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Vineyard programming opens a window on the world

Canada's 'Incendies' will screen at the Martha's Vineyard International Film Festival. Canada's "Incendies" will screen at the Martha's Vineyard International Film Festival.
By Loren King
Globe Correspondent / August 28, 2011

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As if the Cape and Islands were not inviting enough destinations in late summer, the Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival, Sept. 8-11, is reaching far and wide for its sixth annual program. In keeping with the event’s theme of “Other Places,’’ features from all over the world will screen, beginning with the opening night film, “Beijing Taxi’’ (Sept. 9). Miao Wang’s documentary follows three cabdrivers as they ready for the influx of visitors to China’s capital for the 2008 Olympic Games. Wang will be on hand to engage in a discussion with the audience after the screening.

Other features include this year’s Oscar winner for best foreign language film, Denmark’s “In a Better World,’’ and the Canadian nominee, “Incendies,’’ both showing on Sept. 9. “Octubre,’’ from Peru (Sept. 10), won the 2010 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize. “The Strange Case of Angelica’’ (also showing on Sept. 10), billed as a romance and ghost story, is the latest from 101-year-old Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira, based on a screenplay he wrote in the 1950s.

There are plenty of comedies, too, such as “Just Like Us’’ (Sept. 8), an American film from director and stand-up comic Ahmed Ahmed that was shot in Dubai, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. “Tales From the Golden Age’’ (Sept. 9) is Palme d’Or-winning director Cristian Mungiu’s absurdist take on the tragic reign of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

Other programs celebrate shorts and animated film. This is the second year for the festival’s International Short Film Competition (Sept. 9) with judges Andrew Mer of Snagfilms, Diana Barrett of the Fledgling Fund, Cape Cod Times film critic Tim Miller, and Luke Matheny, whose “God of Love’’ won the competition at the 2010 MVIFF and then went on to win the 2011 Oscar for best live action short.

Oscar-nominated independent animator Bill Plympton, long a festival supporter, returns to curate and introduce a showcase of animated shorts on Sept. 10. For more festival information, go to www.mvfilmfest.com.

A Fassbinder rarity at HFA It’s one of his lesser-known and rarely shown films, which makes the Sept. 10-11 Harvard Film Archive screenings of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “World on a Wire’’ so notable. According to the HFA, the film was virtually unseen in most places for many years until the unveiling of a restored print, supervised by the film’s cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, at last year’s Berlin Film Festival. Fassbinder’s adaptation of American science fiction writer Daniel F. Galouye’s pulp novel “Simulacron-3’’ ran more than three hours, so it was first released as a two-part television series that had its broadcast premiere in Germany in 1973. For more information, go to www.hcl.harvard.edu/hfa.

Short film with a kick New Hampshire filmmaker Alfred Thomas Catalfo’s 15-minute historical fantasy “Bighorn’’ will be in the Online New England Film Festival (www.newenglandfilm.com/festival) that starts Sept. 1 and lasts six weeks. Films are required to have previously screened at one of six partner film festivals. “Bighorn’’ screened last month at the 20th annual Woods Hole Film Festival and is described by its director as “a ‘Twilight Zone’-ish tale based on a true fact.’’ In real life, says Catalfo, Felix Vinatieri, an Italian immigrant who was George Armstrong Custer’s bandmaster and the great-great-grandfather of Super Bowl-winning kicker Adam Vinatieri, was ordered to stay behind at the 7th Cavalry’s Powder River camp and missed the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The film offers the fantasy that the Patriots would have lost the 2002 Super Bowl if the elder Vinatieri had gone into battle and died before he could produce descendants. For more information, go to www.bighornmovie.com.

Big films, big screens The Coolidge Corner Theatre screens Federico Fellini’s 1954 masterpiece “La Strada’’ as part of its Big Screen Classics series tomorrow at 7 p.m. “La Strada,’’ which stars Giulietta Masina (Fellini’s wife), and Anthony Quinn, won more than 50 international awards including a best foreign language Oscar. Tickets may be purchased online at www.coolidge.org or at the Coolidge Corner Theatre box office, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. . . . Meanwhile, out in Western Mass., the Amherst Cinema screens John Huston’s “The African Queen,’’ featuring Humphrey Bogart’s Oscar-winning performance and costarring Katharine Hepburn, today at 2 p.m. and Aug. 31 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. The film is part of the summerlong Bogart series that continues through Sept. 14 at the theater. Go to www.amherstcinema.org.for a complete list of films.

Loren King can be reached at loren.king@comcast.net.

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