World Series

IT’S LIKE A TRIP AROUND THE GLOBE: a night in Hong Kong, an afternoon in India, tea in England, dinner in France. The 34th Cleveland International Film Festival takes over Tower City Cinemas March 18-28 with a mix that leans heavily international. "We’re probably, going to have more countries represented than ever before," says artistic director Bill Guentzler. Out of about 150 feature-length films, "I’d say probably 100 will be in a foreign language." Based on Guentzler’s recommendations, we’ve mapped out a globe-spanning itinerary for you, no passport required.

1 | Garbo the Spy (Spain) Full of mystery and international intrigue, this documentary hunts for Garbo, a double agent who helped the Allies win World War II. "It's fascinating to see the lengths this man went to," says Guentzler.
2 | Riff Raff (Ecuador) The festival's first-ever Ecuadorean film, a youthful team effort, was written, filmed, directed and produced by film students in Quito. "It's almost like a bunch of short films — a cohesive film made from a bunch of different stories."
3 | Please, Please Me! (France) Emmanuel Mouret's films are always popular with Cleveland film fest audiences. Mouret directs and stars in a "really, really fun" slapstick comedy about a mishap-prone inventor trying to date the French president's daughter.
4 | Beauty in Trouble (Czech Republic) Popular Czech director Jan Hrebejk is a festival guest this year and winner of its Director's Spotlight Award. Guentzler says this film is one of Hrebejk's best: "a great story of a woman liberating herself and seeing all her options."
5 | Last Train Home (China) This documentary follows a migrant-worker couple who've left their village for work in a large city. Guentzler raves about the cinematography, which captures crowds of people at the train station, traveling for the new year.
6 | My Year Without Sex (Australia) Writer-director Sarah Watt's story of a woman whose doctor forbids her from having sex after an aneurysm was a big critical success Down Under. "It's a great story about life: suburban life, family life," says Guentzler.
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