Know what? There are places other than Hollywood and people other than Michael Bay that make and distribute movies. And sometimes, because you're lucky enough to live in such a multicultural city, you actually have a chance to see them. Here's where you can do just that:
Russian Cultural Center
In the mood for a documentary on Rachmaninoff? How about a film following the travels of a noted pianist through the former Soviet Union? If you're sipping your Stoli, smoking your Soviet ciggies and just need that final touch to turn you from Derrick to Dmitry, try the Russian Cultural Center's film offerings. Screenings, which are often documentaries, usually end with discussion, so you may find yourself in heated debate with prominent Russian filmmakers. The Center also offers language classes so you don't have to read all those subtitles. Ne za chto.
Can I afford it? The fee, if there is one, is usually around $8 if you're not an RCC member.
You don't automatically think of a fine-arts museum as a source for great foreign film, but the MFAH does a really good job of supplying quality movies from many different places across the globe. Many of the flicks are associated with events, such as the homage to Michelangelo Antonioni they screened after the master filmmaker died. Foreign films also crop up as part of the "Movies Houstonians Love" film series. You might expect the place to be packed with film snobs eager to show how cultured they are, the experience of watching a movie at Brown is quite the opposite. Almost every time I've gone, the audience was mostly comprised of students and regular folk.
Can I afford it? Tickets are around $7 per adult if you're not an MFAH member or a part of their Film Buffs group.
Angelika Film Center
The Angelika is a well-known spot for viewing foreign film. Academy Award nominees Persepolis (France) and Mongol (Kazakhstan) were shown here, as well as many other foreign films that made it this far past Ellis Island. The cool thing about the Angelika is that they often get movies that are not shown anywhere else in Houston. Not to mention there is something appealing about a theater in the heart of the city.
Can I afford it? Angelika pricing is like that of a regular movie theater. You paid full price to see Dark Knight, remember?
Rice Cinema has offered little-known films from Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and other exotic places. Sometimes you can catch older films that may have already played at other venues.
Can I afford it? If those poor students can, so can you.
River Oaks Theater
From its Art Deco design to its posh address, the River Oaks Theater is a fun place to go if you like cocktails and foreign film.
Can I afford it? Yes, if you don't plan to booze it up too much at the bar.