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Fascinating Foreign Film Festival at Westfield Memorial Library

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The Westfield Memorial Library is pleased to present six foreign films for the months of July and August. They will be shown on consecutive Mondays beginning July 10 and ending on August 14 at 2:00 and 6:30 p.m. The library is located at 550 East Broad Street.

The first film to be shown on July 10 is, “A Man Called Ove,” a Swedish language film runs 116 minutes. Stepping from the pages of Fredrik Backman’s international best-selling novel, Ove is the quintessential angry old man next door. An isolated retiree and widower with strict principles and a short fuse, Ove has given up on life.

Enter a boisterous young family next door who accidentally flattens Ove’s mailbox while moving in and earning his special brand of ire. Yet from this inauspicious beginning an unlikely friendship forms, and viewers come to understand Ove’s past happiness and heartbreaks. What emerges is a heartwarming tale of unreliable first impressions and the gentle reminder that life is sweeter when it's shared.

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Ove is one of Sweden's biggest locally-produced box office hits ever. Director Hannes Holm finds the beating heart of his source material, and Swedish star Rolf Lassgård, whose performance won him the Best Actor award at the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival, affectingly embodies the lovable curmudgeon Ove.

On July 17, “Our Little Sister” a Japanese film running 127 minutes will be shown. Three sisters - Sachi, Yoshino and Chika - live together in the city of Kamakura, Japan.

When their father - absent from the family home for the last 15 years - dies, they travel to the countryside for his funeral and meet their shy, teenage half-sister. Bonding quickly with the orphaned Suzu, they invite her to live with them. Suzu eagerly agrees and a new life of joyful discovery begins for the four siblings.

“Lion,” which is in English, will be shown on July 24 and runs 120 minutes. Five-year-old Saroo gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of kilometers across India, away from home and family. He must learn to survive alone in Kolkata, before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, he sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.

In “Julieta,” which is Spanish and will be shown on July 31, critically acclaimed director Pedro Almodovar tells a story about a mother’s struggle to survive uncertainty and come to grips with fate. Julieta lives in Madrid with her daughter, Antia. They are both in pain over the loss of Xoan, Antia’s father and Julieta’s husband.

But sometimes grief doesn’t bring people closer, it drives them apart. When Antia turns eighteen, she abandons her mother without a word of explanation. Julieta is haunted by the mystery of this loss and it pervades everything in her life. Her struggle and obsession lead to self-discovery and surprising revelations. This film runs 99 minutes.

“The Eagle Huntress,” which is in English and runs 87 minutes, follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter. She rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries.

Set against the breathtaking expanse of the Mongolian steppe, The Eagle Huntress features some of the most awe-inspiring cinematography ever captured in a documentary, giving this intimate tale of a young girl's quest the dramatic force of an epic narrative film. It will run on August 7.

The last film to be shown on August 14 is “Dheepan,” a French language film that runs 114 minutes. With this Palme d’Or–winning drama, which deftly combines seemingly disparate genres, French filmmaker Jacques Audiard cemented his status as one of the titans of contemporary world cinema.

In an arresting performance, the nonprofessional actor Antonythasan Jesuthasan (himself a former child soldier) stars as a Tamil fighter who, along with a woman and child posing as his wife and daughter, flees war-torn Sri Lanka only to land in a Paris suburb riddled with drugs.

As the makeshift family embarks on a new life, Dheepan settles into an intimate social-realist mode, before tightening, gradually and organically, into a dynamic turf-war thriller, as well as an unsettling study of the psychological after-effects of combat. Searing and sensitive, Audiard’s film is a unique depiction of the refugee experience as a continuous crisis of identity.

The films are free and open to the public.

Founded in 1879, the Westfield Memorial Library—the community’s destination for discovery and ideas—engages minds, entertains spirits and facilitates lifelong learning for people of all ages. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday; closed on Sunday for the summer and for Fourth of July.

For more information call 908.789.4090, visit the library’s website at www.wmlnj.org, and sign up for the monthly e-newsletter “Library Loop,” or stop by the library at 550 East Broad Street for a copy of the award-winning quarterly newsletter “Take Note.”

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