Hirschfield International Film Series 2019-2020

Extraordinary foreign and independent films, screened on most 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.

The Hirschfield International Film Series runs from September through May.  New titles are being added monthly so check back regularly and 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: Monos | 2019 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour​ | American Factory | Tazzeka | Parasite | Clemency | Portrait of a Lady on Fire | Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles | Waves | Midnight Traveler | An Elephant Sitting Still | System Crasher | Varda by Agnés | And Then We Danced | Atlantics | The Whistlers | Les Misérables |

September 14, Saturday


3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In English and Spanish with English subtitles.

(Alejandro Landes, Colombia | Argentina | Netherlands | Germany | Sweden | Uruguay, 2019, 1h 42min) Free

MONOS, Alejandro Landes’ awe-inspiring third feature, is a breathtaking survivalist saga set on a remote mountain in Latin America. The film tracks a young group of soldiers and rebels -- bearing names like Rambo, Smurf, Bigfoot, Wolf and Boom-Boom -- who keep watch over an American hostage, Doctora (Julianne Nicholson).

The teenage commandos perform military training exercises by day and indulge in youthful hedonism by night, an unconventional family bound together under a shadowy force known only as The Organization. After an ambush drives the squadron into the jungle, both the mission and the intricate bonds between the group begin to disintegrate. Order descends into chaos and within MONOS the strong begin to prey on the weak in this vivid, cautionary fever-dream.

Sundance Film Festival Winner: World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award

Columbia's Official Selection for the 92nd Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.

Read about this film on IMDB>>

September 21, Saturday

2019 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(2019, 1h 36min) Free

The 2019 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour is a 96-minute theatrical program of 7 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 2019 program offers new audiences a taste of what the Festival offers, from sharply-written comedy and drama to edgy genre and an intimate family saga.


sometimes, i think about dying / U.S.A. (Director: Stefanie Abel Horowitz, Screenwriters: Stefanie Abel Horowitz, Katy Wright-Mead, Kevin Armento) — Fran is thinking about dying, but a man in the office might want to date her.

FAST HORSE / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Alexandra Lazarowich) — The Blackfoot bareback horse-racing tradition returns in the astonishingly dangerous Indian Relay. Siksika horseman Allison Red Crow struggles with second-hand horses and a new jockey on his way to challenge the best riders in the Blackfoot Confederacy.

Suicide By Sunlight / U.S.A. (Director: Nikyatu Jusu, Screenwriters: Nikyatu Jusu, R. Shanea Williams) — Valentina, a day-walking Black vampire protected from the sun by her melanin, is forced to restrain her bloodlust to regain custody of her estranged daughters.

Muteum / Estonia, Hong Kong (Director and screenwriter: Äggie Pak Yee Lee ) — In an art museum, we learn -- from outer to inner, from deep to its deepest, seriously and sincerely.

Crude Oil / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Christopher Good) — Jenny breaks free from a toxic friendship and learns to harness her magical, useless superpower.

The MINORS / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Robert Machoian) — A slice of life about a grandpa and his grandsons, the future and the past.

Brotherhood / Canada, Tunisia, Qatar, Sweden (Director and screenwriter: Meryam Joobeur) — When a hardened Tunisian shepherd's son returns home after a long journey with a new wife, tension rises between father and son.

Read more about the Short Film Tour>>

September 28, Saturday

American Factory

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, USA, 2019, 1h 55min) Free

Q&A with Producer Jeff Reichert following each screening.

From Academy Award®-nominated and Emmy Award®-winners Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar (“The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant,” “A Lion in the House,” “Seeing Red”) comes AMERICAN FACTORY, a Netflix Original Documentary presented by Higher Ground Productions and Participant Media.

The acclaimed film takes a deep dive into a post-industrial Ohio, where a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant and hires two thousand blue-collar Americans still recovering from the effects of the 2008 recession. Working side-by-side with experienced Chinese workers, the locals are optimistic about the future for the first time in almost a decade. But early days of hope give way to setbacks as high-tech China collides with working-class America, and issues of language and culture become seemingly insurmountable walls between clashing factions.

Sundance Film Festival Winner: Documentary Directing Award

Read about this film on IMDb>>

October 5, Saturday


3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In French with English subtitles.

Sponsored by The Department of French

(Jean-Philippe Gaud, France | Morocco, 2018, 1h 35min) Free


Growing up in the Moroccan village of Tazzeka, Elias learned the secrets of traditional Moroccan cuisine from his grandmother who raised him. Years later, meeting a top Paris chef and a young woman named Salma inspires him to leave home.

In Paris, Elias faces unstable work and financial hardship as an undocumented immigrant. But he also finds friendship with Souleymane, who helps revive his passion for cooking.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>  

October 12, Saturday


Gisaengchung (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Korean with English subtitles.

(Bong Joon-Ho, South Korea, 2019, 2h 12min) Free

Programmed in partnership with the Vermont International Film Foundation.


Meet the Park Family: the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Parks give the Kims a way out of their shabby circumstances. But this new ecosystem is fragile, and soon enough greed and class prejudice threaten to upend the Kims’ newfound comfort.

Cannes Film Festival Winner: Palme d'Or

South Korea's Official Selection for the 92nd Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>  

October 26, Saturday


3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(Chinonye Chukwu, USA, 2019, 1h 53min) Free

Programmed in partnership with the Vermont International Film Foundation.


Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on prison warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard).  As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill.

Sundance Film Festival Winner: Dramatic Grand Jury Award

Read more about this film on IMDB>>  

November 2, Saturday

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In French with English subtitles.

(Céline Sciamma, France, 2019, 1h 59min) Free

Programmed in partnership with the Vermont International Film Foundation.


France, 1770. Marianne, a painter, is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. Héloïse is a reluctant bride to be and Marianne must paint her without her knowing. She observes her by day, to paint her secretly.

Cannes Film Festival Winner: Best Screenplay, Queer Palm

Read more about this film on IMDB>>  

November 9, Saturday

Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles

Buñuel en el laberinto de las tortugas (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Spanish and French with English subtitles.

(Salvador Simó, Spain | Netherlands | Germany, 2019, 1h 20min) Free


Paris, 1930. The infamous surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel is left penniless after the scandalous release of L’Age d’Or leads to a falling out with collaborator Salvador Dalí. On a whim, Buñuel’s good friend, sculptor Ramón Acín, buys a lottery ticket and promises to devote his winnings to fund Buñuel’s next film. Incredibly, Ramón wins the jackpot, sending the two friends to the remote mountains of their native Spain to film the documentary Las Hurdes: Land Without Bread. Driven by mad artistic impulse and haunted by childhood memories, Buñuel must confront the specter of mortality looming over the lives of his subjects – and his own.

In a stranger-than-fiction tale befitting the master filmmaker, Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles tells the true story behind a fascinating episode in cinematic history, utilizing sensitive performances as well as excerpts from Buñuel’s filmography to present a deeply affecting and humanistic portrait of an artist hunting for his purpose.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>  

November 16, Saturday


3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(Trey Edward Shults, USA, 2019, 2h 15min) Free


Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, and featuring an astonishing ensemble of award-winning actors and breakouts alike, Waves traces the epic emotional journey of a suburban African-American family—led by a well-intentioned but domineering father—as they navigate love, forgiveness, and coming together in the aftermath of a loss. From acclaimed director Trey Edward Shults, Waves is a heartrending story about the universal capacity for compassion and growth even in the darkest of times.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>  

November 23, Saturday

Midnight Traveler

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Persian, Arabic, English, Turkish, and Bulgarian with English subtitles.

(Hassan Fazili, Qatar | UK | Canada | USA, 2019, 1h 30min) Free


When the Taliban puts a bounty on Afghan director Hassan Fazili’s head, he is forced to flee the country with his wife and two young daughters. Capturing the family’s uncertain journey firsthand, Fazili documents their harrowing trek across numerous borders revealing the danger and uncertainty facing refugees seeking asylum juxtaposed with the unbreakable love shared amongst the family on the run.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>  

January 11, Saturday

An Elephant Sitting Still

Da xiang xi di er zuo (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Mandarin with English subtitles.

(Bo Hu, China, 2019, 3h 50min) Free


Under the gloomy sky of a small town in northern China, different protagonists’ lives are intertwined in this furious tale of nihilistic rage. While protecting his friend from a dangerous school bully, 16-year-old WEI Bu pushes the tormentor down a staircase. WEI escapes the scene and later learns that the bully is hospitalized and gravely injured. WEI’s neighbor, the 60-year-old WANG Jin, is estranged from his family and, with nothing to lose, decides to join him. Later the pair is joined by HUANG Ling, WEI’s classmate. She is bedeviled by a destructive affair with a married school official. Together, this unlikely and desperate trio, decide their only hope is to flee as the bully’s gangster brother, enraged parents, and vindictive school authorities embark on a cold-blooded hunt for WEI across town. As WEI threads his way through the urban wilderness, he begins to come to terms with his own lost life. In the end, he boards a long-distance bus with HUANG and WANG toward a city in Manchuria, where it is a rumored that a circus elephant is said to be sitting still, seemingly oblivious to pain and tribulations of the world at large.

Berlin International Film Festival Winner: FIPRESCI Prize, Best First Feature Award

Read more about this film on IMDB>>  

January 18, Saturday

System Crasher

Systemsprenger (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In German with English subtitles.

Sponsored by The Goethe Institute Boston

(Nora Fingscheidt, Germany, 2019, 1h 58min) Free


She is small, but dangerous. Wherever Benni ends up, she is immediately expelled. The wild 9-year- old girl has already become what child protection services call a “system crasher”. And she is certainly not looking to change her ways. Because Benni has one single goal: to be back at home with her mommy! But Bianca is scared of her own daughter. Mrs. Bafané from child protection services is trying her best to find a permanent placement for Benni. She hires the anger management trainer Micha as Benni’s school escort and suddenly there is a seed of hope. Will Micha be able to succeed where all others despaired? While being acutely authentic, first-time director Nora Fingscheidt transcends a psychological study and crafts vibrant, visceral and emotional cinema, which evokes unforgettable performances.

Berlin International Film Festival Winner: Silver Bear

Germany's Official Selection for the 92nd Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>  

January 25, Saturday

Varda by Agnés

Varda par Agnès (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In French and English with English subtitles.

(Agnés Varda, France, 2019, 1h 55min) Free


The final film from the late, beloved Agnès Varda is a characteristically playful, profound, and personal summation of the director’s own brilliant career. At once impish and wise, Varda acts as our spirit guide on a free-associative tour through her six-decade artistic journey, shedding new light on her films, photography, and recent installation works while offering her one-of-a-kind reflections on everything from filmmaking to feminism to aging. Suffused with the people, places, and things she loved—Jacques Demy, cats, colors, beaches, heart-shaped potatoes—this wonderfully idiosyncratic work of imaginative autobiography is a warmly human, touchingly bittersweet parting gift from one of cinema’s most luminous talents.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>  

February 15, Saturday

And Then We Danced

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Georgian with English subtitles.

(Levan Akin, Sweden | Georgia | France, 2019, 1h 53min) Free


A passionate tale of love and liberation set amidst the conservative confines of modern Georgian society, AND THEN WE DANCED follows Merab, a devoted dancer who has been training for years with his partner Mary for a spot in the National Georgian Ensemble. The arrival of another male dancer, Irakli-gifted with perfect form and equipped with a rebellious streak-throws Merab off balance, sparking both an intense rivalry and romantic desire that may cause him to risk his future in dance as well as his relationships with Mary and his family.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>  

February 22, Saturday


Atlantique (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Wolof | French | English | Arabic with English subtitles.

(Mati Diop, France | Senegal | Belgium, 2019, 1h 46min) Free


After a group of unpaid construction workers disappears at sea one night in search of a better life abroad, the women they have left behind in Dakar are overwhelmed with a mysterious fever. Ada, 17, secretly grieves for her love Souleiman, one of the departed workers, but she has been promised to another man. After a fire breaks out on her wedding night, a young policeman is sent to investigate the crime. Little does he know that the aggrieved workers have come back as haunting, possessive spirits. While many of them seek vengeance for their unpaid labor, Souleiman has come back for a different purpose - to be with his Ada one last time.

Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, ATLANTICS marks the feature narrative debut of director Mati Diop

Read more about this film on IMDB>>  

February 29, Saturday

The Whistlers

La Gomera (original title)

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Romanian | English | Spanish with English subtitles.

(Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania | France | Germany | Sweden, 2019, 1h 37min) Free


In THE WHISTLERS, not everything is as it seems for Cristi, a police inspector in Bucharest who plays both sides of the law. Embarking with the beautiful Gilda on a high-stakes heist, both will have to navigate the twists and turns of corruption, treachery and deception. A trip to the Canary Islands to learn a secret whistling language might just be what they need to pull it off.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>  

March 7, Saturday

Les Misérables

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In French | Bambara with English subtitles.

(Ladj Ly, France, 2019, 1h 44min) Free


Stéphane (Damien Bonnard, Staying Vertical), has recently joined the Anti-Crime squad in Montfermeil, a sensitive district of the Paris projects. Paired up with Chris (Alexis Manenti) and Gwada (Djebril Zonga), whose methods are sometimes unorthodox, he rapidly discovers the tensions between the various neighborhood groups. When the trio finds themselves overrun during the course of an arrest, a drone begins filming every move they make.

Read more about this film on IMDB>>  

Department of Film and Media Culture

Axinn Center at Starr Library
15 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753
Fax: 802.443.2805