Films About Mideast, Castro, Mel Brooks In New Haven

This week, New Haven Free Public Library will show films two very diverse men who have had an impact on the 20th century. The library also will begin a series of movies focusing on the Middle East.

The "Fidel Castro and Mel Brooks: Rebels in Comedy and Communism" event commemorates the year both men turn 90. The day of films begins on Saturday, July 30, at 1 p.m. with a screening of "The Twelve Chairs." The 1970 film was directed by Brooks as his follow-up to "The Producers." The action takes place in 1920s Soviet Union, where Brooks and Frank Langella search for jewels hidden inside a chair lost during the revolution.

"Fidel: The Untold Story," a 2001 documentary about Castro that includes rarely seen footage from the Cuban State Archives, follows at 3 p.m

Both will be shown at the Mitchell branch of the library, at 37 Harrison St. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.

Also this week, the Ives branch of the library, at 133 Elm St., begins its "Midsummer Middle East Mini-Film Series" with a screening of "Speed Sisters," a 2015 documentary about the first all-female car racing team in the Middle East. It will be shown on Thursday, July 28, at 6 p.m. The series at the Ives will continue with the documentary "On the Banks of the Tigris: Hidden Story of Iraqi Music," on Thursday, Aug. 4, at 6 p.m.

The series will then move to the Mitchell branch on Saturday, Aug. 13, at 2 p.m. with "Falafelism: The Politics of Food in the Middle East." That screening will immediately be followed by a rescreening of "On the Banks of the Tigris: Hidden Story of Iraqi Music."

All of the movies are in Arabic with subtitles and admission is free.

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