A mixture of old and new fare will again screen at Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival, slated for April 26 – 30 in Champaign, IL. George Cukor‘s 1964 classic, “My Fair Lady” will launch the event that will include 12 films curated by film critic Ebert, including Sundance 2006 favorites “Man Push Cart” and “Somebodies.” Ramin Bahrani‘s “Man Push Cart” is the story of a Pakistani-born man who scrapes by a living by working as a vendor in a push-cart in the streets of Manhattan. The man, played by Pakistani-born Ahmad Razvi, was once a revered rock star in Pakistan, which creates an awkward situation for him when he’s recognized by a fellow Pakistani.
Director Hadjii‘s comedy “Somebodies,” which screened in competition earlier this year at Sundance, revolves around a Georgia college student living a carefree life at school. His partying, however, gets him into trouble and his circle of eccentric relatives, prankster classmates and hell-fire preachers takes him on a journey of self-discovery. At Sundance this year, Ebert praised the movie, writing, “It is not uplifting or angry or about drugs or crime or sports or music or sex. It is about ordinary young people who are very, very funny because they don’t seem to know they’re in a movie, and aren’t performing for any imagined audience, black or white. Their purpose is to celebrate themselves.”
Other fest highlights include director Lodge Kerrigan‘s 1998 feature “Claire Dolan,” which screened in competition that year in Cannes. The film centers on a high-priced prostitute who decides to change careers and have a baby. Phil Morrison‘s ’05 hit “Junebug,” which screened last year at Sundance and Cannes and earned a best supporting actress Oscar nomination (and a Independent Spirit Award win in the same category) for actress Amy Adams, will screen Saturday, April 29th. Morrison, Adams and Sony Classics co-president Michael Barker will be on hand to discuss the film about a couple who visit the husband’s family in rural North Carolina and find a clash of cultures between their urbane Chicago home and the middle class Southern home of the in-laws.
South African film “U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha,” which took the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2005 will close the festival on Sunday, April 30. Directed by Mark Dornford-May, the film is a contemporary version of the opera “Carmen” set in a present-day South African township. Ebert praised the film, writing on the festival website after seeing it at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival where it played out of competition, “It’s a vivid version, bursting with life, of the Bizet opera, translated into the Xhosa language and sung by the magnificent Pauline Malefane…The opera seems almost to have been written for its new location. Miss Malefane and the other cast members are not only gifted singers but are better actors than many opera singers; no wonder the film was embraced at Berlin.”
Also screening at this year’s eighth edition of Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival are Matt Mulhern‘s “Duane Hopwood” (2005 Sundance Film Festival); David Mamet‘s “Spartan” (2004 Bangkok International Film Festival); Clarence Brown‘s “The Eagle” (1925); Liliana Cavani‘s “Ripley’s Game” (2002 Venice International Film Festival); Danny Boyle‘s “Millions“(2004 Toronto International Film Festival); and Terry Zwigoff‘s “Bad Santa” (2003).
[For more information, and a list of related festival events, visit the fest’s website.]