Travel the world without leaving a verdant five-acre oasis in Queens.

Outdoor Cinema 2018 kicks off at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City on Wednesday, July 11. The 20th annual festival then continues weekly on Wednesday nights through Aug. 29.

Organized with Film Forum and Rooftop Films, this series shows movies from around the world paired with music and cuisine from the subject film’s country. The events are set to start at 7 p.m. with the screenings at sundown.

Attendance is free, but the food is for sale.

The theme is India on July 11 with indy folk singer Rashmi Singh performing and local restaurant Namaste selling food. Then “Monsoon Wedding” screens. Directed by Mira Nair of “Mississippi Masala” fame, this comedy looks at the upper-middle-class Verna family during a nuptial frenzy. First, a daughter pursues a fling because she is reluctant to enter into an arranged marriage with a man she hardly knows. Then costs start to spiral out of control as distant relatives get in on the ritual. At least the weather will be nice, right?

The rest of the Outdoor Cinema 2018 schedule follows.

July 18: “Black Mother” is a documentary on Jamaica. Mixed in with shots of the countryside, prostitutes, pimps, men with missing limbs, a nude woman, and curious youths offer their stories and philosophies on the Caribbean island’s history, politics, culture, and poverty. The director, Khalik Allah, will be there for a Q&A session.

As a special treat, “Symphony of a Sad Sea” will show first. This 12-minute short centers on Hugo, who has fled drug violence in Mexico’s Guerrero to Baja California, which is located south of San Diego on the Pacific Coast. As he ponders the ocean, the 16-year-old describes his younger brother’s brutal murder and his plans to cross the border illegally to reunite with his father.

July 25: Vive le France with “The Young Girls of Rochefort.” In this 1967 musical, real-life sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac play twins who are looking for love in a seaside town. A fair comes for a weekend, and hilarity ensues as each sibling meets a smooth-talking entertainer and the main characters weave a complicated web of romance and extremely unlikely coincidences.

Aug. 1: The World Cup will have ended, but Brazil will be the focus of this night with the movie “Loveling.” Set in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, a matriarch lives in a crumbling house with her large family. Her teenage son is a handball star who gets recruited to play professionally in Germany. She grows anxious about losing her son, but she also realizes that this is her chance to get a high-school diploma and improve her life.

Aug. 8: Spain rules this night with “Spirit of the Beehive.” This mystical drama takes place in 1940 in a small town where two sisters watch the original “Frankenstein” from a cinema truck. Later, the younger one conjures up her own monster spirit with help from her older sister’s prodding, her wacky mother, her bee-obsessed father, and a soldier who was wounded in the Civil War. Some of the scenes resemble ones in “Frankenstein.”

Aug. 15: The Japanese classic “Tampopo” hilariously mixes sex and food thanks to a ramen shop owner’s quest for the perfect noodle.

Aug. 22: The Turkish documentary “Kedi” looks at felines—Aslan, Bengü, Deniz, Duman, Gamsiz, Parçasi, Psikopat, and Sari—who live on the streets of Istanbul, a city famous for its roaming cats.

The 16-minute short “CatCam,” which displays footage and images from a tiny camera that a feline wore on his collar, screens first.

Aug. 29: The recently restored 1960 Italian comedy “The Passionate Thief” unfolds in Rome on New Year’s Eve. Main characters include a beautiful female movie extra who is desperate for attention, a handsome pickpocket, and a drunken American.

Images: Emily Hawkes


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