A scene from ‘Viva Cuba’
The protagonists of Viva Cuba


Pass the Popcorn, Por Favor

With Oscar season upon us, it’s a fine time to take in some of the less ballyhooed films out there. You can do just that this Thursday through Sunday at the Central Michigan International Film Festival, where a variety of independent movies from around the world will be screened at Central Michigan University’s Park Library Auditorium and at Celebration! Cinema. Some highlights:

  • Friday
    6 p.m.Viva Cuba. Directed by Juan Carlos Cremata and Iraida Malberti Cabrera, this drama follows the two young Cubans who run away in hopes of saving their friendship when one child’s parents decide to move.
    9:45 p.m.Declaration of War. Directed, written by, and starring Valerie Donzelli, this French film a young couple’s fight to save their son after he is diagnosed with a brain tumor.
  • Saturday
    1:15 p.m.Call Me Kuchu. Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall’s 2012 Ugandan documentary chronicles the struggle of the African nation’s first openly gay man to defeat proposed legislation that would make homosexuality a crime punishable by death.
    10:30 p.m. — Local directors take the spotlight in a screening Michigan-made short subjects including Animus, Death of the World’s Last Artist, Lemon Lane, and Vindication.
  • Sunday
    NoonReportero. Filmed in the United States and Mexico, this 2012 documentary selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival shows Mexican reporters Jesús Blancornelas and Sergio Haro attempting to challenge their country’s drug cartels and corrupt politicians during the cartel-instigated crime wave that left 50 journalists either dead or disappeared in Baja California.
    8:45 p.m.Le Havre. Writer and director Aki Kaurismäki explores the impact of a young undocumented immigrant on the French port city of Le Havre.

GO The Central Michigan International Film Festival runs February 14 to 17 in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Tickets are $10 for a book of ten, or $4 each. For info, cmfilmfestival.com or 989-774-2694.

Where to Stay: Ginkgo Bed & Bistro (309 N. Main St., 989-773-8733, ginkgotreeinn.com) has a 10 rooms, two suites, and a full bar and bistro in a restored fin-de-siècle mansion; rates range from $99 to $210 a night. Pleasant Dreams Bed & Breakfast (400 E. Wisconsin St., 989-772-2543, pleasantdreamsbb.com) is an antiques-filled Victorian within walking distance of Central Michigan University; rates range from $70 to $130 a night.

Where to Eat: Camille’s on the River (506 W. Broadway, 989-773-0259, camillesontheriver.com) is a 45-seat intimate restaurant with a menu of seasonally changing regional dishes and upscale comfort food. Mount Pleasant Brewing Company (614 W. Pickard St., 989-400-4666, mtpleasantbrew.com) serves local microbrews (Railyard Raspberry Wheat, Cow Catcher Red) and robust soups and sandwiches.


Photograph: Courtesy of the Central Michigan lnternational Film Festival