Big fun for Philly film fans

From just around the corner to halfway around the globe, International House brings the best in contemporary and vintage film to Philadelphia during the 10-day Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema. This year's festival offers film-lovers 45 feature films, 41 short subjects and documentaries, seminars and special guests, capped off with a great big Cajun feast, concert and dance party on May 9.

Chicago Sun-Times film critic and "Siskel & Ebert" co-host Roger Ebert will be on hand for two special events: "Democracy in the Dark," a four-day event beginning April 30 in which festival-goers are invited to first view a classic film straight through -- in this case, Martin Scorsese's "Raging Bull" -- and then, over the next three days, publicly pick it apart scene by scene, looking for unusual coincidences, revealing dramatic moments or flashes of cinematic brilliance, and a conversation with the subjects of this year's "Spotlight," Good Machine co-founders Ted Hope and James Schamus.

There's also a Penn connection to two festival events: Jonathan Cohen (C'92) is one of the producers of "Safe Men" (pictured here: the film's stars, Sam Rockwell and Steve Zahn), being screened on May 8 and 10, and adjunct English professor John Stuart Katz, the festival's documentary consultant, will moderate a panel discussion on documentary film in the '90s on May 9.

  • PHILADELPHIA FESTIVAL OF WORLD CINEMA: Now through May 10. Day-of-show film tickets for each screening $7; advance tickets (at UpStages, 1412 Chestnut St., or by phone: 569-9700) $7 + $1 service charge; FestFan passes good for five screenings or other events $35; CinePass good for all events $125. See day-by-day listings for seminar and special-event times, locations and admission info. For complete festival info, visit the festival Web site or call 1-800-WOW-PFWC.


Originally published on April 30, 1998