Belmont World Films Opens 17th International Film Series Sunday, March 18

Photo: From the movie “The Workshop” which opens the 17th annual Belmont World Film’s 17th annual International Film Series.

Nine films from the world’s top international film festivals will premiere at Belmont World Film’s 17th annual International Film Series, which runs to May 14 at Belmont’s historic Studio Cinema, 376 Trapelo Rd.

Opening night on Sunday, March 18, at 7:30 p.m. features the New England premiere of The Workshop, (“L’ateliera”) by French director Laurent Cantet that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

After the festival’s opening screening, films take place mostly on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. All films are followed by thought-provoking discussions led by expert speakers and occasionally cultural performances. The opening and closing night films are preceded by dinner receptions featuring culturally-relevant cuisine at the theater.

This year’s series, “Bound by Beliefs,” features films that show how difficult it is to implement change in the face of long-held societal or community beliefs. All but one film is either a North American, East Coast or New England premiere and several are also their countries’ submissions to the Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film category. As in the last several years, a third of the films are directed by women. The festival also includes the most recent work by several well-known directors, including French director Laurent Cantet (Foxfire, The Class), Laurence Ferrerira Barbosa (Normal People Are Nothing Exceptional), and Tony Gatlif (Latcho Drom, Gadjo Dilo).

“We don’t have to look much farther than the Hollywood sexual harassment scandal to understand how long it takes or how hard it is to change the status quo,” says Belmont World Film Executive Director Ellen Gitelman. “The characters in each of the nine films are not always successful in standing up to their societies’ beliefs, and even when they are, it is often an uphill battle.”

The festival opener, The Workshop, takes place in the once bustling port town of La Ciotat on the Mediterranean where a group of young writers with multiple backgrounds is trying to reflect the town’s current rundown state in their group written thriller. The hostility and disturbing vision of one particular workshop participant soon alarm his peers and the instructor, a famous Parisian mystery writer. The screening is part of the Month of Francophonie sponsored by the French Consulate in Boston.

The rest of the line-up includes:

  • Monday, March 26: The Wound directed by John Trengrove (South Africa) New England premiere
  • Monday, April 2: All the Dreams in the World directed by Laurence Ferreira Barbosa (France, Portugal) North American premiere
  • Monday, April 9: Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts directed by Mouly Surya (Indonesia, France, Malaysia, Thailand) New England premiere
  • Sunday, April 16: Streaker directed by Peter Luisi (Switzerland) East Coast premiere
  • Monday, April 23: What Will People Say directed by Iram Haq (Norway, Germany, Sweden) East Coast premiere
  • Monday, April 30: Disappearance directed by Ali Asgari (Iran, Qatar)
  • Monday, May 7: Under the Tree directed by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson (Iceland) New England premiere
  • Monday, May 14: Djam directed by Tony Gatlif (France) North American premiere
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