Five films to see at the Cleveland International Film Festival


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Alison Ritchie

The Cleveland International Film Festival will celebrate its 35th anniversary next week. It will showcase about 150 full-length feature films and 130 short films from 60 countries. The festival will run from March 24 to April 3.

To accommodate its growing audience, this year’s festival will use every theater at Tower City Cinemas. Since 2003, the festival’s admission has grown from nearly 35,000 to last year’s 71,000.

With such a large selection of films to choose from, it would be impossible for visitors to see everything. The festival’s art director, Bill Guentzler, said he recommends Kent State students try to see at least one of these five films:

“A Somewhat Gentle Man”

Norway, 2010
Directed by: Hans Petter Moland
Run time: 107 minutes
Showtimes: Friday, March 25 at 6:50 p.m., Saturday, March 26 at 4 p.m.
Plot: Ulrik is a convict who was just released from prison after serving 12 years for murder. As he tries to reconnect with his family, his former boss, Jenson, pushes for him to return to a life of crime.
“It’s a quirky comedy,” Guentzler said. “Scandinavian comedy tends to be a little dark. They create different kinds of characters that you usually don’t see in American films.”

“Vincent Wants to Sea”

Germany, 2010
Directed by: Ralf Huettner
Run time: 96 minutes
Showtimes: Saturday, March 26 at 1:20 p.m., Sunday, March 27 at 4:30 p.m., Monday, March 28 at 9:15 p.m.
Plot:wenty-seven-year-old Vincent has Tourette’s syndrome. He escapes from a rehabilitation clinic along with two other patients, Alex and Marie. Together they travel across Europe toward the Italian sea.
“It’s really scenic,” Guentzler said. “It’s a European road-trip comedy. It’s another one of those European films that you just won’t see anything made in America that’s like it.”


U.S., 2011
Directed by: Tiffany Shlain
Running time: 82 minutes
Showtimes: Saturday, March 26 at 4:25 p.m., Sunday, March 27 at 8:20 p.m.
Plot: In this documentary, director Tiffany Shlain, along with her father, Leonard Shlain, uses events in her own life to show how people use technology to create meaningful connections with one another.
“It’s just an amazing documentary,” Guentzler. “It’s a lot of information, but at the same time it’s not overbearing. You’re going to come away really looking at the world from a different point of view. The fact that somebody’s ideas can change you is so great.”

“The Man From Nowhere”

South Korea, 2010
Directed by: Jeong-Beom Lee
Running time: 119 minutes
Showtimes:Wednesday, March 30 at 9:15 a.m., Friday, April 1 at 10 p.m., Saturday, April 2 at 1:50 p.m.
Plot: Ex-Special Agent Cha Tae-shik tragically lost his family. The only person he cares for anymore is his neighbor’s daughter, So-mi. When the Chinese mafia kidnaps her, he vows to find her.
“It’s an action film – kung fu, karate, gangsters in South Korea,” said Guentzler. “It’s a lot of fun to watch. America tries to make action movies, even with any kind of martial arts. But when you actually see a real Asian film, they really use it and they really use it well. It’s not all about things exploding and people being shot. It’s more mental.”

“The Interrupters”

U.S., 2011
Directed by: Steve James
Running time: 162 minutes
Showtimes Friday, April 1 at 3:50 p.m., Saturday, April 2 at 8 p.m.
Plot: This documentary follows former gang members in Chicago who left their lives of violence to help others. Their group, called the Ceasefire Interrupters, discourages kids from joining gangs.
“It’s a really long documentary,” said Guentzler. “You forget that you’re sitting through it for so long because it’s so riveting and it makes you want to actually do something. It’s really amazing. It’s gives you inspiration to do whatever you can in your own life to make a change.”

The festival will also have College Day on Tuesday, March 29. Students must wear college gear that features their university’s logo in order to receive a voucher to attend a film for free. Guentzler said students will also have the opportunity to win other free items.

Tickets cost $12 for non-members and $10 for members, and they can be purchased online or over the phone. For more information, visit the festival’s website,, or call 216-623-3456.

Contact Alison Ritchie at [email protected].