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Foreign Film Series

Welcome to the Foreign Film Website!

Back to Encore!

Starting with our next film, Mao’s Last Dancer, screenings will be in Encore and Simulcast on Ch. 972. Post film Discussions will be adjacent to the theater – watch for directions in the theater lobby.


About Foreign Films

We are glad that you are visiting here to learn about foreign films at Riderwood. On the second and the fourth Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. on Channel 972 you may watch films that have been produced outside the United States. The critically acclaimed films all have subtitles or are close captioned, whether the dialogue is in English or another language. We will list upcoming films on this web page, so remember to visit us again.

Suggest A Film

We welcome your recommendations of films that you would like us to screen. Send your recommendations to Nancy Pawliger, Foreign Film Committee Chairperson. Riderwood residents can contact Nancy  at

Watch / Participate

  • Attend movies in Encore Theater
  • Hearing Assistive Devices in Encore
  • Watch movies on Channel 972
  • When: All films are shown at 7:00 p.m.
  • Participate / Discuss – Watch for announcements of film discussions.

Dance As A Means To Express Creativity

September 28 – Strictly Ballroom

September 14 – Mao’s Last Dancer

Time: 7:30 p.m. Where: Encore Theater AND Simulcast on Ch. 972.

Discussion: Immediately following film in the ancillary Encore Studio Area – watch for a sign for directions in the theater foyer.

Dance as an expression of freedom, by Martin Schock, MD.

We hope you enjoyed the two films in the foreign film committee’s series of films whose
theme was dance: Black Orpheus with its colorful dancing and Bossa Nova music and the Japanese film, Shall We Dance?, with ballroom dancing.

Our next film, Mao’s Last Dancer, is an Australian film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2009. It mixes politics, love, and passion, with ballet.

This biographical drama is the true story of the ballet dancer Li Cunxin. The screenplay was written by Jan Sardi and directed by Bruce Beresford. The film takes place during the era of Mao’s cultural revolution. Li Cunxin was an 11-year-old boy living in a small rural commune in Shandong province when he was chosen because of his physical characteristics to attend the Begjin dance academy and become a ballet dancer. This reflects the Chinese attitude regarding children who were chosen for State purposes with disregard for individual and family desires.

After completing years of arduous training, he is allowed to come to the Houston City Ballet in Texas, as an exchange student. Li Cunxin is introduced to modern western city sites and Concepts of artistic free expression. When he defects to join an American ballet group his parents suffer humiliation because of his actions but, after several years, he has a reunion with them ty trashand his family in China.

The ballet training and the use of ballet takes center stage and is quite impressive. The film was nominated for numerous awards including best film, best director, and best original score at the 2009 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA).

The discussion following the film will be led by Mary Ann Stroker and John Szabo, two
Riderwood residents familiar with dance and film. Mary Ann Stroker has been interested in dance from an early age including classical, jazz, and modern dance. She believes that dance is a medium for all of life; it knows no borders, and anyone can experience this gift of motion. John Szabo who teaches conduct and ethics for attorneys at American University and George Washington University Law School joins her for his return as a film discussant.

We hope you will enjoy this showing of Mao’s Last Dancer in the Encore Theater and on Channel 972, and, will join us after the film for discussion.

Films About Dance

August 10 – Black Orpheus

August 24 – Shall We Dance?

Dance As Portrayed In Foreign Films

By Martin Schock, MD. & Nancy Pawliger

Dance transmits culture, emotions, tells stories and can reflect a historical moment or place of origin. It has been performed and has inspired artists for as long as humankind has been in existence. In its many forms it can be an expression of recreation and entertainment, an expression of traditions and rituals, and an artistic expression of emotions, feelings, and ideas. Dance is thrilling to watch, fosters connections, and can be very freeing, so the Foreign Film Committee will celebrate the art of dance in our foreign film presentations.

Black Orpheus

Black Orpheus is a romantic tragedy made in Brazil and released in 1959. The screenplay was written by Marcel Camus, Jacques Viot and Vimicius de Mores based on the Greek mythology of Orpheus and Eurydice. It was directed by Marcel Camus and stars Breno Mello and Marpessa Dawn.

Click for sull-sized flyer
Click for full-sized Flyer (PDF)


The setting of the film is Rio’s Carnival with Brazilian music and dancing. Orfeo is a magical great musician who sings while playing his guitar. He makes the sun come up in the morning and mesmerizes the people around him. He sees Eurydice who has come from a country town to stay with her cousin in the Rio area at the time of Carnival. She believes death is following her and she is afraid.The two meet and fall in love with marriage in their future. When Eurydice disappears, Orfeo sets out to find her. She dies and, just as in the myth, he follows her to the underworld. He is unable to bring her back to life and the rest of the story unfolds to its final tragic ending.

The film is noted for its soundtrack by two Brazilian composers, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfá whose songs have become Bossa Nova classics. The cinematography is colorful, and the music helps emphasize the tensions and drama in the story.

Black Orpheus won the Palme d’Or at the1959 Cannes Film Festival, the 1960 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the 1960 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film and was nominated for the 1961 BAFTA Award for Best Film.

We hope you will enjoy the film and will remember to look for new foreign films on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.

Shall We Dance?


Click for full-sized flyer (PDF)

Previously Shown Films & Discussions

Click ▶ to View archival listings previously shown movies as well as related discussions.

Record Movies on Channel 972

Learn how to record programing on Riderwood TV, Channel 972:

  • How-To record Channel 972.
  • Help – TV – learn about accessing programing with commonly used remotes for Comcast / Xfinity.