Aug. 01--Many movie fans have seen the summer blockbusters -- Iron Man 3, Man of Steel and World War Z.
But have they seen a film in another language with subtitles?
The Wexner Center for the Arts is striving to lure audiences away from meat-and-potatoes Hollywood films for the coq au vin of international cinema through its "A Summer Abroad '13" foreign-film series.
"I fully recognize there are people who are never going to be interested in seeing films with subtitles, but we're trying to get people who are curious, who want to expand their horizons a little bit," said David Filipi, director of film/video for the Wexner Center.
And the series, which began last month and continues through Aug. 27, screens the Casablancas and Citizen Kanes of world cinema.
"For us, doing well-known and beloved world classics is our version of accessible," Filipi said.
This week's offerings at the Wex might be a good introduction for novices: two films, Max et les Ferrailleurs and Port of Shadows, are in French; two, Journey to Italy and Richard III, are in English.
"Journey to Italy is a good example" of an accessible foreign film, said Mark Wilshin, 36, a movie blogger and editor of the movie website dogandwolf.com. "It's in English and features Ingrid Bergman but has a very European feel, (and is) directed by master of neorealism (and Bergman's husband), Roberto Rossellini.
"It might be set in Italy and have some quirky cinematic devices, but it's a universal story."
And Richard III, Filipi said, stars great Shakespearean actors such as Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Cedrick Hardwicke.
Some people -- such as Brian Welk, a blogger for the movie website the Sanity Claus -- enjoy a film that requires paying attention.
"I watch plenty of American films, too, but foreign films are really great," he said. "A lot of them challenge me in different ways that American films don't.
"A lot of these are films for adults," said Welk, 23, of Addison, Ill. "They're mature and interesting, about a lot of universal themes. They're foreign in language, but they speak the world language."
The chance to absorb a different viewpoint is what attracts Wilshin.
"For me, it's like travel -- an opportunity to experience different cultures which you don't always understand: different language, different storytelling techniques and different styles," he said. "Hollywood films can be very entertaining and slick, but nowadays they're rarely surprising or challenging like a foreign or independent film."
People interested in sampling a foreign film should do a little homework, Welk said, by reading critiques and making an attempt to learn the background of the films and their creators.
Simply having an open mind is critical, Wilshin said.
"There's a certain pleasure in second-guessing Hollywood blockbusters, but if you want to be surprised, or even shocked, world cinema is where it's at," he said. "Open yourself up to the story, and it could just change how you see the world."
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