Thursday, April 10, 2008

May Films at the High

7th Annual Film Festival of India Returns;
Special Spotlight Series Features Academy Award–Winner Javier Bardem

Summer films kick off at the High in May with two series: the seventh annual Film Festival of India and Starring Javier Bardem. Both series feature multiple critically acclaimed foreign films, including Indian festival opener “The Voyeurs,” whose director Buddhadev Dasgupta won seven international awards for his work. Javier Bardem, the featured actor of the second spotlight film series, has been nominated for nearly 80 awards and won over 50, including last year’s Best Supporting Actor Oscar for “No Country for Old Men.”

Co-sponsored by the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce and the Indo-American Film Society, the Film Festival of India, featuring five films, will run from May 9 through 31. Starring Javier Bardem, with four films, begins May 3 and continues through June 26.

“The Film Festival of India brings outstanding alternative Indian cinema to Atlanta audiences. The films we’ll be presenting are not Bollywood spectaculars, but the Indian counterpart of American indie cinema—thoughtful, off-beat and provocative,” said Linda Dubler, the High’s Curator of Media Arts. “We have showcased Javier Bardem’s performances over the years, but with his recent Oscar win for ’No Country for Old Men,’ it seemed like an ideal time to create a festival around his brilliant work.”

Film Festival of India
This series begins on Friday, May 9, with “The Voyeurs,” a story about two country boys trying to make it in the city. Dilip and Yasim are surveillance-camera installers who take it too far when Dilip starts spying on his beautiful neighbor, a dancer named Rekha. Director Buddhadev Dasgupta tenderly tells Dilip’s story while also critiquing the modern culture of surveillance and fear.

On Saturday, May 10, the festival continues with “Before the Rains.” In 1937 India, Henry Moores has begun building a road to his spice plantation. With his right-hand man T.K. running construction, Henry begins romancing his married housekeeper Sajani. The relationship sparks a series of tragic events stemming from the community’s outrage and the arrival of Moores’ wife and son from England.

“The Eclipse,” showing on Friday, May 16, won director Mohan Krishna Indraganti top honors for a debut film at the 2005 Indian National Film Awards. Based on a story by Telugu writer G.V. Chalam, the film focuses on how superstition, mysticism and misogyny affect its central characters: Saradamba, the generous wife of a village landowner, and Kanakayya, the teenaged boy she has taken under her wing.

On Saturday, May 17, Josh Hamilton stars in “Outsourced,” a story focusing on Todd, whose Seattle-based company shuts down their call center and outsources the work to India. Culture shock ensues on both sides, and while Todd adjusts to village life outside Mumbai with the help of co-worker Asha, his new trainees contemplate the products they are meant to sell: ceramic American eagles and Wisconsin cheese-head hats.

The final film, “Amal,” (pictured) will show on Saturday, May 31. This fable-like movie centers on a generous-hearted auto-rickshaw driver named Amal who fortuitously picks up a cranky, homeless old man. The man turns out to be anything but homeless and wills his estate to the humble driver. The events that follow come together in a morality tale about the best and worst of human nature. (photo credit: “Amal, 2007”)

Starring Javier Bardem
“Before Night Falls” opens this series on Thursday, May 3. A skillful retelling of Reinaldo Arenas’ memoir, Julian Schnabel’s second film focuses on the Cuban writer’s life from childhood in revolutionary Cuba through his death of AIDS in 1990s Manhattan. With heavy focus on visual cues that describe the stages of Arenas’ life, the film garnered eleven awards including four high honors at the Venice Film Festival in 2001. This film is not appropriate for children.

On Thursday, May 22, the series continues with “Live Flesh,” a vibrant film by Pedro Almodóvar. Police officer David and his junkie-turned-housewife Elena are at the center of this gripping story, in which past indiscretions come back to haunt the couple and push the limits of their love. In her 1997 “New York Times” review, Janet Maslin praised the ensemble cast, saying that each character “is depicted with sharp, lively precision.” This film is not appropriate for children.

Thursday, June 19, brings “The Sea Inside,” 2005’s Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film. Having endured 28 years of paralysis, Ramón Sampedro is petitioning for the right to euthanize himself. Sampedro’s relationships with family, a lawyer and a young neighborhood mother stand out in the story, bringing to the table diverse ideas of what it means to live. Roger Ebert called Bardem’s performance full of “charm and masculine force” in his 2004 review.

The final film is “Mondays in the Sun” on Thursday, June 26. A Spanish shipyard closes down, and five friends find themselves with nothing. Even, or perhaps especially, their self-esteem has left them in a lurch. The feeling of being at a dead end permeates the film, which won five out of eight Goya awards in 2003, including Best Film. Bardem picked up seven international awards for his performance as Santa, the most rebellious and reckless of the group.

Film Series Schedule
All films are screened in the Richard H. Rich Theatre, located in the Memorial Arts Building, adjacent to the High at Peachtree and 15th Streets in midtown Atlanta. All films are screened at 8 p.m. in the Rich Theatre unless otherwise noted.

Film Festival of India
“The Voyeurs”
Friday, May 9
(India, 2007, 115 minutes)
In Bengali with subtitles

“Before the Rains”
Saturday, May 10
(U.S., 2007, 98 minutes)
In English and Malayalam with subtitles

“The Eclipse”
Friday, May 16
(India, 2004, 96 minutes)
In Telugu with subtitles

Saturday, May 17
(U.S., 2006, 98 minutes)
In English and Hindi with subtitles

Saturday, May 31
(Canada, 2007, 101 minutes)In English and Hindi with subtitles
Starring Javier Bardem
“Before Night Falls”
Thursday, May 8
(U.S., 2000, 133 minutes)
In English, Spanish, French and Russian with subtitles

“Live Flesh”
Thursday, May 22
(Spain/France, 1997, 103 minutes)
In Spanish with subtitles

“The Sea Inside”
Thursday, June 19
(Spain/France/Italy, 2004, 125 minutes)
In Spanish, Catalan and Galician with subtitles

“Mondays in the Sun”
Thursday, June 26
(Spain/France/Italy, 2002, 113 minutes)
In Spanish with subtitles.

The seventh Film Festival of India is co-sponsored by the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce and the Indo-American Film Society. 35mm projection facilities in the Rich Auditorium were provided by a gift from George Lefont.

$5 for the public and $4 for Museum members, students and seniors through May 31; $7 for the public and $6 for Museum members, students and seniors beginning June 1. Patron-level members enter free. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at, by visiting the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office or by calling 404-733-5000. Tickets also may be purchased at the door on the night of the screening. Phone and internet orders will incur a $1-per-ticket service fee.

The public may call the High’s film hotline at 404-733-4570 for up-to-the-minute information about visiting directors, receptions, changes or cancellations and for a free subscription to the quarterly film calendar. The Museum’s website is

Ticketing information:
To allow us to continue showing the best films from around the world, film ticket prices will increase beginning June 1, 2008. New prices will be $7 general admission, $6 students, seniors and Museum members. Free for patron-level members.

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