In February, foreign film lovers don’t have to travel to Baltimore or Gettysburg to get their cultural fix. Film Lovers in Carroll County will host their 15th Annual Foreign Film Festival at the Carroll Arts Center on Fridays in February. There will be two screenings of each film at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. each of the four days.
“We try to select films from around the world,” said FLICC chair Frank Baylor. “We want to show films that will appeal to our Carroll County audience.”
Tickets are $7 for adults; $6 for ages 25 and under and ages 60 and up per screening. The subscription price is $22 and all tickets must be for either 1 or 7:30 p.m. with no mix and match. Carroll County Arts Council members save an additional 10 percent on all prices. McDaniel College is sponsoring the series once again, so McDaniel students and faculty are admitted free with ID. All films are shown with English subtitles.
FLICC member Angela Nickolas said the annual film festival is an opportunity for someone who might be hesitant to take in a foreign film to get acquainted with them.
“If you’re not sure that you like foreign film, you can rest assured that this is a good way to expose yourself to something new,” Nickolas said. “If you’re worried about subtitles, realize that most people read closed captions all the time — at the gym, at a restaurant, or at a bar. After a minute or two, you’ll find yourself absorbed.”
The German/Hungarian film “Gloomy Sunday” will be shown on Friday, Feb. 2. The 1999 film runs 1 hour and 52 minutes and is not rated.
“Gloomy Sunday” is a romantic melodrama set in Budapest before and during the Holocaust, according to a Carroll Arts Center news release. The film follows three men who are in love with a waitress. She inspires one to write a song that, mysteriously, drives some to suicide.
Baylor said the film is a tribute to McDaniel’s sister campus in Budapest.
“We wanted to tie it into McDaniel’s 150th anniversary and we wanted to contribute to the yearlong celebration,” Baylor said.
The South Korean film “The Handmaiden” will be shown Feb. 9. The 2016 film has a running time of 2 hours and 25 minutes. While it is not rated, FLICC member Richard Soisson said it is for mature audiences only.
The film is about a Korean con man who devises an elaborate plot to seduce and bilk a Japanese woman out of her inheritance with help from an orphaned pickpocket.
“It’s really plot-driven and the cinematography is wonderful,” Soisson said. “It’s based on a British novel by Sarah Waters. It takes the source material and develops it into a really good vision to create an unforgettable viewing experience.”
The Chinese film “Coming Home” will be shown Feb. 16. The 2014 film is 1 hour and 49 minutes and is rated PG-13.
The plot involves a former political prisoner who tries to help his wife regain her memory loss from an accident and rediscover their love for each other.
“Polina,” a 2016 French film, will be shown Feb. 23. It runs 1 hour and 48 minutes and is not rated.
Polina, a gifted Bolshoi ballerina, falls in love with a French dancer who introduces her to contemporary dance and leads her to travel the world.
“It’s a coming-of-age story,” Soisson said. “Some of the dance sequences are really beautiful.”
Nickolas lauded the diversity of the committee’s selections.
“I trust completely in the committee because they strive to choose a variety. There’s a lot of thought that goes into the schedule. Anyone can find something that they can relate to,” she said. “There’s something to make you laugh and something to make you cry. There’s something about these films that are incredibly raw and more real than what we’re used to in American theaters.”
Tickets are available online or at the box office. The Carroll Arts Center is located at 91 W. Main St. in downtown Westminster. For more information call 410-848-7272 or go to www.CarrollCountyArtsCouncil.org