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Westfield Memorial Library Hosts Summer Foreign Film Festival

Roz Giuditta

Monday, June 9, 2014 • 1:52pm

The Westfield Memorial Library is pleased to present the Summer Foreign Film Festival which runs from June 23 through August 11. All films are shown on Mondays at 2:00 and 6:30 p.m. at the library, 550 East Broad Street.

The series kicks off with a film in Spanish called Son of the Bride on June 23, which runs for 123 minutes. This magnificent Argentinean film centers on Rafael (Ricardo Darín), a restaurateur whose life is becoming a knot of stress and failing relationships.

When his father, Nino (Héctor Alterio), decides that after 44 years of marriage he wants to give his wife, Norma (Norma Aleandro), the church wedding she always wanted, Rafael scoffs; Norma has advanced Alzheimer's and doesn't recognize where she is or who's around her.

After Rafael has a heart attack, he realizes he has to change his life--but when he makes changes, he discovers how much of his life he'd been taking for granted, and that he may have cast aside the very things he seeks. Son of the Bride is smartly and richly written, directed with generosity and precision, and full of astonishingly full performances.

Philomena, an English movie that runs 98 minutes and stars Judi Dench, will be shown on July 14. When Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) became pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, she was sent to the convent to be looked after as a fallen woman. She cared for her baby for three years until the Church took him from her and sold him, like countless others, to America for adoption.

Coerced into signing a document promising never to attempt to see her child again, she nonetheless spent the next fifty years secretly searching for him, unaware that he was searching for her from across the Atlantic.

Next the library will show Barbara, a German film that runs 105 minutes on July 21. It takes place in East Germany in 1980 and tells the story of Barbara Wolff, a young doctor who has applied for an exit visa from the GDR. As punishment, she has been transferred from her prestigious post in Berlin to a small pediatric hospital in the country. She must weigh her absolute dedication to her patients against a potential escape to the West, and her newfound attraction to a doctor in whom she sees a kindred spirit.

On July 28, a Danish film called The Hunt that runs 111 minutes, will be shown. It is a disturbing depiction of how a lie is taken as truth when gossip, doubt and malice are allowed to flourish and ignite a witch-hunt that soon threatens to destroy an innocent man's life.

Lucas is just starting to get his life back together after losing his job and facing a difficult divorce, when his life is shattered by an untruthful remark throwing his small community into a collective state of hysteria. As the lie spreads, Lucas is forced to fight a lonely battle for his life and dignity.

Caesar Must Die, an Italian film that runs 76 minutes, will be shown on August 4. As part of a rehabilitative prison program, inmates at a high-security prison in Rome prepare for a public performance of Shakespeare's ''Julius Caesar.” As they rehearse, the prisoners, many of whom are long termers and lifers for serious crimes, find that the classic play has both a striking resonance and contrast to their confined lives.

The final film in the series, which will be shown on August 11 and runs for 98 minutes, is an Arabic language film called Wadjda. The first film led by a female director and set entirely in Saudi Arabia, Wadjda tells the story of a ten-year-old girl who challenges her country's traditions.

Captivated by a green bike that she desperately wants, Wadjda embarks upon some money making schemes of her own that fail. So she enters her school’s Koran memorization contest to win the prize money. This is unheard of for a mere girl.

All excerpts are from Amazon.com. The films are free and open to the public.

Founded in 1879, the Westfield Memorial Library—the community’s destination for discovery and ideas—engages minds, entertains spirits and facilitates lifelong learning for people of all ages. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and closed on Sunday until September 21.

For more information call 908.789.4090, visit the library’s website at www.wmlnj.org, and sign up for the monthly e-newsletter “Library Loop,” or stop by the library at 550 East Broad Street for a copy of the award-winning quarterly newsletter “Take Note.”

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