Going Global

"You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese' in France? A Royale with Cheese.'"

-- John Travolta in Pulp Fiction

For every word or phrase in the English language, there is an equivalent in every other language . . . right? Or is it that sometimes there are things that can only be expressed well through art -- in this case, film? The 2nd Annual Scottsdale International Film Festival is your opportunity to experience the emotions of life in other cultures, all for a bite-size price.

Here we see what despair looks like in Morocco, what love looks like in Mexico, and what silence looks like in Iran. The images on film, unlike their sometimes-political textual translations, are beyond politics and language. We are all capable of recognizing the emotions in these films, even if we are not able to recognize the landscape behind them, or the language expressing them.

The founder of this festival, Amy Ettinger, carefully hand-picked these films after extensive research on what films were getting attention this past year at festivals all over the world. She has a knack for this, apparently -- after last year's first Scottsdale Film Festival, Ettinger said she was bombarded by people begging her to do it again, and to add films with an international flavor next time. Handfuls of desperate Arizonans clung to her, asking when she would be back with "the films."

She's done her work well. This year, you have the chance to see 21 of the best films in the world over the course of one week. Some of Ettinger's recommendations include Broken Hearts (Mexico), Risotto (Greece), Together (Sweden), The Outpatient (USA), Lawless Heart (UK) and Janice Beard: 45 WPM (UK).

And just in case you're one of those people who's dying to discuss a film after you've seen it, a question-and-answer session will follow 14 of the films -- alternately moderated by local film experts Fred Linch and Francie Noyes.

A "sense of community" is, in large part, what Ettinger's after here. The ability for culturally starved film buffs to not only come together but also to discuss films is a rare opportunity on this scale -- and with such an international scope. These are films that you likely won't be able to see again, but will inhabit your dinner conversations for some time to come.

Don't miss this chance to take a journey around the world for the small price of admission. Come early in the festival, come late, and come on Halloween night carrying a trident if you have to -- whatever you have to do . . . just don't miss these films.

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Maidi Terry