The Dietrich Theater typically presents four seasonal film festivals a year. The theater’s film festivals bring in patrons from all over northeastern Pennsylvania and are well loved.

However, this year the theater had to cancel two of its seasonal film festivals due to COVID-19. The theater has received a lot of interest and requests about its film festivals, so its staff decided to pull a few of the best movies from the lineups of the missed spring and summer fests to bring you a Dietrich Theater Mini-Fest.

“We wanted to bridge the gap between the winter and fall festival by bringing you a Mini-Fest,” said Executive Director Erica Rogler. Mini-Fest will show five foreign and independent films with staggered show times Aug. 7-13.

Film booker Ronnie Harvey has handpicked five top films to show during the theater’s Mini-Fest. Films include Cinema Paradiso, Emma, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, The Tobacconist, and The Truth.

A 1988 classic, Cinema Paradiso follows the story of famous director Salvatore Di Vita’s return home. He reminiscences about his childhood and his relationship with Alfredo, a projectionist at Cinema Paradiso, where Salvatore fell in love with film making. The duo spend many hours discussing films, with Alfredo painstakingly teaching Salvatore the skills that became a stepping stone for the young boy into the world of film making. The film brings the audience through the changes in cinema and the dying trade of traditional film making, editing and screening.

Harvey said he picked this particular film because “Cinema Paradiso is all about the magic of cinema. It’s one of the most romantic and influential foreign films of all times and is the perfect film to connect then to now.”

Emma, Jane Austen’s beloved comedy about finding your equal and earning your happy ending, was supposed to be shown in the theater’s spring festival. Emma tells the story of handsome, clever, and rich, Emma Woodhouse. She is a restless queen bee without rivals in her sleepy little town. In this glittering satire of social class and the pain of growing up, Emma must adventure through misguided matches and romantic missteps to find the love that has been there all along.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire, also supposed to be shown in the spring festival, follows a young painter who is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of a woman who has just left the convent. She arrives under the guise of companionship, observing her by day and secretly painting her by firelight at night. As the two women orbit one another, intimacy and attraction grow as they share first moments of freedom. The portrait soon becomes a collaborative act and testament to their love. Portrait of a Lady on Fire was nominated for Best Foreign Language film at the Golden Globes.

The Tobacconist is based on the international bestseller by Robert Seethaler. The film tells the story of 17-year-old Franz’s journey to Vienna to apprentice at a tobacco shop. There he meets Sigmund Freud and over time the two very different men form a singular friendship. When Franz falls desperately in love with a music-hall dancer, he seeks advice from the renowned psychoanalyst, who admits that the female sex is as big a mystery to him as it is to Franz.

The Truth is a drama about French cinema star, Fabienne Dangeville, and how publishing her memoirs quickly invoke a stormy reunion with her daughter Lumir. The reunion between mother and daughter quickly turn to confrontation: truths will be told, accounts settled, loves and resentments confessed.

Enjoy these carefully selected films and don’t forget to order tickets in advance, as seating is limited. Harvey said “This Mini Festival is for the people who have missed festival films and is a way for us to get back to a little bit of normal. These films are the best of what we couldn’t bring you in the spring and summer.”

Advance tickets and a full movie schedule are available at Go online or call the theater at 570-836-1022 x3 for more information.

The Dietrich is following CDC guidelines for mask wearing and social distancing. Face masks are required to enter the theater and must be worn at all times when navigating the theater. Once seated, masks may be removed to enjoy popcorn and other concession items.

Cinema Paradiso

Show times: Aug. 7 at 7 p.m., Aug. 11 at noon, Aug. 13 at noon; Rating: R; Runtime: 155 mins; Language: Italian; Director: Giuseppe Tornatore; Stars: Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale, Antonella Attili.


Show times: Aug. 7 at noon, Aug. 8 at 4 p.m., Aug. 9 at noon, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m.; Rating: PG; Runtime: 124 mins; Language: English; Director: Autumn de Wilde; Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Mia Goth.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Show times: Aug. 8 at 7 p.m., Aug. 10 at noon, Aug. 13 at 7 p.m.; Rating: R; Runtime: 122 mins; Language: French, Italian; Director: Céline Sciamma; Stars: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami.


Show times: Aug. 7 at 4 p.m., Aug. 9 at 7 p.m., Aug. 12 at noon; Rating: NR; Runtime: 117 mins; Language: German, Czech; Director: Nikolaus Leytner; Stars: Simon Morzé, Bruno Ganz, Johannes Krisch.

The Truth

Show times: Aug. 8 at noon, Aug. 9 at 4 p.m., Aug. 10 at 7 p.m., Aug. 12 at 7 p.m.; Rating: PG; Runtime: 106 mins; Language: French | English; Director: Hirokazu Koreeda; Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, Ethan Hawke.

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