-answer session after the screening of his documentary “Planet of Snail,” the latest entry in the Brattle Theatre’s DocYard series. Also screening is “Into the Middle of Nowhere,” a short film by Anna Frances Ewert.
For additional info on the DocYard series, go to www.thedoc
Film editing fellow named
Jim Hession, a Tufts University graduate and the co-editor of the HBO documentary “Maria Abramovic: The Artist Is Present,” will receive the third annual Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship on Tuesday at the SXSW Film Festival awards ceremony in Austin, Texas. Schmeer, who was a Boston University grad and worked in Boston for most of her film editing career, had among her many credits Errol Morris’s “The Fog of War” and “Fast, Cheap and Our of Control,” and Liz Garbus’s “Bobby Fischer Against the World.” Schmeer, 39, was killed by a hit and run driver in New York in 2010. The yearlong fellowship in her name aims to foster the development of an emerging documentary film editor.
For more information, visit www.karenschmeer.com.
For 19 years, the dedicated area film mavens who make up the Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film have honored indie films and filmmakers at an annual awards event. On Sunday, March 17, the group will honor actor Christopher Abbott (“Hello, I Must Be Going”) with its Breakout Award. The ceremony, with Abbott scheduled to attend, takes place at 5 p.m. at the Brattle Theatre. Tickets are $20 ($15 for Chlotrudis and Brattle members) and can be purchased online at www.brattlefilm.org.
Time to experiment
Balagan, the independent screening series that brings experimental and undiscovered films and their makers to Boston audiences, is halfway to raising $5,000 on a Kickstarter fund-raising campaign that ends March 16. If you’re not familiar with the series, check out its next offering: “DIY Dystopia,” a program of short films by filmmakers that deal directly or interpretively with the physical process of environmental degradation. The screening is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Brattle Theatre. Films include “Landfill 16,” a nine-minute offering that its maker, Jennifer Reeves, describes in a director’s statement as “my anti-landfill film, an attempt to transform my 16mm outtakes/trash into a meditation on nature’s losing battle to decompose our discarded relics of abandoned technologies and productions.” Christina Battle contributes both the silent “Buffalo Lifts,” which she calls “a rumination on the fragility of these powerful masses in flight,” and the short “Oil Wells: Sturgeon Road & 97th Street.” The latter film, shot in the artist’s home province in Alberta, Canada, is a meditation on the rising and falling of an oil derrick in a prairie field.
To contribute to Balagan’s Kickstarter campaign, go to www.kickstarter.com/projects/911939745/balagan-film-series-2013. For more information on the series, go to www.balaganfilms.com.