Passport to World Cinema brings a handpicked selection of the best international titles from around the globe to the Prince Theater Black Box for their first and often only opportunity to be seen on the big screen in Philadelphia. To enhance the viewing experience, in-depth discussions led by distinguished film critics and scholars follow the film screenings.
HEAL THE LIVING
Katell Quillévéré | France | 2016 | 104 MIN | French with English Subtitles
July 26 | 7:30 PM | Prince Theater Black Box
Sprawling ensemble drama Heal the Living features some of France’s best actors (including The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’s Emmanuelle Seigner and Mommy’s Anne Dorval), yet the true star of this consistently surprising film isn’t a recognizable actor—It’s a human heart. That heart belongs to Simon, a 17-year-old boy left brain dead after an accident early in the film. What follows is an examination of the way this tragic event ripples across the lives of various other characters: Simon’s grief-stricken parents, the doctors and nurses at the hospital, and finally Claire (Dorval), a middle-aged woman in dire need of a heart transplant but torn by the idea that a young boy’s death might mean her only hope for survival. Director Katell Quillévére approaches this potentially heavy material with a subtle touch, and the resulting film is visually striking, genuinely moving, and profoundly insightful about the way moments of beauty and quiet grace occur even amidst tragedy. For a film that starts with a death, what’s most striking about Heal the Living is how vividly it captures the bittersweet chaos of being alive.
Radu Jude | Romania, Germany | 2016 | 141 MIN | Romanian with English Subtitles
August 16 | 7:30 PM | Prince Theater Black Box
Following films like Everybody in Our Family (winner of Best Narrative Feature at the 2012 Philadelphia Film Festival) and 2015’s acclaimed epic Aferim!, Scarred Hearts marks another stylistic leap forward for Romanian auteur Radu Jude. Based on the 1937 semi-autobiographical novel by Romanian-Jewish author Max Blecher, Scarred Hearts is the story of Emanuel, a young writer committed to a sanatorium after being diagnosed with spinal tuberculosis. Once again demonstrating Jude’s ability to find humor and humanity even in painful situations, the film vividly depicts the indignities, absurdities, and joys of life in the hospital, as Emanuel clings to his intellect (not to mention his libido) even as his body fails him. Beautifully shot in 35MM and with immaculate, period-accurate production design that wouldn’t look out of place in a Wes Anderson movie, the film has a formal rigidity befitting Emanuel’s immobile state. But like its indomitable protagonist, this testament to the human spirit has a warm-blooded, lively energy pulsing beneath its placid surface.