Fall films, food, fun

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A reviewer described his appearance as an Iranian Johnny Cash. His name is Mr. Badii and his face is sad and shaggy.

He is the central character of "Taste of Cherry," an Iranian film chosen as part of this fall's free Friday Film Series. Badii drives the streets of Tehran looking for someone to bury his body after he commits suicide.

The instructions are simple.

Badii is going to take sleeping pills, lie down in a hole, and go to sleep. Whoever agrees to the task will return at 6 a.m., help Badii up if he is alive, and bury him if he is dead.

No one wants to do it.

It is a slow look at the Iranian people and countryside.

Director Abbas Kiarostami has been making films in Iran since 1969, but few of them have reached the United States

"Taste of Cherry" is the third film in the Free Friday Film Series. The series begins tonight.

This is the third year for the series, which is held every Friday in the fall and winter at Centennial Hall. The series features art-house and foreign films followed by free wine and cheese and time for discussion.

The lineup of films is decided by a vote of the film committee.

"The input we received last year was that people wanted to see more contemporary films. Before we were showing the classics," said Erin Gilbertson, director of programs and events for the Steamboat Springs Arts Council. "It's hard to please everyone, but we try to satisfy every taste by showing a little bit of everything."

Bill Hamilton, who co-organized the film series with John Cookson and Greg Hughey, hopes to see it grow this year to encompass student films.

Showing student films was his reason for getting involved with the film series in the first place.

The winter series will feature short films by students from Lowell Whiteman School and Steamboat Springs High School and students from a charter school for the performing arts that Hamilton helped to start in New Jersey. (Hamilton taught theater and film in New Jersey for most of his career.)

"Being an educator my whole life, my interest is with children," Hamilton said. "It's important for the public to see what kids can create."

Hamilton would like to see Steamboat, through a springboard of the Friday Film Series, host an under 18 film festival.

The free Friday Film Series, Hamilton said, should be a place for people to gather and talk about film and a place for ideas to be born.

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