Tonight is the final night of another hugely successful run of the Little Italy Open-Air Film Festival. Continuing a beloved tradition of the series, the closing-night film will be "Cinema Paradiso," Giuseppe Tornatore's autobiographical film about growing up and falling in love with movies in a small Italian town.
Tonight's screening is being called the "Can Film Festival," in which visitors are encouraged to bring one non-perishable canned food item to the show. The canned food will be donated to the St. Leo's outreach program.
Tonight's program begins at 7 p.m. with a performance by Aldo and the Composers, Gene Schiavo and his Antique Barrel Organ and the Xaala Mainama African Arts Ensemble. Mayor Martin O'Malley will kick off the event, and Joe Garagiola will be on hand filming a segment for NBC's "Today" show.
As always, admission is free and patrons are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs for maximum comfort.
Meeting for film buffs
The Imaginative Cinema Society, a group of film-lovers dedicated to mystery, fantasy, science fiction and horror movies, will meet Saturday at the Perry Hall Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall., 8848 Belair Road. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. The Imaginative Cinema Society meets the last Saturday of every month, and all are welcome.
Bjork stars in musical
Cinema Sundays at the Charles this weekend will feature "Dancer in the Dark," the new musical starring pop star Bjork and directed by Lars von Trier ("Breaking the Waves," "The Idiots"). Director Kirsten Johnson, who appeared at Cinema Sundays last year with her film "Innocent Until Proven Guilty," will discuss the film.
Doors open at 9:45 a.m., and the show begins at 10:30 a.m. Full eight-film memberships are available for $88; five-film mini-memberships can be bought for $65. Walk-up tickets cost $15. For more information, call 410-727-3464.
'Evil' comes to Towson
Towson University's Electronic Media and Film Department continues its free fall film series Monday with a screening of "Touch of Evil," Orson Welles' 1958 film about lust, corruption and murder in a Mexican border town. Associate professor Peter Lev will discuss the movie. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. in Van Bokkelen Hall Auditorium on the Towson campus.
Wardell to leave film festival
Program coordinator Gabe Wardell is leaving the Maryland Film Festival, founder Jed Dietz announced recently. Wardell, who helped launch the festival two years ago, will manage the Office of Cultural Affairs at the Johns Hopkins Medical Center. He will also continue to program the Cinema Sundays at the Charles and appear on "Media Matters" on WJHU.
The Sun joins Dietz and the Maryland Film Festival in wishing Wardell the best. He has done an outstanding job of bringing a diverse program of films and filmmakers to Baltimore, and has given the festival his distinct stamp of eclectic taste and voracious curiosity. Hopkins is lucky to have him.
A critic's so long
On a personal note: I, too, am moving on. As of today, I will be leaving The Sun to pursue a book project and resume freelance writing. It's been a pleasure being a critic in Baltimore, where the lively film culture and engaged audiences have been continual sources of inspiration.
I will continue to contribute articles about film to The Sun on a freelance basis, and will keep in touch with the community from my new home on the Eastern Shore. In the meantime, my thanks go out to all the readers, filmmakers, exhibitors and dedicated cinema-lovers who have made my tenure here so rewarding.