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Global Cinema Comes to An Appalachian Summer Festival; Film ‘The Lunchbox’ Premieres Tonight

by John Pfeifer

June 25, 2014. If you are like me, a compulsive cinephile living in the High Country, then you probably find yourself having to make the long trek to Charlotte, Winston-Salem or Asheville to see the latest independent or foreign films. But now, thanks to An Appalachian Summer Festival, we foreign film lovers no longer need to travel long distances to see some of the year’s best films from around the world.

As part of this year’s summer festival, the Global Cinema Film Series will be bringing four narrative, feature films from Laos, India, Japan and France to the Appalachian State University campus. The films will be shown at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts throughout June and July. Prior to each film, there will be a short talk providing information about the film which enhances the audience’s understanding and enjoyment of the film. The discussion begins at 7 p.m. and the film starts at approximately 7:30 p.m.

The Global Cinema Film Series strives to select films that have won awards or received critical audience acclaim at major international film festivals. This year’s films include a heartwarming coming of age story, a smart romantic comedy, a family drama about children switched at birth and an inspirational, true-life equestrian story about an Olympic champion. The cost of each film and the lecture is $10, or you can save by buying a festival film pass that includes all four films for $36. All of the films are suitable for young people who are capable of reading subtitles.

“The Lunchbox” will be shown on Monday, June 7 at 7 p.m. Ritesh Batra, writing and directing his first feature film, garnered 33 international film festival nominations and won 13 awards, including Best Feature at the Dubai International Film Festival and Best Film at the 2014 Film Fare Awards. “The Lunchbox” is a bittersweet, 1940s style romantic comedy as well as a colorful, striking portrait of the city of Mumbai.

A mistaken delivery by the Dabbawalas (Mumbai’s famously efficient lunchbox delivery men) brings together Saajan, a lonely widower who is about to retire from his government accountant position and Ila, a young housewife who thinks she is making special lunches for her husband in an effort to rekindle their failing marriage. As they start to exchange notes through the daily lunchbox, Saajan and Ila connect to create a relationship which may destroy a marriage and save an older man in the dusk of his life. The lunchbox will make you laugh and cry and realize that sometimes you can get on the wrong train and still reach the right destination.

“Like Father, Like Son” will be shown on Tuesday, July 15 at 7 p.m. Written, directed and edited by Hirokazy Kore-eda, this film tells the story of two six-year-old boys who were given to the wrong families at birth. These Japanese families who come from two very different social and economic classes must now decide on the best course of action for the future for themselves and their bloodlines. Kore-eda is one of Japan’s most prolific and best known filmmakers and his films often focus on family ties, social class and Japanese culture. His previous films include “Nobody Knows” about four children abandoned by their mother, “Still Walking,” about a family griving for a dead son, and “I Wish,” about two young brothers separated by their mother and father’s bad marriage and choices. “Like Father, Like Son” gives the viewer a glimpse of an emotionally charged situation that is masked by polite bows, civilized conversations and empty justifications.

The festival is proud to present the French, real-life equestrian drama of an amazing horse named Jappeloup just in time for the start of the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show. “Jappeloup” will be shown on Monday, July 21 at 7 p.m.

Based on the Karine Devilder’s nonfiction account titled “Crin Noir,” this film tells the inspirational story of a smaller than average competitive jumper in his rise from puny underdog to Olympic Champion. Like the film, “Secretariat” and other biographical dramas in which the audience may already know how it all ends, “Jappeloup” is an engaging and emotional film that depicts the rarefied art of professional show jumping. Written by and starring Guillaume Canet, an equestrian turned actor, the story follows Pierre Durand as he abandons a promising legal career and dedicates himself to his true passion – show jumping. Canet performs most of his own stunts including the undeniably rousing climax.

For more information or to purchase tickets, you can check out the Appalachian Summer Festival website at appsummer.org or call the box office at 828-262-4046. Tickets may also be purchased at the box office at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. The box office is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

About An Appalachian Summer Festival

An Appalachian Summer Festival is presented annually in July by the university’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs. Beginning as a small chamber music series founded by festival patrons Arnold and Muriel Rosen, the festival is now one of the nation’s most highly regarded, multi-disciplinary art festivals. The festival has been named on of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society. True to a university-based arts festival, educational opportunities, including lectures and chances to meet artists, artistic directors, competition jurors and other experts, have always been an important component of festival programming.

Festival Corporate Sponsors:

Westglow Resort and Spa, Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation, Northern Trust, McDonald’s of Boone, Mast General Store, Storie Street Grille, Goodnight Brothers, Boone Area Visitor’s Bureau, Sky Best Communications, Scholars Bookshop at the University Bookstore, Hotel Equities, Holiday Inn Express-Boone, Nationwide—Charles Eyler Agency, Peabody’s Wine & Beer Merchants, Chetola Resort, Creekside Electronics, Boone Ford-Lincoln and Casa Rustica. 

Festival media sponsors include:

WBTV, WCYB, Charter Media, Our State Magazine, Winston-Salem Journal, Greensboro News & Record, PBS Charlotte, wnc magazine, High Country Radio, WHKY AM 1290, Mountain Television Network, WDAV 89.9FM, WFDD 88.5FM, WETS 89.5FM, WASU 90.5FM and High Country 365.