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Harriet Perretz Starts a Weekly Foreign Film Series at Riderwood

November 2, 2011

SILVER SPRING, MD (November 2, 2011) - Harriet  Perretz always enjoyed watching foreign films - so much so that she has started a weekly Foreign Film Series at Riderwood retirement community, where she reviews foreign film offerings from Netflix in her two-bedroom apartment and then screens them for residents. Her efforts to get residents to appreciate foreign films appear to be working, with more than 100 people in attendance at the screenings.
The films, which are highly rated,  come from all over the world and have English subtitles. Perretz picks the best of the films and holds screenings on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons. About 100 residents attend the evening showings and about 60 attend on Saturdays.
"I find foreign films more realistic than Hollywood films," said Perretz, who worked as a journalist for the Shreveport Journal and who also edited the Gray Panther Journal. "Every one of the films is entertaining."
Perretz, who moved to Riderwood a decade ago from her former home in Columbia, MD, reviews an average of five DVDs each week. The Foreign Film Series is financially subsidized by Riderwood's Administration.
The films tend to be comedies and dramas. The series' most recent offering was "The Children of Heaven."  Its synopsis follows and is reflective of the scope of the Foreign Film Series:
"The Children of Heaven." Directed by Majid Majidi - Starring Mohammad Amir Naji, Mir Farrokh Hashemian, Bahare Seddiqi
Miramax - Rated PG - 88 min - Childhood Drama.  Two children concoct an elaborate scheme to cover up the loss of a pair of shoes in this family drama from Iran. Ali (Mohammad Amir Naji) and Zahra (Mir Farrokh Hashemian) are a brother and sister growing up in a poor neighborhood. Ali is given the responsibility of picking up Zahra's shoes from the repair shop, since she needs them to attend school. Ali makes the mistake of setting them down outside a market, and moments later they're swiped by a beggar. Ali and Zahra are convinced that their parents will be furious when they discover the shoes have been lost, since they can't afford a new pair, so Ali gets an idea -- Zahra is scheduled to attend classes in the morning, while Ali goes to school in the afternoon. Zahra can wear Ali's sneakers to school, and she'll trade them off to Ali when he comes in for the afternoon session. They hope the scheme will work long enough to keep Zahra in school until her shoes can be found, but matters get more complicated when Ali is entered in a 4k run. Bacheha-Ye Aseman was a surprise international success, earning enthusiastic reviews around the world and winning the Grand Prix du Americas at the 1997 Montreal Film Festival.
Perretz developed her critical appreciation of foreign films at a theater in Columbia. She thought a Foreign Film Series at Riderwood would be a unique complement to the more than 200 clubs and special interest groups found at the campus.