For the past 23 years, Richmond students have been able to watch international films without the hassle of booking flights and finding their passports. The International Film Series shows a new movie three times every weekend (Friday afternoon, Friday night and Sunday night) in Queally Hall's Ukrop Auditorium.
This past weekend, I went to see "Revanche," an Austrian thriller that follows a man who doesn't obey the law. Below is my account of getting acquainted with a foreign film.
2:48 p.m.: I enter Ukrop Auditorium and sit near the back.
2:53: The title menu appears on the screen. I can't figure out why there are pine-trees-on-fire looking things on the menu. This seems kind of trippy.
Later, I found out from Paul Porterfield, who selects the movies and is the head of the Media Resource Center, that most of the crowd at the three screenings is from the community. Students are more prevalent on Friday and Sunday nights. "Each crowd is different," he said.
3:00: Our first sighting of Porterfield. He greets the crowd with a warm, "Good afternoon," and highlights some of the movie's awards.
He told me later that he chose this movie because he doesn't often show thriller movies or ones from Austria.
3:04: We learn from Porterfield that the movie is divided into halves, one in the city and one in the woods. The first part earns the movie's "hard-R rating" because of its brothels and nudity. This could be awkward.
3:07: Lights dim and I find out that the trees weren't on fire, they were just the reflections of the trees in a lake.
3:10: Action starts. A shirtless-guy (who will be known from now on as Boyfriend) does a back-flip off of his bed to get up and answer a knock at the door. I have to try that some time.
3:11: We get the film version of a false start. Since this is an Austrian film, they are speaking Austrian-German, which makes the movie hard to understand sans subtitles. And right now, we don't have them.
3:13: After some struggles, we are able to turn the subtitles on. Here we go again.
3:16: Shower scene. Looks like the guy used Head & Shoulders even though he doesn't have Troy Polamalu hair. He should demand his money back.
3:27: Boyfriend hides under his girlfriend's bed when a pimp comes to visit her (the girlfriend is a prostitute). Good to know that under the bed is an international hiding spot.
3:29: Fun fact no. 1: Exquisite is pronounced the same.
3:42: Girlfriend (as I like to call her) tells Boyfriend that their life is "pretty normal." Right, being sold to a high-status client and getting ready to do lines of cocaine is totally normal.
3:52: Girlfriend is obsessed with being nude.
3:53: Finally learn Girlfriend's real name: Tamara. One character's name down, only a couple to go.
3:58: Fun fact no. 2: Passport is the same in Austrian-German.
4:01: I swear, Boyfriend looks different in each scene. Right now, he looks a bit like Billy Bob Thornton.
4:12: Always fun to look at the signs in the background and make up what they say.
4:18: Crowd laughs at a sex joke. Awkward.
4:20: Old Man, father to now-single Boyfriend, is busting out an accordion. About time we get some music.
4:22: It hits me, Boyfriend looks like Earl from "My Name is Earl." Just with less hair.
4:29: Yep, Boyfriend definitely looks like Earl.
4:59: I thought this movie was supposed to be over 30 minutes ago. And it doesn't look like it's ending soon.
5:11: Wow, this movie just had a more abrupt ending than "Inception." Still, that didn't stop people from enjoying the film.
After the film, David Gripshover, who said that he has attended this film series and seen nearly every film in it for the past three or four years, said he had enjoyed it, and watching foreign films in general.
If you're adventurous or even just curious, go see one of these films. Admission is free and who knows what you'll see.
Just bring your own popcorn, none is served.
Contact staff writer Andrew Prezioso at firstname.lastname@example.org