Coming up in repertory film: A new South Asian film festival, and more

'Valley of Saints' will screen on August 19.

Philadelphia is home to a growing number of immigrant communities, each with its own unique stories of leaving home and resettling in the U.S. To help tell those stories, the city hosts various festivals celebrating films from parts of the world where Philadelphians can trace their roots. Two of these, the Latino Film Festival and the BlackStar Film Festival (which has a pan-African focus), took place this summer, with the Asian American Film Festival coming up in November.

This weekend, a new multicultural event will join their ranks. The city’s first Mustard Seed Film Festival, highlighting filmmakers of South Asian descent, will show 14 features, shorts, and documentaries at different locations around town on August 19 and 20. A kick-off party with screenings, a director Q&A, and dancing will go down on Friday at 4:30pm at an unusual spot: 1150 Pearl Street, in a tunnel under the Reading Viaduct. You can buy tickets to the kick-off and some of the featured films with a donation of your choice.

I love the ’80s

Over the next three Wednesdays, the Roxy Theater will show a trio of classic ’80s comedies. First, Stephen Herek’s high-school burnout favorite, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, on August 17. (Come for a young Keanu Reeves, stay for the late George Carlin.) The following week, on August 24, is the gold standard of romantic comedies, When Harry Met Sally. And Caddyshack, which blessedly brought together Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Rodney Dangerfield, will close out the month on August 31. General admission tickets cost $12, but feel free to bring your own beer or wine.

The good, the bad, and the ridiculous

Also on August 31, Cinema Ray — a group of local movie lovers whom you can always count on for deep cuts — will show the 1970 cult western El Topo upstairs at Tattooed Mom. By Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, the film follows a violent gunslinger through a series of bizarre scenes on the character’s quest for enlightenment. Admission costs $4.

Then, starting on September 7, Cinema Ray will kick off a series of horror movie nights far more likely to connect with viewers. First up: Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 masterwork, The Shining, at the Ruba Club ($8 on a quite large screen). If you haven’t seen it, now’s your chance to finally understand the hundreds of cultural references that fly over your head on a regular basis.  

But if you really need your fill of camp, head to the William Way LGBT Community Center on August 19 for Secret Cinema’s screening of Boom! With a Tennessee Williams screenplay and Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Noël Coward in the leading roles, you wouldn’t think this 1968 drama would fail as magnificently as it does. Therein lies the magic, however, and people like John Waters have made no secret of their adoration for the film. Tickets cost $20 in advance and $25 at the door, but it’s for a good cause: proceeds will benefit the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania.

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