Hirschfield International Film Series 2018-2019

Extraordinary foreign and independent films, screened on Saturdays at 3:00 and 8:00 p.m. in Dana Auditorium at the Sunderland Language Center, plus special events and lectures (times vary; see listings for details). Free and open to the public.

Please note that all screenings will take place in Dana Auditorium.

We are programming the series on a month to month basis this year so check back regularly or subscribe to ArtsMail to stay informed about upcoming screenings.

Some of the works in this series may be inappropriate for children; we regret that we are unable to preview the material.

Skip to a movie listing: A Fantastic Woman | 2018 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour​ | BPM (Beats Per Minute) | Won’t You Be My Neighbor? | Lemonade | I Am Not A Witch | BorderWoman at War | The Dark | Shoplifters | Sorry To Bother You | Children of Men | Burning | Hale County This Morning This Evening | Cold War | The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows | Memoir of War | Transit | Zama | Too Late To Die Young | Ash Is Purest White | Dogman |



September 15, Saturday

A Fantastic Woman

Una Mujer Fantástica (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Spanish with English subtitles.

(Sebastián Lelio, Chile | Germany | Spain | USA, 2018, 1h 40min) Free

Q&A with Screenwriter Gonzalo Maza following each screening.

Marina, a transgender woman who works as a waitress and moonlights as a nightclub singer, is bowled over by the death of her older boyfriend.

Director's Statement:

I see A FANTASTIC WOMAN as a film of aesthetic splendor, narrative vigor, tension and emotion. Polytonal, multi-experiential, multi-emotional. It’s a film that is both a celebration and examination of its main character: Marina Vidal. What will the viewers see when they see Marina? A woman, a man, or the sum of both? They will see a human being who constantly changes before their eyes, who flows, vibrates, and modifies herself. But what they are seeing isn’t precisely what they are seeing, and this condition turns Marina into a vortex that attracts the viewer’s fantasy and desire, inviting them to explore the limits of their own empathy. -Sebastián Lelio

Winner: Best Foreign Language Film of the Year - Academy Award

Read about this film on IMDB>>


September 22, Saturday

2018 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(2018, 1h 30min) Free

The 2018 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour is a 91-minute theatrical program of seven short films selected from this year’s Festival, widely considered the premier showcase for short films and the launchpad for many now-prominent independent filmmakers for more than 30 years. Including fiction, documentary and animation from around the world, the 2018 program offers new audiences a taste of what the Festival offers, from laugh-out-loud comedy to contemplative reflections of the world we live in.

Program:

Maude
U.S.A, 10 minutes. Written and directed by Anna Margaret Hollyman.
Teeny thought it was just another routine babysitting job – until she's shocked to meet the client. As the day goes on, Teeny decides to become the woman she had no idea she always wanted to be...until she gets caught.

Baby Brother
U.S.A., 14 minutes. Written and directed by Kamau Bilal.
The director's baby brother moves back in with his parents.

The Burden
Sweden, 14 minutes. Written and directed by Niki Lindroth von Bahr.
A dark musical enacted in a modern shopping center, situated next to a large freeway. The employees of the various commercial venues deal with boredom and existential anxiety by performing cheerful musical turns. The apocalypse is a tempting liberator.

Hair Wolf
Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction
U.S.A., 12 minutes. Written and directed by Mariama Diallo.
In a black hair salon in gentrifying Brooklyn, the local residents fend off a strange new monster: white women intent on sucking the lifeblood from black culture.

JEOM
U.S.A., South Korea, 4 minutes. Written and directed by Kangmin Kim.
A father and a son both have the same big birthmark on their butt. Believing that the two birthmarks are connected, the son scrubs his father's birthmark to remove it – but he just can't get rid of it.

Fauve
Short Film Special Jury Award
Canada, 16 minutes. Written and directed by Jérémy Comte.
Set in a surface mine, two boys sink into a seemingly innocent power game, with Mother Nature as the sole observer.

Matria
Short Film Grand Jury Prize, Presented by YouTube
Spain, 21 minutes. Written and directed by Álvaro Gago.
Faced with a challenging daily routine, Ramona tries to take refuge in her relationships with her daughter and granddaughter.

Read more about the Short Film Tour>>


September 29, Saturday

BPM (Beats Per Minute)

120 battements par minute (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In French with English subtitles. Co-sponsored by the Department of French.

(Robin Campillo, France, 2017, 2h 23min) Free

In Paris in the early 1990s, a group of activists goes to battle for those stricken with HIV/AIDS, taking on sluggish government agencies and major pharmaceutical companies in bold, invasive actions. The organization is ACT UP, and its members, many of them gay and HIV-positive, embrace their mission with a literal life-or-death urgency. Amid rallies, protests, fierce debates and ecstatic dance parties, the newcomer Nathan falls in love with Sean, the group’s radical firebrand, and their passion sparks against the shadow of mortality as the activists fight for a breakthrough.

Read about this film on IMDb>>


October 6, Saturday

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

Co-sponsored by The Department of Music, The Mahaney Center for the Arts, and The Office of Academic Affairs.

(Morgan Neville, USA, 2018, 1h 34min) Free

Q&A with Special Guest Dr. François Scarborough Clemmons

For over thirty years, Fred Rogers, an unassuming minister, puppeteer, writer and producer was beamed daily into homes across America. In his beloved television program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred and his cast of puppets and friends spoke directly to young children about some of life’s weightiest issues, in a simple, direct fashion. There hadn’t been anything like Mr. Rogers on television before and there hasn’t been since.  In Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (Twenty Feet from Stardom) looks back on the legacy of Fred Rogers, focusing on his radically kind ideas. While the nation changed around him, Fred Rogers stood firm in his beliefs about the importance of protecting childhood. Neville pays tribute to this legacy with the latest in his series of highly engaging, moving documentary portraits of essential American artists.

Dr. François Scarborough Clemmons performed the role of Officer Clemmons for 25 years on the Emmy and Peabody award winning television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.  He was the Alexander Twilight Artist in Residence and Director of the Martin Luther King Spiritual Choir at Middlebury College from 1997 - 2013.  We are overjoyed to invite François back to Middlebury with his award winning film Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Read more about this film on IMDB>>  


October 13, Saturday

Lemonade

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In English and Romanian with English subtitles. Co-sponsored by the Vermont International Film Foundation.

(Ioana Uricaru, Romania | Canada | Germany | Sweden, 2018, 1h 28min) Free

Q&A with Special Guests Ioana Uricaru and Mãlina Manovici 

While working in the US on a temporary visa as a caretaker, Mara, a 30 year-old single mother from Romania, marries Daniel, an American. After the arrival of her son Dragos, everything seems to have fallen perfectly into place. When the process of getting a green card veers unexpectedly off course, however, Mara is faced with abuses of power on every level and forced to answer a dark question about herself – how far would you go to get what you want?

Please join us after each screening for a conversation with Director and Barksdale Jr. Assistant Professor of Film & Media Culture, Ioana Uricaru and lead actress Mãlina Manovici.

Read more about this film on IMDB>> 


October 20, Saturday

I Am Not A Witch

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In English and Nyanja with English Subtitles. Co-sponsored by the Vermont International Film Foundation.

(Rungano Nyoni, UK | France | Germany | Zambia, 2018, 1h 28min) Free

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

I AM NOT A WITCH came about because of a huge spate of witch accusations that took place over a particularly dry summer in Zambia. What drew me in particular was that these accusations of witchcraft were almost always aimed at Women. Naturally this added to my curiosity. I soon saw this phenomena repeated throughout different parts of Africa. Eventually my research took me to Ghana. For over a month I stayed in one of the oldest Witch Camps in the world (over 200 years old) – the first foreigner to sleep there apparently. It’s my stay at the ‘witch camp’ that informed the script. I observed the life at the camp, how they were organized, the routines and characters. For example the character of Tembo was inspired by the Keeper whose father and father’s father were charged to look after and oversee the witches’ welfare. A job that had been passed down his family for over 100 years. I observed how limited these women’s lives had become based on nothing more than hearsay. I also witnessed the hostility of the locals towards the women in the camp. What was particularly shocking in Zambia is that it’s a country dominated by Bembas (my Maternal Tribe). The Bemba people are Matriarchal. We pride ourselves in the equality between Men and Women. Women were in the army and police long before many Western Countries admitted them. Women could divorce just as easily as Men. Women can own land and inherit just as a Man does. Even our names are gender neutral. It’s this apparent contradiction that held my curiosity.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>


October 27, Saturday

Border

Gräns (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Swedish with English subtitles. Co-sponsored by the Vermont International Film Foundation.

(Ali Abbasi, Sweden | Denmark, 2018, 1h 41min) Free

Customs officer Tina is known for her extraordinary sense of smell. It’s almost as if she can sniff out the guilt on anyone hiding something. But when Vore, a suspicious-looking man, walks past her, her abilities are challenged for the first time ever. Tina can sense Vore is hiding something she can’t identify. Even worse, she feels a strange attraction to him. As Tina develops a special bond with Vore and discovers his true identity, she also realizes the truth about herself. Tina, like Vore, does not belong to this world. Her entire existence has been one big lie and now she has to choose: keep living the lie or embrace Vore’s terrifying revelations.

Winner: Un Certain Regard Award at 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Read more about this film on IMDB>>


November 3, Saturday

Woman at War

Kona fer í stríð (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Icelandic with English subtitles. Co-sponsored by the Vermont International Film Foundation.

(Benedikt Erlingsson, Iceland | France | Ukraine, 2018, 1h 41min) Free

Halla is a fifty-year-old independent woman. But behind the scenes of a quiet routine, she leads a double life as a passionate environmental activist. Known to others only by her alias “The Woman of the Mountain,” Halla secretly wages a one-woman-war on the local aluminium industry. As Halla's actions grow bolder, from petty vandalism to outright industrial sabotage, she succeeds in pausing the negotiations between the Icelandic government and the corporation building a new aluminium smelter in the mountains. But right as she begins planning her biggest and boldest operation yet, she receives an unexpected letter that changes everything. Her application to adopt a child has finally been accepted and there is a little girl waiting for her in Ukraine. As Halla prepares to abandon her role as saboteur and saviour of the Highlands to fulfil her dream of becoming a mother, she decides to plot one final attack to deal the aluminum industry a crippling blow.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>

 


November 10, Saturday

The Dark

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

Co-sponsored by the Department of German.

(Justin P. Lange, Austria | Canada, 2018, 1h 35min) Free

Once upon a dark, dark time, there was a girl, lonely, undead and bloodthirsty. Behind her a dark, dark past – a curse. Hidden in the dark, dark woods, she tirelessly haunts her childhood home. Mina (Nadia Alexander) is a damaged soul, and tears to pieces anyone who dares enter her hunting ground. When she meets Alex (Toby Nichols), a disfigured and blind boy, brought to her by mysterious circumstances, her animalistic cannibal instincts seem to strangely fade away. As this uncanny friendship grows, little by little, both of these lost children learn how to reach out to the hints of light left within.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>

 


November 17, Saturday

Shoplifters

Manbiki kazoku (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Japanese with English subtitles

(Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan, 2018, 2h 01min) Free

After one of their shoplifting sessions, Osamu and his son come across a little girl in the freezing cold. At first reluctant to shelter the girl, Osamu’s wife agrees to take care of her after learning of the hardships she faces. Although the family is poor, barely making enough money to survive through petty crime, they seem to live happily together until an unforeseen incident reveals hidden secrets, testing the bonds that unite them...

Winner: Palme d'Or at 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Read more about this film on IMDB>>

Trailer:

 


December 1, Saturday

Sorry to Bother You

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(Boots Riley, USA, 2018, 1h 51min) Free

In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, black telemarketer Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) discovers a magical key to professional success, which propels him into a macabre universe of "power- calling" that leads to material glory. But the upswing in Cassius' career raises serious red flags with his girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson), a performance artist and minimum-wage striver who's secretly part of a Banksy-style activist collective. As his friends and co-workers organize in protest of corporate oppression, Cassius falls under the spell of his company's cocaine-snorting CEO Steve Lift (Armie Hammer), who offers him a salary beyond his wildest dreams. A surreal comedy about rising up and selling out, Sorry to Bother You marks the feature-film debut of Boots Riley — founder and front man of the Bay Area hip-hop collective The Coup — whose evocative story-raps formed the basis for the film's unique, feverishly inventive screenplay. The film also features performances from Omari Hardwick, Jermaine Fowler, Steven Yeun, Danny Glover and Terry Crews, as well as the voice-over talent of Patton Oswalt, David Cross and Rosario Dawson.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>

Trailer:


January 12, Saturday

Children of Men

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(Alfonso Cuarón, USA, 2007, 1h 49min) Free

Q&A with Screenwriter Hawk Ostby following each screening.

No children. No future. No hope. In the year 2027, eighteen years since the last baby was born, disillusioned Theo (Clive Owen) becomes an unlikely champion of the human race when he is asked by his former lover (Julianne Moore) to escort a young pregnant woman out of the country as quickly as possible. In a thrilling race against time, Theo will risk everything to deliver the miracle the whole world has been waiting for. Co-starring Michael Caine, filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men "Lifts you to the rafters, transporting you with the greatness of its filmmaking. The action is swift, ferocious and spectacularly choreographed." (The New York Times)

Read more about this film on IMDB>>

 


 

January 19, Saturday

Burning

Beoning (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Korean and English with English subtitles

(Chang-dong Lee, South Korea, 2018, 2h 28min) Free

An introverted young man, Jongsu (Ah-in YOO), finds romantic interest in a young woman from his past, Haemi (Jong-seo JUN). One day she returns from a trip with Ben (Steven YEUN), a wealthy and sophisticated young man. When Haemi disappears, Jongsu becomes suspicious of Ben and his mysterious hobby.

Winner: FIPRESCI prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Read more about this film on IMDB>>


January 26, Saturday

Hale County This Morning, This Evening

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(RaMell Ross, USA, 2018, 1h 16min) Free

An inspired and intimate portrait of a place and its people, Hale County This Morning, This Evening looks at the lives of Daniel Collins and Quincy Bryant, two young African American men from rural Hale County, Alabama, over the course of five years. Collins attends college in search of opportunity while Bryant becomes a father to an energetic son in an open-ended, poetic form that privileges the patiently observed interstices of their lives. The audience is invited to experience the mundane and monumental, birth and death, the quotidian and the sublime. These moments combine to communicate the region’s deep culture and provide glimpses of the complex ways the African American community’s collective image is integrated into America’s visual imagination.

In his directorial debut, award-winning photographer and director RaMell Ross offers a refreshingly direct approach to documentary that fills in the gaps between individual black male icons. Hale County This Morning, This Evening allows the viewer an emotive impression of the Historic South, trumpeting the beauty of life and consequences of the social construction of race, while simultaneously offering a testament to dreaming despite the odds.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>


February 16, Saturday

Cold War

Zimna wojna (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Polish, French, German, Russian, Italian, and Croatian with English subtitles

(Pawel Pawlikowski, Poland | UK | France, 2018, 1h 28min) Free

Cold War is a passionate love story between a man and a woman who meet in the ruins of post-war Poland. With vastly different backgrounds and temperaments, they are fatefully mismatched and yet condemned to each other. Set against the background of the Cold War in 1950s Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris, it’s the tale of a couple separated by politics, character flaws and unfortunate twists of fate — an impossible love story in impossible times.

Cold War earned Pawel Pawlikowski the Best Director award at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. Pawlikowski’s previous film, Ida, was a global success, winning the Oscar ® and BAFTA foreign-language film awards as well as five European Film Awards including Best European film, Director and Screenplay. His other feature credits include My Summer of Love and Last Resort.

Nominated: 91st Academy Awards - Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Achievement in Cinematography.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>


February 23, Saturday

The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(2018, 1h 38min) Free

Skype Q&A with Curator Ron Diamond following each screening

The 20TH ANNUAL ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS presents 15 thought-provoking, poignant, and very funny animated shorts from around the world. In a year when the best and worst of human nature has been on constant display, the works in this year’s show remind us of both the universality of shared ideals, as well as the diverse challenges we face.

“Animation is such a flexible and open-ended medium that it lends itself to exploring the innumerable aspects of what it means to be human,” says founder and curator Ron Diamond. “And this year’s program, as much as any of our past presentations, really illuminates human strengths and foibles, and the bonds that unite us across cultures and generations.”

The show has a running time of 98 minutes and includes 15 films, four of which have qualified for Academy Award® consideration *.

The complete lineup, in order of appearance, is:

The Green Bird

France, 6m45s. Written and Directed by Maximilien Bougeois, Quentin Dubois, Marine Goalard, Irina Nguyen, Pierre Perveyrie.

The soundtrack alone is worth the price of admission in this mordantly funny computer animation, in which the eponymous character suffers an unfortunate series of setbacks when she finds herself a mother-to-be. Harking back to the classic cartoons of the 1940s and 1950s, “The Green Bird” features the great timing and superior slapstick that defined the mini-epics of the past and never gets old.

 

One Small Step  

USA, 7m40s. Written and directed by Andrew Chesworth, Bobby Pontillas.

A young Chinese-American girl yearns to be an astronaut in this touching story about the importance of pursuing your dreams and never giving up. Featuring a bold formal design and sharp visual style, “One Small Step” is a universal tale that reminds us that all dreams begin with a single step.

 

Grands Canons

France, 10m42s. Written and directed by Alain Biet.

Composed of thousands of drawings of familiar objects painstakingly created by the filmmaker, this extraordinary, compulsively watchable film is a symphonic celebration of materiality in its innumerable forms. Deriving its power from motion, rhythm and sheer abundance, “Grand Canons” defies easy description, joining the ranks of those animated shorts that must be experienced to be understood.

Barry

USA, 4m16s . Written and directed by Anchi Shen.

How many of us have passionately dedicated ourselves to achieving a particular career goal, only to have our dreams shattered simply because we were a quadruped? Probably not many, but that doesn’t mean we can’t relate to the underlying universality of this wry and touching moral tale of an aspiring doctor who triumphs over the prejudices of his critics through talent and tenacity.

Super Girl

USA, 1m10s. Written and directed by Nancy Kangas, Josh Kun.

One of a series of short animations based on the writing of a group of preschoolers, “Supergirl” is an exuberant and gleeful exploration of the yearnings and imaginings of one irrepressible four-year-old poet. With a visual style that perfectly matches the free-flowing musings of the text, this whimsical film captures the magic and effortless creativity of childhood.




Love Me, Fear Me

Germany, 6m06s. Written and directed by Veronica Solomon.

This tour de force of claymation explores the ever-changing roles we play and shapes we assume in our continual efforts to impress others and be accepted by them. Conceived as a sequence of dances, “Love Me, Fear Me” displays a virtuosic command of form as it delves into the deeply emotional territory of interpersonal relations and expectations.

 

Business Meeting

Brazil, 1m45s. Written and directed by Guy Charnaux.

Based on a short story by Brazilian writer Rafael Sperling, this very funny animation may confirm your worst fears about business meetings, as well as possibly lead you to doubt the sanity of the short’s creators. The minimalist hand-drawn animation is perfectly suited to the dubious subject matter, which begs the question, “#+-4$#2?”

Flower Found!

The Netherlands, 6m46s. Written and directed by Jorn Leeuwerink.

A case of mistaken identity has seriously unpleasant consequences in this unsettling arboreal tale that might or might not be a parable of our times. When a special flower unaccountably goes missing, an ever-growing group of animals sets off in pursuit of the purloined bloom, but, as is often the case, the best intentions lead only to unforeseen catastrophe.

Bullets

USA. Written and directed by Nancy Kangas, Josh Kun.

 

A Table Game

Argentina, 3m33s. Written and directed by Nicolás Petelski.

A Table Game” was partially produced during an exchange program at the Estonian Academy of Arts, supervised by the internationally known animator and director Priit Pärn, and inspired by the absurdity and black humor that characterizes Estonian animation

 

Carlotta's Face

Germany, 5m. Written and directed by Valentin Riedl, Frédéric Schuld.

Prosopagnosia is a rare neurological disorder in which individuals are unable to recognize faces, including their own. This poignant and beautifully stylized animation is based on the first-person account of a woman who suffers from this ailment, offering an intimate look at the difficulties she encounters in her life and, ultimately, the salvation she finds through art.

Age of Sail

USA, 12ms06s. Written and directed by John Kahrs.

Set on the open ocean in 1900, this hair-raising and poignant tale chronicles the adventures of an old sailor who rescues a teenaged girl after she falls overboard from a passing steamship. With a distinctive visual design inspired by the American illustrator Bernie Fuchs, “Age of Sail” is an inspiring paean to hope, and a timely reminder that redemption often arrives at the darkest times.

 

Polaris

USA, 4m35s. Written and directed by Hikari Toriumi.

Any film that opens with a polar bear hugging a penguin has potential, and in fact the sweetness of that image carries through the rest of this wistful and very touching film about a young bear setting out on her own for the first time. With the simplest of storylines and an understated, almost childlike, visual design, “Polaris” is an evocative celebration of the deepest bonds that persist throughout one’s life.

 

My Moon

USA, 8m35s. Written and directed by Eusong Lee, U.S.

This charming and ethereal short depicts the interplay among the moon, earth and sun in terms of human relationships – a celestial love triangle replete with jealousy, recriminations, hurt feelings and, ultimately, forgiveness. Featuring a panoply of heavenly colors and beautifully stylized design, “My Moon” is a modern fairy tale, at once thoroughly contemporary and as ancient as the cosmos.

 

Weekends  

USA, 15m17s. Written and directed by Trevor Jimenez.

In this beautifully designed, hand-animated film set in 1980s Toronto, a young boy shuttles between the homes of his recently divorced parents. Mixing all-too-realistic details of a domestic breakup with surreal, dream-like moments, “Weekends” is a model of sophisticated storytelling that is both deeply affecting and admirably philosophical in its depiction of a painful period in a child’s life.

 

Read more about this film here


March 2, Saturday

Memoir of War

La douleur (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In French with English subtitles. Co-sponsored by the Department of French.

(Emmanuel Finkiel, France | Belgium | Switzerland, 2018, 2h 07min) Free

In Emmanuel Finkiel’s haunting adaptation of Marguerite Duras’s semi-autobiographical novel, The War: A Memoir, the famed author (Mélanie Thierry) recounts an emotionally complex story of love, loss, and perseverance against a backdrop of wartime intrigue. It’s 1944 Nazi-occupied France, and Marguerite is an active Resistance member along with husband Robert Antelme and a band of fellow subversives. When Antelme is deported to Dachau by the Gestapo, she becomes friendly with French Nazi collaborator Rabier (Benoît Magimel) to learn of her husband’s whereabouts. But as the months wear on with no news of her husband, Marguerite must begin the process of confronting the unimaginable. Using subtly expressionistic imagery and voiceover passages of Duras’s writing, Finkiel evokes the inner world of one of the 20th century’s most revolutionary writers.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>


March 9, Saturday

Transit

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In German, French, and French Sign Language with English subtitles. Co-sponsored by the Holocaust Remembrance Film Fund.

(Christian Petzold, Germany | France, 2018, 1h 41min) Free

As fascism spreads, German refugee Georg (Franz Rogowksi) flees to Marseille and assumes the identity of the dead writer whose transit papers he is carrying. Living among refugees from around the world, georg falls for Marie (Paula Beer), a mysterious woman searching for her husband-the man whose identity he has stolen. Adapted from Anna Segher’s 1944 novel, Transit shifts the original story to the present, blurring periods to create a timeless exploration of the plight of the displaced people. 

Read more about this film on IMDB>>


March 16, Saturday

Zama

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Spanish with English subtitles.

(Lucrecia Martel, Argentina | Brazil | Spain | France | Netherlands | Mexico | Portugal | USA, 2017, 1h 55min) Free

Zama, an officer of the Spanish Crown born in South America, waits for a letter from the King granting him a transfer from the town in which he is stagnating, to a better place. His situation is delicate. He must ensure that nothing overshadows his transfer. He is forced to accept submissively every task entrusted to him by successive Governors who come and go as he stays behind. The years go by and the letter from the King never arrives. When Zama notices everything is lost, he joins a party of soldiers that go after a dangerous bandit.

DIRECTOR’S NOTES
I wish to move towards the past with the same irreverence we have when moving towards
the future. Not trying to document pertinent utensils and facts, because Zama contains
no historicist pretensions. But rather trying to submerge in a world that still today is vast,
with animals, plants, and barely comprehensible women and men. A world that was
devastated before it was ever encountered, and that therefore remains in delirium. The
past in our continent is blurred and confused. We made it this way so we don’t think about
the ownership of land, the spoils on which the Latin American abyss is founded,
entangling the genesis of our own identity. As soon as we begin to peer into the past, we
feel ashamed. ZAMA plunges deep into the time of mortal men, in this short existence
that has been allowed to us, across which we slide anxious to love, trampling exactly that
which could be loved, postponing the meaning of life as if the day that matters the most
is the one that isn’t here yet, rather than today. And yet, the same world that seems
determined to destroy us becomes our own salvation: when asked if we want to live more,
we always say yes.

Best Film of 2018: Film Comment Readers Poll

Read more about this film on IMDB>>


April 6, Saturday

Too Late To Die Young

Tarde Para Morir Joven (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Spanish with English subtitles.

(Dominga Sotomayor Castillo, Chile | Brazil | Argentina | Netherlands | Qatar, 2018, 1h 50min) Free

During the summer of 1990 in Chile, a small group of families lives in an isolated community right below the Andes, building a new world away from the urban excesses, with the emerging freedom that followed the recent end of the dictatorship. In this time of change and reckoning, 16-year-old Sofía and Lucas, and 10-year-old Clara, neighbours in this dry land, struggle with parents, first loves, and fears, as they prepare a big party for New Year’s Eve. They may live far from the dangers of the city, but not
from those of nature.

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG is a film about growing up in a period of massive changes, and for me it has to do with the nostalgia and the demystification of a period. It’s a coming of age story, of both the young characters and a society–
Chile, in a country that was aching after dictatorship. I wanted to explore the uneasy
relationship between generations, classes: to capture the wisdom of children and the foolishness of adults, the strange melancholy of growing up. With this film I’m exploring an open and free form,
close to the nature of this community near the mountains, away from borders and definitions.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>


April 13, Saturday

Ash Is Purest White

Jiang hu er nü (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Chinese and Mandarin with English subtitles.

(Zhangke Jia, China | France | Japan, 2018, 2h 17min) Free

Qiao is in love with Bin, a local mobster. During a fight between rival gangs, she fires a gun to protect him. Qiao gets five years in prison for this act of loyalty. Upon her release, she goes looking for Bin to pick up where they left off.

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

I borrowed the film’s Chinese title JIANGHU ERNÜ (“Sons and Daughters of the Jianghu”) from the last project of Fei Mu, the Chinese film master who was active in the 1930s and 1940s and who is best known for SPRING IN A SMALL TOWN (1948). The script, which Fei Mu wrote was later filmed by Zhu Shilin; the film had the English title THE SHOW MUST GO ON. It’s a story set in a touring circus. My film has nothing to do with that story, but I loved the Chinese title. The Chinese word “Ernü” (“Sons and Daughters”) connotes men and women who dare to love and hate. On the other hand, “Jianghu” (literally “Rivers and lakes”, but it’s hard to capture the real meaning in English) conjures up a world of dramatic emotions, not to mention a world of real dangers. When you put the two words together, the title evokes people who dare to challenge the mainstream and people who live by the morality of kindness and enmity, love and hatred.

That Chinese title almost says it all. The couple in the film lives on the margins of society. They survive by challenging the orthodox social order. I didn’t set out to defend them, rather to empathize with their predicament. It reminds me in some ways of the first decade of my career, when it was risky to make films expressing one’s true self and truths about society. So I threw myself into writing the script as if I were writing about my own emotional journeys: my lost youth and my fantasy about the future: to live, to love and to be free.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>


April 20, Saturday

Dogman

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Italian with English subtitles.

(Matteo Garrone, Italy | France, 2018, 1h 43min) Free

In a seaside village on the outskirts of an Italian city, where the only law seems to be survival of the fittest, Marcello is a slight, mild-mannered man who divides his days between working at his modest dog grooming salon, caring for his daughter Alida, and being coerced into the petty criminal schemes of the local bully Simoncino, an ex-boxer who terrorizes the neighborhood. When Simoncino’s abuse finally brings Marcello to a breaking point, he decides to stand up for his own dignity through an act of vengeance, with unintended consequences.

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

As often happens in my films, at the beginning of Dogman, there’s a visual suggestion, an image, an inversion of perspective: that of some dogs, locked inside cages, that act as witnesses to the explosion of human brutality… an image that goes back to ten years ago, when, for the first time, I thought about making this film. But was it really this film?

Hard to say, because over time, Dogman changed along with me, becoming a film that was always new, always different. Some of the original ideas made it to the end, but they don’t exhaust, for me, the more profound meaning of the story that I wanted to tell; Dogman, for example, is not simply a film about vengeance, even if vengeance (or better yet, redemption) plays an important role, just as it’s also not solely a variation on the (eternal) theme of the struggle between weak and strong.

Instead, it’s a film that, despite having an “extreme” story, puts forward something that concerns all of us: the consequences of the daily choices we make in order to survive, of the yesses that we say which bring us to no longer being able to say no, to the difference between who we are and who we believe we are. Through this examination of the profound, by bringing us up close to a man’s loss of innocence, I think the film is universal, “ethical” but not moralistic: because of this, it’s important for me to underline the distance the film has from the news story that liberally inspired it. Everything, starting from the locations, the characters, their psychologies, has been transfigured.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>


Department of Film and Media Culture

Axinn Center at Starr Library
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Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753
Fax: 802.443.2805