Poland's former first lady to speak at CMU International Film Festival

Danuta Walesa, the former first lady of Poland, is coming to Pittsburgh for two screenings of "Walesa: Man of Hope," a drama about her husband, Lech, an ordinary shipyard worker and electrician who changed the course of history, herself and her country.

The drama will open Carnegie Mellon University's International Film Festival on March 20 at the Regent Square Theater and be repeated March 23 at CMU's McConomy Auditorium.

Polish-born Andrzej Wajda, who received an Honorary Oscar in 2000 for his five decades of extraordinary work, directed "Walesa: Man of Hope," starring Robert Wieckiewicz and Agnieszka Grochowska as Lech and Danuta Walesa.

The festival, once again under the direction of CMU's Jolanta Lion, is bringing more than a dozen films with ties to 20 countries to Pittsburgh from March 20 to April 5.

This year's theme is "Faces of Work," reflecting the focus of the late CMU professor and filmmaker Paul Goodman, with global working conditions and spaces along with the people who toil in them front and center.

Opening night tickets are $10 for seniors and students (valid ID required) and $15 for others. Regular admission for other movies, $5 for seniors and students and $8 for others. A full access festival pass is $25 for seniors and students, $50 otherwise.

Movies will be screened at four places: Carlow University's Kresge Theater, 3333 Fifth Ave.; CMU's University Center, McConomy Auditorium, 5000 Forbes Ave.; Pittsburgh Filmmakers' Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Ave.; and Regent Square Theater, 1035 S. Braddock Ave.

Go to www.cmu.edu/faces to reserve tickets, watch trailers of the movies and find details on speakers and receptions. Scheduled to be shown:

• "Walesa: Man of Hope" (Poland) -- The movie is structured around an interview Mr. Walesa gives to Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci (Maria Rosaria Omaggio) that allows the story to move between public and private, and past and present, with archival footage of seminal events. 7:15 p.m. March 20, Regent Square Theater, and 4:30 p.m. March 23, CMU's University Center, McConomy Auditorium.

"Shipbreakers" (USA/India) -- U.S. premiere of Goodman's final film, finished by CMU's Ralph Vituccio (who will appear for Q&A) and cinematographer Tom Clancey. This documentary is set mostly in Alang, India, where ocean vessels no longer seaworthy are run aground, broken apart and stripped by migrant workers making $1 to $2 a day. 7:15 p.m. March 21, McConomy.

"The Square" (Egypt/USA) -- Oscar-nominated documentary depicting the Egyptian revolution of 2011 from its roots in Tahrir Square and updated with new footage. 4:30 p.m. March 22, McConomy.

"Web Junkie" (China/Israel/USA) -- A look at a Beijing rehab center where Chinese teens who suffer from "Internet addiction" are deprogrammed. Director Q&A. 7:15 p.m. March 22, McConomy.

"The Cleaner" (Peru) -- A fatal epidemic in Lima has created a world of urban desolation and the job of human corpse disposal for a man who finds and looks after an 8-year-old boy orphaned by the disease. Director Q&A. 4 p.m. March 24 at Carlow's Kresge Theater and 7:30 p.m. March 25 at McConomy.

"Eat Sleep Die" (Sweden) -- It's an all too common story with a foreign accent about a 21-year-old tomboy Muslim immigrant in southern Sweden. When her factory employer cuts back, she struggles to find a new job and take care of her sickly father at the same time. Screens with Goodman short, "Plant Closing." 7:15 p.m. March 26, McConomy.

"Sofia's Last Ambulance" (Bulgaria/Germany/Croatia) -- A look at Bulgaria's capital and its deteriorating ambulance and emergency response system. Screens with Goodman short, "Nurse." 7:15 p.m. March 27, McConomy.

Short Film Competition -- Showcase for shorts, 8 minutes each or less, with the theme of work. Cash prizes will be awarded, reception provided and admission free. 7:15 p.m. March 28, Melwood.

"Open City of Amereida" (Chile/USA) -- In 1970, students and teachers from the faculty of Architecture at the Catholic University of Valparaiso founded the Open City of Amereida in Ritoque, Chile. This documentary examines the origins, history and cultural legacy of the community. Director Q&A. 9 p.m. March 28, Melwood.

"GriGris" (Chad/France) -- Noir drama, set in a Chadian town, where a one-a-kind dancer becomes entangled in criminal work. Performance by Nego Gato, Afro-Brazilian Music and Dance Ensemble. 6 p.m. March 29, McConomy.

"Madame Presidenta: Why Not U.S.? Vamos Meninas!" (USA/Brazil) -- Director and suffragette descendant Heather Arnet, mindful of how many other countries have elected female presidents, travels to Brazil to investigate dynamic shifts in attitudes on this subject in just one generation. Director Q&A. 7 p.m. April 2, McConomy.

"Women's Day" (Poland) -- Actress Katarzyna Kwiatkowska portrays a complicated heroine of the labor force in this movie based on a real lawsuit against a supermarket chain that forced humiliating working conditions on its female employees. 5 p.m. April 3, McConomy.

"Trapped" (Iran) -- In this thriller about loyalty and betrayal in contemporary Tehran, a diligent student and a party girl must face scarce money, shady business and a dilemma that will test the limits of friendship. Q&A with director. 7 p.m. April 3, McConomy.

"At Berkeley" (USA) -- Veteran filmmaker Frederick Wiseman trains his eye and camera on the University of California at Berkeley. 4:30 p.m. April 4, McConomy.

"Sweet Dreams" (Rwanda) -- Rwandan women defy the devastation of the genocide to form the country's first all-female drumming troupe and open the country's first ice cream shop in this documentary. Director Q&A and closing night reception. 6:30 p.m. April 5, McConomy.

Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: www.post-gazette.com/madaboutmovies.

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