Belmont World Film’s ‘Disappearance’ Focus On Impossible Choices; Monday, April 30 [Trailer]

Photo:”Disappearance” Amir Reza Ranjbaran (left) and Sadaf Asgari.

A young couple’s relationship is tested through a long winter’s night of moral dilemmas and impossible choices in “Disappearance” (Napadid Shodan) Studio Cinema, 376 Trapelo Rd. The film is an Iranian/Qatari production in Persian with subtitles is presented as part of Belmont World Film’s 17 annual International Film Series.

The first feature from experienced shorts director Ali Asgari is a precisely crafted, modestly proportioned drama that draws out the wider political resonance from a tale of individual heartache.

Dr. Zahra Lotfi, a Middle Eastern Studies scholar who focuses on women’s issues, will be the night’s special speaker.

Belmont World Film’s International Festival Takes You To An Indonesia Spaghetti Western

Photo: A scene from “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts”

The Belmont World Film annual International Series presents the New England premier of the 2017 Indonesian film “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts” tonight, Monday, April 9 at Belmont’s Studio Cinema, 376 Trapelo Rd.

A witty and darkly subversive revenge movie about a young widow who turns the tables on her would-be attackers. Deeply rooted in the cultural and geopolitical landscapes of Indonesia, this eastern-style Spaghetti Western is also a welcome change from male-centric cinema culture.

The night’s guest speaker will be Veronika Kusumaryati, a native of Indonesia and a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology/Film and Visual Studies at Harvard.

For more information contact:
Belmont World Film
P.O. Box 104
Belmont, MA 02478
Telephone: 617-484-3980

Belmont World Series Presents ‘All the Dreams in the World’ on Monday, April 2

Photo: Pamela Ramos stars in “All the Dreams in the World”

The North American premiere of the France/Portugal film “All the Dreams in the World” (“Tous les rêves du monde”) will be screened on Monday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Belmont’s Studio Cinema376 Trapelo Rd., as part of the Belmont World Film 17th annual International Film Series.

Loosely inspired by renowned Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa’s poem, “I am nothing. I’ll never be anything. I couldn’t want to be something. Apart from that, I have in me all the dreams in the world,” the film portrays a teen living with her first-generation Portuguese parents in France is caught up in her contradictions, failures, and unconditional love for her family. After reconnecting with a childhood friend during her annual summer holiday in Portugal, she finds the courage to choose the path of freedom and the unknown.

Speakers include the film’s director Laurence Ferreira Barbosa and José Rui Velez Caroço, Consul General of Portugal in Boston.

The night is sponsored by the Boston Portuguese Festival and the Camoes Institute.

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

Belmont Studio Cinema Re-Opening May 22; Soup Eatery Tagging Along?

Photo: Studio Cinema in Belmont. 

Belmont’s historic Studio Cinema will be back open for business in two weeks.

“May 22 is when we get to do our magic, again,” said owner James Bramante after the Belmont Board of Selectmen awarded the long-time owner of the 96-year-old cinema a Motion Picture Exhibition License at its meeting, Monday, May 11. 

According to Belmont Town Administrator David Kale, Bramante has resolved all the issues pertaining to fire and building codes the had forced the closure of the nearly century-old building at 376 Trapelo Rd. in mid-January. 

With the license in hand, the one of the few remaining single-screen movie houses in the country is ready to celebrate it “official” opening on Friday, May 29 – with some cosmetic improvements such as new counter tops and video message boards – with, “hopefully,” said Bramante, the summer’s first romantic/comedy, “Aloha” with Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray and Alec Baldwin.


In addition to reopening the cinema, Bramante said he is in talks with an old friend who runs Spoodles Soup Factory in Foxboro to take over the store front adjacent to the cinema which was once home of Cafe Burrito. 

“He loves Belmont, the location and wants to expand here,” said Bramante of the lunch-time eatery that specializes in soups and wraps. 

‘Lights’, ‘Camera’ … Belmont’s Studio Cinema Returning to ‘Action’

Photo: The Studio Cinema in Belmont.

The interior lobby just got a recent coat of gray paint. The concession counter has a new top. There are LDC billboards hung on the wall displaying ticket prices and show times. And there are posters proclaiming coming attractions such as the 2015 Academy Awards winning film “Whiplash.”

Belmont’s 96-year-old movie palace, the venerable Studio Cinema, is ready for her latest close-up.

After closing just before the New Year and after months of speculation, owner Jim Bramante said the landmark on Trapelo Road will soon be back in business.

“I’m very close to being back in operation, in about a week or two,” Bramante told the Belmontonian on Wednesday, March 18.

For the past two-and-a-half months, the future of the building at 376 Trapelo Rd. was in doubt as Bramante and a handful of Belmont town departments including fire and inspectional services sought to resolve existing structural and safety issues at the century old building. In mid-January, the outlook for one of the few remaining single-screen movie houses in the country appeared bleak as the two sides came to an apparent impasse.

But Bramante said an agreement was reached in February and work has been progressing to allow the Studio to reopen.

“I’m waiting for another final inspection,” Bramante said, saying there had been a delay in getting the operation going “as there has not been a lot of coordinating within town departments.”

While the cinema is returning, the same can not be said for Cafe Burrito, Bramante’s Mexican-inspired storefront next door to the theater that opened in September 2012 serving “Mission-style” burritos and espresso drinks.

“After a great opening, business got slower and slower until the first of the year, I decided to just shut the door,” Bramante said, noting the business climate “has been one of the worst I’ve ever seen.”

Bramante has not yet decided what to do with the site.

BREAKING: Studio Cinema ‘Unlikely’ to Reopen as Theater

The co-owner of the Studio Cinema, the historic landmark in Belmont’s Central Square, said it was “unlikely” the town’s nearly century-old movie theater will be in the business of showing films if current tensions with town departments can not be resolved.

“I am trying very hard to reopen it but, as of now, it’s only about a 10 percent chance that that will happen,” James “Jim” Bramante – who is co-owner of the Studio with his brother, David – told the Belmontonian.

The Bramante brothers also own the popular multi-screen West Newton Cinema in Newton.

The Studio, at 376 Trapelo Rd., has been shut for the past two weeks and its website only informing residents and movie goers that the theater “is closed for technical problems until further notice please keep in touch.”

Those technical issues, according to Bramante, regard town regulations involving several departments including those related to the fire department’s annual inspection of the building.

Bramante would not go into details about the specific issues, only to say that town officials appear unwilling to give the operation “grandfather” status from new town regulations.

“I have real concerns that I can fulfill the obligations the town requires me to do and remain a viable business,” said Bramante.

Town officials are playing their cards close to the vest, only indicating that all departments are working collectively to resolve any remaining issues to allow the operation to open for business.

In fact, Bramante did apply to the Belmont Town Clerk’s Office last year for a business license to run a theater at the existing location.

But Bramante, who bought the theater in Belmont and West Newton with his brother 30 years ago due to their love of movies, said it all comes down to the money needed to make the repairs and upgrades.

“It always comes down to cost,” he said. “We try hard to make this a success, but it has always been an uphill battle,” said Bramante.

The theater is one of the rare remaining venues that was built to show silent films that has remained a single-screen operation in New England and the US. The building opened in 1919 as The Strand at the corner of Trapelo Road and Beech Street as the area surrounding Central Square was being developed into residential housing.

At the height of its popularity in 1941, the theater – with its new name the Studio – had 700 seats and was operated by the national chain, Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Bramante said he and his brother have not envisioned another use for the property – he said the building “is beautifully situated to remain a theater.”

“Right now we are working to find a reasonable solution but that’s hard to see coming,” he said.


Not The Last Picture Show: Studio Cinema Closed for ‘Touch Up’

This week, the marquee above the front door of the Studio Cinema, Belmont’s only movie theater, has been blank.

The doors to the cinema at the corner of Trapelo Road and Beech Street – which opened (as The Strand) to screen silent films 96 years ago – are shut and there is no activity from inside the lobby. Those online will discover a near empty web page with a cryptic note:

“The theater is closed for technical problems until further notice please keep in touch…..  Jim” it reads.

A flurry of comments began as residents and movie goers worried that the Studio, one of the few remaining one-screen theaters remaining not just in Massachusetts but around the country, had become a victim of high definition, IMAX screens and Netflix.

While the venerable theater is nearing the century mark, it is not ready to be bulldozed to create a residential/retail complex. In fact, the “Jim” of the message on the website said that the screen will be back in operation within the fortnight.

“Don’t worry,” said James Bramante, the long-time owner of the Studio Cinema at 376 Trapelo Rd., in addition to the West Newton Cinema in Newton.

“What’s happening is improvements to the building,” he said.

“It’s more of a rehab, a touch up, cosmetic in nature which should require the theater to be closed for the next two weeks.”

Belmont Weekend: Pool Blast Off Sunday, Bright Corner Fair, the ‘Chef’ at the Studio

• The Belmont Recreation Department will be holding the 6th annual Summer Blast Off Party at the Underwood Pool on Sunday, June 22, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Join the celebration of the Underwood Pools’ farewell season with music, games and fun.

• The Bright Corner Summer Fair will be held in the strip mall at 70 Concord Ave. on Saturday, June 21, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is sponsored by the three businesses – East Boston Savings Bank, Indigo Fire and Mathnasium – in the mall and Belmont Dental Group.

• Blockbuster, smockbuster; forget all the loud, visually-maddening mega-films aimed at stuffing young people in movie theaters. Playing at Belmont’s Studio Cinema is “Chef,” a “small” film directed, co-produced, written by and starring Jon Favreau with co-stars Robert Downey, Jr.Scarlett JohanssonSofía VergaraDustin HoffmanOliver Platt and John Leguizamo. Show times are 3:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m Friday, Saturday and SundaySee the trailer here.