Lovers of obscure foreign films oftentimes find that locating copies of such cinema is the most difficult part of their hobby. The Duncan branch of the Alexandria Library and a Fireflies restaurant in Del Ray are showing recent foreign films as part of a program presented by the Duncan friends of the Library Society.
The film series, which started in October of 2007, has grown in popularity. Originally held at a different, smaller venue, after a few months enough people were showing up that the event was moved to the larger space at Fireflies.
"[The series is] a way to show people in the community that a library us not just books on a shelf," said Thom Downing, the Film Coordinator at the Duncan Branch. Downing explained that the series was originally to be shown in the library, but that he volunteered to work with the Friends of the Library Society and venue representatives to bring the events into the community.
Fireflies owner Dan Lichens noted in an e-mail that though people were initially surprised the events they have hosted have become very popular. He further explained that Fireflies, which hosts entertainment very frequently, is able to make sure everyone in the house can hear through the audio system and see on a 42 inch screen.
One of the biggest draws to the series is the fact that the films being shown are difficult to see in other places.
"The films that are selected are films that don’t have a wide range of distribution," said Downing adding that the series is "a way for us to provide something that people can’t get anywhere else."
The Library sweetens the deal for attendees by giving out door prizes provided by Film Movement, from whom the films are purchased, and Lonely Planet Books.
Film Movement is a company that sends out foreign films, which were unable to reach an audience stateside to subscribers of their program. In the case of the Library program, the subscription is sponsored by the Duncan Friends of the Library Society and the film is donated to the library after it has been viewed at Fireflies.
Though the series has been a great success, those involved understand that it will never attract the audience that some feel the films deserve.
"Not everyone who sees Dark Knight is going to come see some obscure French comedy," said Downing.
Still, for those interested in the foreign and the different, the library and Fireflies restaurant will continue at least through January to provide someplace for these films to be seen.
The next film in the series will show on Saturday, Aug. 30 at 9 p.m. The film featured will be "The Grocer's Son" (Le Fils de l'epicier) presented in French with English subtitles. The film is a "French box-office hit about the coming-of-age of a man rediscovering life and love in the countryside" according to the press release.