This year's Oscar season is hard upon us, and once again, Baltimore cinephiles are being left in the dark.
Of the five movies nominated for best foreign language film, only two - Mexico's Pan's Labyrinth (the favorite) and Canada's Water - have opened in Baltimore. Denmark's After the Wedding, Algeria's Days of Glory and Germany's The Lives of Others all have received rave reviews. But for now, none seem destined for Charm City screens. That's a shame, because interest in all three films will never be higher. Once the Oscars have been handed out on Feb. 25, only the winner is likely to remain on people's minds, while the others will slide into undeserved obscurity, playing (at best) for a week at the Charles.
The same is true of the documentary features, only two of which - An Inconvenient Truth (again, the favorite) and Jesus Camp - have played here. We probably won't be able to view Deliver Us From Evil, Iraq in Fragments and My Country, My Country until they're released on DVD. (My Country, My Country, which did have a single screening at May's Maryland Film Festival, is scheduled for March 30).
Hardest of all to understand is why we haven't had a chance to see Little Children. The movie is written and directed by Todd Field (whose In the Bedroom, was a multiple Oscar nominee) and stars Kate Winslet as a bored wife and mother who impulsively seeks excitement by fooling around with another woman's husband. Both Winslet and Field (for his screenplay) on Tuesday received Oscar nominations. But as of yesterday, the movie is not yet scheduled to open in Baltimore.
At worst, this suggests a disregard by many studios for a city with an increasingly vibrant film scene. At best, it puts those of us betting in the Oscar pool at a distinct disadvantage.