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TCC Diversity Film Festival at The Grand Cinema

Mexican purgatory, hip-hop disappointment, carved clay figurines ...

A scene from "The Missing Picture," in which clay figures are used to help tell Rithy Panh’s story about Cambodia’s mass killings. Photo Credit: Bophana Center

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It's time for the 4th Annual TCC Diversity Film Festival! These festivals explore and celebrate individual and cultural differences expressed through film. For this year's festival, Tacoma Community College and The Grand Cinema picked a variety of dramatic and documentary films from around the world which are sure to entertain, inspire and - as colleges are wont to do - educate.


Sunday, April 13, 2 p.m.

Based on a true story, The Intouchables tells the tale of the unlikely friendship between wealthy, quadriplegic Parisian socialite Phillippe (François Cluzet) and his unemployed, ex-con caretaker, Driss (Omar Sy). This heartwarming French film from directors Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano is hilarious and heartrending in equal measure. Nominated for a Golden Globe and a British Film Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


Tuesday, April 15, 2 and 6:30 p.m.

In this compelling documentary, director Rodrigo Reyes likens the U.S./Mexico border to a terrestrial version of the purgatory envisioned by Dante Alighieri. It's an apt comparison; both the border and Dante's supernatural way station serve as punishment-filled waiting rooms for wandering souls struggling towards a final destination.


Thursday, April 17, 2 and 6:30 p.m.

Fort McCoy, the latest from directors Kate Connor and Michael Worth, tells the story of Frank Stirn (Eric Stoltz), a man who earns his living in WWII-era Wisconsin working as a barber for the Army at nearby Fort McCoy. Business is good - Frank caters to both American military personnel and to the Nazi POWs that are his new neighbors. Winner of the Best Drama Award at the Cannes and Hollywood Independent Film Festivals.


Tuesday, April 22, 2 6:30 p.m.

Election Night, 2008. Barack Obama becomes the first African-American President. Unfortunately, that success isn't universal. In this uncompromising film from writer-director Neil Drumming, the aging members of a once-promising hip-hop group gather in Brooklyn to mull over a litany of regrets, disappointments and the choices that led to them, even as history in the making unfolds around them. Big Words will also be screening daily at The Grand Cinema from April 18-24.


Thursday, April 24, 2 6:30 p.m.

This captivating documentary from Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi offers a firsthand account of life in the West Bank village of Bil'in through the eyes of Palestinian farmer and co-director Emad Burnat. 5 Broken Cameras is assembled from five years of footage shot on five different cameras that met their ends during production. Winner of the World Cinema Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival and the first Palestinian film to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature.


Sunday, April 27, 2 p.m.

This documentary from Cambodian director Rithy Panh - adapted from his book The Elimination - presents a firsthand retelling of life under the Khmer Rouge, who ruled Cambodia from 1975-1979. Using an imaginative combination of archival footage, voiceover narration and carved clay figurines, Pahn describes the staggering socioeconomic devastation the Communist regime wreaked and the atrocities they committed during their brief time in power. Winner of the Cannes Film Festival "Un Certain Regard" Award and the first Cambodian film to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

Ordinarily, I only get to recommend one film to you from the Grand Cinema's selection in my semi-weekly column, Show & Tell. Prior to writing that column, I never had so thorough an understanding of the term "an embarrassment of riches". With so many great films to choose from - all of which are great for different reasons - it's difficult to pick just one and say, "This is the one you should see."  This year's Diversity Film Festival selections give me a welcome reprieve from that limitation, and I can honestly say that each one brings something new, different and wonderful to the table.  In the spirit of diversity, I strongly recommend that you sample them all.

TCC DIVERSITY FILM FESTIVAL, April 13-27, The Grand Cinema, 606 S. Fawcett Ave., TAcoma, $2-$7.50, 253.593.4474

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