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Film festivals heat up around New England

“Cool Hand Luke” will screen at the Coolidge Corner Theatre as part of its Big Screen Classic series. Warner Brothers-Seven Arts

The area’s repertory houses and regional film festivals are a haven from the onslaught of the Hollywood summer blockbusters. From Shakespeare to Fritz Lang to the Roxbury International Film Festival, there’s no shortage of quality offerings in Boston this season. For those itching to travel, festivals from Cape Cod to Maine make great destinations for film buffs.

ArtsEmerson: The World on Stage presents the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Live from Stratford-Upon-Avon film series May 16 to Sept. 21. Included are productions of “Richard II” (May 16-18); “Henry IV, Part I” (June 27-29); “Henry IV, Part II” (July 18-20); and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” (Sept. 19-21). Screenings take place at the Emerson/Paramount Center’s Bright Family Screening Room. For more information, go to


If that isn’t enough Shakespeare for you, check out the Brattle Theatre’s new digital restoration of Orson Welles’s “Othello” running June 27-30. Welles directed and stars in this 1952 adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragic tale of jealousy and betrayal in the royal courts of Venice. The film was famously fraught with troubles that led Welles to suspend filming several times. But it went on to win the Palme d’Or in Cannes in 1952. For more information go to

The Roxbury International Film Festival will feature “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne.”Roxbury International Film Festival/Courtesy of the Roxbury International Film Festival

The 16th annual Roxbury International Film Festival runs June 25-29, at the Museum of Fine Arts with the exception of “Dinner and a Movie” at the Haley House Bakery Cafe on June 27 at 6:30 p.m. The fest opens with “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne,” a documentary about the 83-year-old convicted jewel thief. “The Halls,” directed by Miranda Craigwell, tells the stories of three young Boston men navigating relationships and identity issues. “Throwback Friday” presents a reprise screening of the Boston-filmed “Lift,” starring Kerry Washington in one of her earliest big-screen roles. For more information, go to


Also at the MFA is “The Limitless Possibilities of Black and White” (June 4-22), a series that explores 10 American directors who made a the choice to film in black and white from 1967 to the present. Titles include “Lenny,” “Raging Bull,” and “Much Ado About Nothing.” The 19th annual Boston French Film Festival returns July 10-27. Included in this year’s program is Philippe Garrel’s moody love story “Jealousy”; Michel Gondry’s bittersweet romance “Mood Indigo”; Katell Quillevere’s family drama “Suzanne”; and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi’s semi-autobiographical meditation on love and death “A Castle in Italy.” For more information, go to

Cinema Jukebox is a new series at the Coolidge Corner Theatre that brings musical films to the big screen. The lineup includes “Dirty Dancing” (May 26); “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” (June 16); the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ 1964 classic “A Hard Day’s Night” (July 7); and “Nashville” (Aug. 25). Meanwhile the popular Big Screen Classics series continues with “Boyz n the Hood” (June 9), “On the Waterfront” (June 23), “Roman Holiday” (June 30), “Blazing Saddles” (July 14), “The Wizard of Oz” (July 21), “Point Blank” (July 28), “Cool Hand Luke” (Aug. 4), “Thelma and Louise” (Aug. 11), “The Big Lebowski” (Aug. 18), and “Jaws” (Sept. 1). For more information, go to

Billed as the only film festival in the United States that focuses specifically on bicycle travel, the fifth annual Ciclismo Classico Bike Travel Film Festival, a benefit for MassBike, screens international films on May 28 at the Regent Theatre in Arlington. For more information, go to


Look for a complete Fritz Lang retrospective at the Harvard Film Archive, July 18-Sept. 8. The series will include the Austrian-born director’s silent and talkie films made in Germany before he fled the Nazis, as well as Hollywood film noir classics like “Fury” (1936) and “The Woman in the Window” (1944). For more information, go to

The destination festival season starts with the ninth annual Berkshire International Film Festival (May 29-June 1). The event opens with the East Coast premiere of “May in the Summer,” about the clash of cultures, traditions, and family in Amman, Jordan. Films screen at the Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington and the Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield. For more information, go to

The Provincetown International Film Festival celebrates its 16th year June 17-23. David Cronenberg is this year’s Filmmaker on the Edge, the annual award (presented by John Waters) that in years past has brought moviemakers including Darren Aronofsky, Gus Van Sant, and Todd Haynes to the tip of the Cape. There’s a Cronenberg double bill of “Videodrome” and “The Fly”on June 19 at the Wellfleet Drive-in. For more information, go to

The 19th edition of the Nantucket Film Festival, running June 25-30, opens with “The Skeleton Twin,” starring “Saturday Night Live” alums Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig as estranged siblings. Other highlights include Steve James’s documentary “Life Itself,” about the late Roger Ebert, and Angus MacLachlan’s comedy “Goodbye to All That,” about divorce and new beginnings, starring Paul Schneider and Melanie Lynskey. Aaron Sorkin gets the Screenwriters Tribute Award on June 28. For more information, go to


NewportFILM offers its annual summer series of documentaries, running June 24-Sept. 4, including several that screen outdoors at sunset. All screenings, open to the public for a suggested $5 donation, are followed by talks with filmmakers. Films include this year’s Sundance Film Festival Audience Award winner, “Alive Inside”; “The Battered Bastards of Baseball”; and “Last Days in Vietnam,” Rory Kennedy’s chronicle of the US withdrawal from Saigon in the final weeks of the Vietnam War. For more information, go to

The 17th annual Maine International Film Festival, held July 11-20 in Waterville, showcases American independent and international films, visits from Maine and New England filmmakers, children’s films, and events for teens. For more information, go to

The 23d Woods Hole Film Festival, the oldest festival on Cape Cod and the Islands, runs July 26-Aug. 2, with dozens of films from around the world, visiting filmmakers, and workshops. For more information, go to

The Rhode Island International Film Festival, celebrating its 18th year Aug. 5-10, is one of only 19 events worldwide that is a qualifying festival for the dramatic and documentary short film categories of the Academy Awards. For more information go to

The scenic setting of the Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival (Sept. 4-7) offers a host of international films and special guests. For more information go to


Loren King can be reached at