Here comes Oscar

Award-winning drama headlines week-long international film festival

By Matt Russell

This year’s Oscar winner for best foreign-language film will kick off the 13th annual Rochester International Film Festival, which runs Friday through May 8 at Wehrenberg Galaxy 14 Cine in Rochester.

"The Counterfeiters," a drama based on the true story of a Jewish prisoner who faces a moral dilemma during World War II, will open the festival at 7:15 p.m. Friday. It will be followed by "Happy Family," a Dutch comedy from the director of "Schnitzel Paradise," which played at last year’s festival.


Leading the list of films playing Saturday and Sunday is "Katyn," an Oscar nominee; "The Band’s Visit," which has won 30 awards including best foreign film at the this year’s Independent Spirit Awards; and "Full Metal Village," which was named best documentary last year by the Guild of German Art House Cinemas.

Other promising titles this weekend include "Winky’s Horse," an award-winning Dutch film whose success led to a sequel; "The Betrayal," a Grand Jury Prize nominee at this year’s Sundance Film Festival; and "The Planet," an environmental documentary filmed at locations around the world.

Also screening Saturday and Sunday are "The Postman in Shangri-La," set in remote regions of China, "Full Scope" from Russia, and "Wind Man," a fantasy touted as echoing Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings."

The weekend schedule is filled, but it isn’t clear yet which films will be shown Monday through Thursday. Screenings those days will include some films held over from the weekend plus a handful of new titles, according to Alan Hoffman, a volunteer with the Rochester International Film Group.

Two new titles look certain for next week, according to Hoffman: "Just Sex and Nothing Else," a well-reviewed romantic comedy from Hungary, and "Callas Assoluta," a documentary about renowned opera singer Maria Callas.

The Monday through Thursday schedule will be set this weekend, Hoffman said, and will be available at Wehrenberg Galaxy 14 Cine and the Rochester International Film Group’s Web site.

Other titles that could get screenings next week include "If You Love Me Follow Me" from France, "International" from Turkey, "Prague" from Denmark, "Family Motel" from Canada, and "Regresados" from Argentina.

For more information about the festival, as well as links to trailers, reviews and information about festival films, go to

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