CAFilm class is in session! While this year’s back to school time looks different than usual and there are many unknowns, we hope that these three films provide comfort in the knowledge that education comes in many different and often unexpected ways.
CFI FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MARK FISHKIN SELECTS
STAND AND DELIVER
Director: Ramón Menéndez (US, 1988) 103 min.
Jaime Escalante is a math teacher from Bolivia in a tough, Los Angeles high school which has a 50% drop out rate. In 1982, he prepared 18 of his students to take the National Advanced Placement Calculus Test, an exam so difficult that only 2% of graduating seniors even attempt it. Co-producer Edward James Olmos stars in this uplifting film about dreams and hard work, and one teacher’s refusal to give up on his students. Lou Diamond Phillips plays Angel, the class cut-up for whom Escalante becomes a spiritual father. (Logline by C. Graham)
In MVFF Through the Years, Mark Fishkin responds to the question: When did you begin to feel that the Festival was really taking off?
“…Certainly I would say the year that we premiered a little film called Walking On Water, with Edward James Olmos and Lou Diamond Phillips, we had its world premiere. The title was later changed to Stand And Deliver, and literally the acquisition directors and the presidents of the film companies were running to the only pay phone in the Sequoia Theater, and it sold from the Mill Valley Film Festival for the largest amount any independent film had sold for in the history of filmmaking.” –Mark Fishkin
SMITH RAFAEL FILM CENTER DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMMING RICHARD PETERSON SELECTS
ITALIAN FOR BEGINNERS
Director: Lone Sherfig (Denmark, 2001) 99 min.
In Danish and Italian with English subtitles.
“This crowd-pleaser from Danish writer-director Lone Scherfig takes a winning spin on modern romance in a warm-hearted comedy of cultural collision. Filmed on location in Copenhagen (with a brief holiday in Venice), it focuses on a group of men and women whose lovelorn lives intersect at an Italian-language adult-education class (as well as Italian immigrants trying to adjust to Danish courting rituals). Certainly the most charming of the “Dogme” films (and the first one made by a woman filmmaker), Italian for Beginners is bolstered by a great ensemble cast and crackling dialogue. While its drama can be serious at times, its honest approach to romance and genuine affection for its characters help make it an irresistible experience.” –Richard Peterson
CFI DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION JOANNE PARSONT SELECTS
Director: Amanda Lipitz (US, 2017) 84 min
“At an inner-city Baltimore girls’ high school, the spirited members of the step dance team strive to escape their challenging urban environment and make it to college. Preparing for their final competition, their empowerment and dedication to success is soundly declared with every stomp and clap. I’m a big fan of youth competition documentaries, whether it be spelling bees in Spellbound, chess in Brooklyn Castle, or poetry slams in Louder Than a Bomb. But I especially love the energy and spirit of STEP, and the film’s focus on young women of color demonstrating and owning their power.” –Joanne Parsont
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