Photo of smARTfilms: I Never Saw It Coming

Join BIMA (Bainbridge Island Museum of Art) for five weeks of films curated by tj Faddis. This series features foreign-language films which contain an astonishing element: a twist in plot or character, an unexpected profound truth, or the whole plot-line is so original that movie-viewers cannot guess where this film will take them. Rest assured, you’ll “never see it coming”, but you’ll be glad to bear witness.

The movies are held in the Frank Buxton Auditorium at BIMA, located at 550 Winslow Way East on Bainbridge Island. The matinee showings are at 2:00 p.m. (Does not include facilitated discussion) and the evening showings are at 7:30 p.m. on the scheduled dates. Below are the featured films in date order and you can purchase the tickets by clicking the dates and titles!

January 7: Yomeddine. Bashay is a life-long resident of a leper colony north of Cairo where he has married and made a life for himself. But after circumstances change, he sets out to find his family who left him at the colony when he was a small child. With his young friend Obama and his donkey, Harby, Bashay sets out on his great quest in a film that is part road movie, part buddy comedy, and part poignant neorealist drama. This bittersweet story is told with bold candor, sly humor, and lots of warm humanity. It’s the perfect film to start the new year and has been submitted to the Academy Awards for 2020. NR | 97 mins | 2018 | Egypt.

July 14: See You Up There. November 1918, a few days before the World War I Armistice, meek accountant/lowly soldier Edouard Péricourt saves Albert Maillard’s life in a senseless assault ordered by Lieutenant Pradelle. The two men have nothing in common but the war, as Albert is a talented artist and black-sheep son of an exorbitantly wealthy Paris family. But the injury to Albert’s face forces him into wearing a mask while binding him to Pericourt as companions in misfortune. As the nefarious Lt. Pradelle is about to make a fortune from his self-serving decisions, Albert and Edouard mount a monumental scam which will have life-altering consequences. This richly rendered film deftly weaves surrealist humor and humanizing romance into a war-inspired crime thriller, creating a dramatically robust film which was not only a huge hit at SIFF 2018, but garnered 13 Cesar nominations, winning five. TV-MA | 117 mins | 2017 | France.

January 21: Tel Aviv on Fire. In this clever comedy, Salem is a Palestinian from East Jerusalem, who is a low-level production assistant on the soap opera “Tel Aviv on Fire”. Following a lie he tells Israeli military commander Assi, an officer at the Ramallah checkpoint he must pass through every day to get to work, Salem is suddenly promoted to be a screenwriter on the show. There is only one problem – Salem can’t write screenplays. To avoid getting fired, Salem makes a deal with Assi, who helps him write in exchange for fine Palestinian hummus and a promise that the series’ plot will end according to Assi’s script. However, the Palestinian investors want a different ending, and it’s up to Salem to figure out a resolution which will keep everyone happy. With TEL AVIV ON FIRE, we have a funny, perfectly balanced comedy on a very serious topic, which could only have been written by someone who has his feet and dear friends on both sides of the conflict, Writer/Director Sameh Zoabi. NR | 97 mins | 2018 | Israel/Luxembourg.

January 28: Man on the Train. This lovely life-affirming film from Director Patrice Leconte is a touchstone, one where I yearn to re-watch it every 5 years. Milan (Johnny Hallyday) arrives by train in a small French town to find the only hotel is closed for the season. But he finds accommodation via chance meeting with a retired teacher, Manesquier (Jean Rochefort). A relationship develops between these apparent opposites, though looming in the background are two unavoidable events that each is expecting to take… Manesquier is to undergo surgery and Milan is quite secretive about his intended plan. R | 90 mins | 2003 | France.

February 4: The Other Side of Everything. A locked door inside a Belgrade home has kept one family separated from their past for generations. Documentary Director Milia Turajlic focuses an Agnes Vargas-like eye on her family apartment, the objects within, and the major historical events that occurred outside the tall windows of her building, while an intimate conversation between the director and her mother, the dynamic activist and scholar Srbijanka Turajlic, reveals a house and a country haunted by history. What begins as the chronicle of a childhood home grows into a wry, elegant portrait of a charismatic and brilliant woman in times of great political turmoil. R | 100 mins | 2017 | Serbia.