Posted: June 4, 2001
MIDDLEBURY, VT- Eight films, eight Saturday nights, eight different languages. That's the essence of the Middlebury College Language Schools International Film Festival June 16-Aug. 4. Building on the Language Schools' tradition of showing international films every summer, the directors of each school - Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish - in conjunction with the College's media services department, have selected one major release in each of the eight languages for the festival. Organizers chose the eight films with the intention of appealing to a broad audience. The festival is free and open to the public.
All of the films have been released in the past four years with the exception of the classic Egyptian film "Cairo Station," which was released in 1958.
A schedule of the film festival is also available on the College's Web site at http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/ls/film/. The films will be shown in Dana Auditorium in Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125). Film showings are at 7 and 9 p.m. on Saturdays. All films are subtitled in English, and are free and open to the public. Some of the films may be inappropriate for children.
Filmgoers from the community are invited to participate in a film discussion after the 7 p.m. screening each week. Led by a facilitator from the Language Schools, the discussions will be conducted in English and will be closed to the Language Schools' students because of the language pledge, a formal commitment to speak the language of study and no other for the entire summer session.
For more information, contact the Middlebury College Language Schools at 802-443-5510.
Middlebury College Language Schools
Friday, June 8 marks the beginning of the Middlebury College Language Schools' summer sessions, known internationally for a rigorous approach to the teaching of languages and cultures. This year, approximately 1,150 students will come to Middlebury to participate in the Language Schools throughout the summer. During the course of the Language Schools' 86-year history, more than 36,000 students from all walks of life - including more than 11,000 advanced degree holders - have attended one or more of the schools. Programs offered by the Language Schools reflect Middlebury College's overall commitment to excellence in language education and international studies.
International Film Festival Schedule, June 16-Aug. 4
Saturday, June 16: 7 and 9 p.m.
"Cairo Station" [Bab el hadid]
Egypt, 1958, black and white, 86 minutes
Directed by Youssef Chahine
In Arabic with English subtitles
In this beautiful classic film, Cairo's main railroad station is the setting for a community comprised of luggage carriers and soft-drink sellers who live in abandoned train cars. A crippled newspaper dealer, Kinawi (Chahine himself), falls in love with the beautiful but indifferent Hanuma, a lemonade seller who has eyes only for the handsome Abu Sri'. Swept away by his obsessive desire, Kinawi kidnaps the object of his passion, with terrible consequences.
Although his films are rarely screened in the United States, Youssef Chahine is an internationally acclaimed master of cinema who received a Lifetime Achievement Award at Cannes in 1997.
Saturday, June 23: 7 and 9 p.m.
China, 1999, color, 92 minutes, a Sony Classics release
Directed by Zhang Yang;
produced by Peter Loehr, a member of the Middlebury College Chinese School class of 1995
In Mandarin with English subtitles
"Shower" represents a new direction in Chinese cinema: cosmopolitan, aimed at young urban audiences, and incorporating foreign influences to gain a fresh perspective on this rapidly westernizing nation. This comedy affirms threatened values of family, community and individuality. The locale is a crumbling Beijing bathhouse about to be replaced by a shopping mall. In comes Da Ming, a sharp young man on an uncomfortable visit to his father, the bathhouse's operator. Succumbing to the spell of the bathhouse's daily routines, leisurely rhythms, and eccentric clientele, Da Ming develops a more caring attitude toward his mentally challenged brother and a new respect for his traditionalist father. When the latter falls ill, Da Ming faces a difficult choice.
"A bath of pleasure so appealing that any cavils about conservatism swirl down the drain - 'Shower' sparkles with joy."--Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
Saturday, June 30: 7 and 9 p.m.
"After Life" [Wandafuru raifu]
Japan, 1998, color, 118 minutes, an Artistic License Films release
Written and directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu
In Japanese with English subtitles
A diverse group of people arrive at a drafty, antiquated institution where they are offered condolences on their recent deaths and told they each must select a treasured memory which will be recreated on film, and recollected for eternity. Shot in a semi-documentary style, without special effects, "After Life" is possibly the most convincing film ever made on the subject of the hereafter. Its immensely touching, wide-ranging recollections constitute an intimate, informal history of 20th-century Japan.
"A quiet, extraordinarily moving and sometimes funny meditation on the meaning and value of life." --Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Saturday, July 7: 7 and 9 p.m.
"The Gleaners and I" [Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse]
France, 2000, color, 82 minutes, a Zeitgeist Films release
Directed by Agnès Varda
In French with English subtitles
The director of "Vagabond" and "Cleo from 5 to 7" presents a witty and moving documentary about people who, through necessity, purely by chance, or out of choice, pick up left-over items discarded by others. It is a far cry from the world of yesterday's gleaners, peasant women who rummaged for bits of wheat left after the harvest. Varda calls her film a "wandering-road documentary rather than a road movie." She gleans images as one jots down travel notes, and feels free to show a funny dog she met along the way, to linger over a painting by Van der Weyden, to observe couples, but always comes back to the gleaners, trying to testify for them and yet not hinder them.
"Wonderful! One of the bravest, most idiosyncratic of French filmmakers. She's a treasure!"
--A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Saturday, July 14: 7 and 9 p.m.
"Butterfly" [La Lengua de las mariposas]
Spain, 1999, color, 95 minutes, a Miramax Films release
Directed by Jose Luis Cuerda
In Spanish with English subtitles
Based on a collection of short stories by Manuel Rivas
In this bittersweet drama, Don Gregorio, an idealistic and caring teacher, shares his passion for nature and his intense interest in the lives of butterflies with asthmatic and fragile eight-year-old Moncho. It is 1936 and Spain is on the brink of Civil War. Gregorio's and Moncho's idyllic relationship is crushed when, in order to protect his family from the Fascists, Moncho is forced to renounce his friendship with an unswervingly Republican Gregorio.
"A beautiful marriage of film and literature! A great movie!"--Gabriel Garcia Marquez, author
"a savory cocktail with a bitter twist."--Richard Corliss, Time Magazine
Saturday, July 21: 7 and 9 p.m.
"The Legend of Rita" [Die Stille nach dem Schuß]
Germany, 1999, color, 101 minutes, a Kino International release
Directed by Volker Schlöndorff
Written by Schlöndorff and Wolfgang Kohlhaase
In German with English subtitles
Only 10 years ago the Cold War divided Europe, and a real brick wall split Berlin in two. Young German radicals fleeing the law could find protection in the communist "East." One of them, Rita (Bibiana Beglau), is seduced into the terrorist movement. Years later, realizing the movement is falling apart, she goes underground, hiding out in East Germany and assuming a new identity amidst the everyday world of the working class. Rita experiences friendship and love as she runs away from a past that catches up with her. When the Berlin Wall falls, East Germany disappears, and with it, her new life.
Winner, Best Actress, Berlin Film Festival (Bibiana Beglau)
Official Selection Berlin Toronto Montreal
Saturday, July 28: 7 and 9 p.m.
Russia, 1997, color, 94 minutes
Directed by Pavel Chukrai
In Russian with English subtitles
Set in the deep twilight of the Stalinist 1950s, "The Thief" is a tense drama. The central character is a six-year-old boy whose widowed mother is seduced by a con man whose specialty is insinuating himself into crowded collective apartments, charming the occupants, then robbing them blind. Drawn into the thief's furtive existence, the threesome flee from one city to the next. The heart of this Oscar-nominated film is its evocative balance of realism and allegory, and a child's-eye view of the lower depths that is rendered with a vividness that recalls Dickens and Gorki.
"Every bit as brilliant as its reputation suggests" --Liz Braun, Toronto Sun
Saturday, August 4: 7 and 9 p.m.
"Bread and Tulips" [Pane e tulipane]
Italy, 2000, color, 105 minutes, a First Look release
Directed by Silvio Soldini
In Italian with English subtitles
Rosalba (Licia Maglietta), a downtrodden Italian housewife, is left stranded in a rest area when the tour bus leaves without her, and her family members don't even notice she's missing. She hitchhikes home and finds herself in a car heading for Venice, a city that she has never visited. What started as a Sunday afternoon trip turns into an escape from her routine daily life. She finds work, love and friendship in her new city. Back in Pescara, Mimmo, her husband, hires one of his employees, a plumber and avid reader of detective stories, to find Rosalba.
Winner of the 2000 David di Donatello Award in all major categories: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Film, Best Supporting Actor and Actress. The David is the main national film award in Italy.