Scene's Must-See Picks at the Cleveland International Film Festival for Monday, April 9

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Ramen Heads

Something that started out as a cheap post-war meal in Japan, ramen has become an international sensation. Dubbed "ramen heads," the dish's most ardent fans travel the world in search of the perfect bowl. Japanese director Koki Shigeno documents ramen mania in this film that includes interviews with everyone from a guy who serves 800 bowls of the stuff a day to the chef who still cooks with a traditional earthenware pot. It screens at 12:10 p.m. at Tower City Cinemas.

Star Boys

Told from the perspective of two 12-year-old boys, Star Boys takes place in a small town in Finland where a sexual revolution has started. When their parents adopt an open relationship, the kids don't know exactly what to think about their sexual liberation or how to handle the situation. A member of a Finnish group of indie directors, Visa Koiso-Kanttila has some serious credibility and has been making films since the late '90s. Star Boys screens at 3:45 p.m. at Tower City Cinemas.

The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue

A nurse/occasional waitress and a construction worker strike up an unlikely relationship in The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue, the latest effort from Japanese director Yuya Ishii (The Great Passage, Our Family). Ultimately, the film "underscores the leaps of faith involved with opening up to other people," as it's put in the description of the movie that appears in the CIFF program guide. The movie screens at 4:50 p.m. at Tower City Cinemas.

The Changeover

Based in New Zealand, filmmakers Miranda Harcourt and Stuart McKenzie originally began working together on the 2003 feature For Good. With The Changeover, they share directing duties for the first time. The film centers on a 16-year-old girl who lives with her mother and younger brother in a poor suburb just outside of Christchurch. In order to save her brother's life, the girl must engage in a supernatural battle with a sinister peddler. It screens at 5:25 p.m. at Tower City Cinemas.

Freedom for the Wolf

The recent U.S. presidential election and its aftermath has made many critics question whether democracy has begun to die a slow death. Freedom for the Wolf, a new documentary from Rupert Russell, looks at "illiberal democracies" in Hong Kong and Japan. The Harvard-educated Russell has written for publications such as Salon, The Independent and The Huffington Post. The movie shows at 6:10 p.m. at Tower City Cinemas. A film forum discussion follows the screening. It also shows again tomorrow morning at 11:40.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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