Hirschfield International Film Series 2017-2018

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

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: Moonlight | Paradise | Fatima | A Quiet Passion | The Salesman | Paterson | Toni Erdmann | Julieta | I Am Not Your Negro | Jackie | Beach Rats | Chasing CoralThe Square | American Honey | Graduation | My Life as a Zucchini | I, Daniel Blake | Silence | Neruda| Certain Women | Things to Come | 13th | Aquarius

September 16, Saturday


3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(Barry Jenkins, USA, 2016, 1h 51min) Free

A timeless story of human connection and self-discovery, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami. At once a vital portrait of contemporary African-American life and an intensely personal and poetic meditation on identity, family, friendship, and love, Moonlight is a groundbreaking piece of cinema that reverberates with deep compassion and universal truths. Anchored by extraordinary performances from a tremendous ensemble cast, Barry Jenkins’s staggering, singular vision is profoundly moving in its portrayal of the moments, people, and unknowable forces that shape our lives and make us who we are.

Winner: Best Picture - Academy Award

Read about this film on IMDB>>

September 23, Saturday


3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Russian, German, French, and Yiddish with English subtitles. Co-sponsored by the Holocaust Film Fund.

(Andrey Konchalovskiy, Russia | Germany, 2016, 2h 12min) Free

Paradise tells the story of three individuals and the fateful decisions they make, forced by a totality of conviction. Olga (Julia Vysotskaya) is a beautiful Russian aristocratic émigré and member of the French Resistance; Jules (Philippe Duquesne) is a French-Nazi collaborator who is assigned to investigate her case; and Helmut (Christian Clauss) is a high-ranking, yet naïve German SS officer who once fell madly in love with Olga and meets her again when she is shipped to a concentration camp. While they recount their stories, the film flashes back to the end of World War II and the days when their destinies crossed.

Director's Statement:
History is full of great tragedies, most of which remain in our minds as ancient misdeeds that couldn’t possibly be replicated in the present day. One of the most terrifying moments of our generation’s history was the rise of the Nazi party and the extermination of millions of Jews and others who did not fit into the Nazi ideal of a ‘perfect’ German ‘paradise’. These atrocities exposed the depths of mankind’s capabilities
for evil and although these events happened in the past, the same kind of radical and hateful thinking is apparent today and threatening the lives and safety of many around the world.

Winner: Best Director - Venice Film Festival

Read about this film on IMDb>>

September 30, Saturday


3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

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

(Philippe Faucon, France | Canada, 2015, 1h 19min) Free

Fatima lives on her own with two daughters to support: 15-year-old Souad, a teenager in revolt, and 18-year-old Nesrine, who is starting medical school. Fatima speaks French poorly and is constantly frustrated by her daily interactions with her daughters. Her pride and joy, they are also a source of worry. To ensure the best possible future for them, she works odd hours as a cleaning woman. One day, she takes a fall on the stairs. On leave, Fatima begins to write to her daughters in Arabic thoughts she has never been able to express in French.

Director's Statement:

My grandparents didn’t speak French, and neither did my mother when she was a child. They were “the invisible ones” in the society they lived in. Some of Fatima’s manners remind me of them. She is like those women, only partly schooled, who had to emigrate out of vital necessity, to come and live in a country whose language and codes were completely unknown to them. In France, they gave birth to children and raised them, even though sometimes they were kept apart by the language or by different customs and points of reference. For all these reasons, regardless of the things they didn’t know or master, these women have developed major resources, drawn from fierce courage and obstinacy.

Read about this film on IMDb>>

October 7, Saturday

A Quiet Passion

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(Terence Davies, Belgium | United Kingdom, 2016, 2h 06min) Free

Cynthia Nixon delivers a triumphant performance as Emily Dickinson as she personifies the wit, intellectual independence and pathos of the poet whose genius only came to be recognized after her death. Acclaimed British director Terence Davies (House of MirthThe Deep Blue Sea) exquisitely evokes Dickinson’s deep attachment to her close knit family along with the manners, mores and spiritual convictions of her time that she struggled with and transcended in her poetry.

“Emily Dickinson is one of America’s greatest poets. When Terence said he wanted to tell her story we were skeptical – a film about a morbid, obsessed recluse?! But then the script arrived and we’re still laughing. It’s a work of enormous wit and pathos.” - Sol Papadopoulos (Producer)

NYT Critics’ Pick. “Visually gorgeous.” - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Full Review 

Read about this film on IMDb>>

October 14, Saturday

The Salesman

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Persian and English with English subtitles.

(Asghar Farhadi, Iran | France, 2017, 2h 4min) Free

After their old flat becomes damaged, Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), a young couple living in Tehran, are forced to move into a new apartment. However, once relocated, a sudden eruption of violence linked to the previous tenant of their new home dramatically changes the couple’s life, creating a simmering tension between husband and wife.

Winner: Best Screenplay (Farhadi); Best Actor (Shahab Hosseini) - Cannes Film Festival 2016

Read about this film on IMDb>>

October 28, Saturday


3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(Jim Jarmusch, USA | France | Germany, 2016, 1h 58min) Free

Paterson (Adam Driver) is a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey - they share the name. Every day, Paterson adheres to a simple routine: he drives his daily route, observing the city as it drifts across his windshield and overhearing fragments of conversation swirling around him; he writes poetry into a notebook; he walks his dog; he stops in a bar and drinks exactly one beer. He goes home to his wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani). By contrast, Laura's world is ever changing. New dreams come to her almost daily, each a different and inspired project. Paterson loves Laura and she loves him. He supports her newfound ambitions; she champions his secret gift for poetry. The history and energy of the City of Paterson is a felt presence in the film and its simple structure unfolds over the course of a single week. The quiet triumphs and defeats of daily life are observed, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.

Read about this film on IMDb>>

November 4, Saturday

Toni Erdmann

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In German, English, and Romanian with English subtitles.

(Maren Ade, Germany | Austria | Switzerland | Romania, 2016, 2h 42min) Free

Winfried doesn't see much of his working daughter Ines. The suddenly student-less music teacher decides to surprise her with a visit after the death of his old dog. It's an awkward move because serious career woman Ines is working on an important project as a corporate strategist in Bucharest. The geographical change doesn't help the two to see more eye to eye. Practical joker Winfried loves to annoy his daughter with corny pranks. What's worse are his little jabs at her routine lifestyle of long meetings, hotel bars and performance reports. Father and daughter reach an impasse, and Winfried agrees to return home to Germany. Enter flashy "Toni Erdmann" - Winfried's smooth-talking alter ego. Disguised in a tacky suit, weird wig and even weirder fake teeth, Toni barges into Ines' professional life, claiming to be her CEO's life coach. As Toni, Winfried is bolder and doesn't hold back, but Ines meets the challenge. The harder they push, the closer they become. In all the madness, Ines begins to understand that her eccentric father might deserve some place in her life after all.

Winner: FIPRESCI Prize - Cannes Film Festival 2016

Read about this film on IMDb>>

November 11, Saturday


3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Spanish with English subtitles.

(Pedro Almodóvar, Spain, 2016, 1h 39min) Free

Julieta lives in Madrid with her daughter Antía. They both suffer in silence over the loss of Xoan, Antía’s father and Julieta’s husband. But at times grief doesn’t bring people closer, it drives them apart.

When Antía turns eighteen she abandons her mother, without a word of explanation. Julieta looks for her in every possible way, but all she discovers is how little she knows of her daughter.

JULIETA is about the mother’s struggle to survive uncertainty. It also about fate, about guilt complexes and about that unfathomable mystery that leads us to abandon the people we love, erasing them from our lives as if they had never meant anything, as if they had never existed.

Read about this film on IMDb>>

November 18, Saturday

I Am Not Your Negro

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(Raoul Peck, Switzerland | France | Belgium | USA, 93 minutes)

In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.

At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript.

Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and flood of rich archival material. I Am Not Your Negro is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond. And, ultimately, by confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassination of these three leaders, Baldwin and Peck have produced a work that challenges the very definition of what America stands for.

Winner: Best Documentary – Los Angeles Film Critics Association

Read about this film on IMDb>>

December 2, Saturday


3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(Pablo Larraín, Chile | France | USA | Hong Kong, 2016, 1h 40min) Free

Q&A with Sound Designer David Miranda (Assistant Professor of Film & Media Culture)

JACKIE is a searing and intimate portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, seen through the eyes of the iconic First Lady, then Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Natalie Portman). JACKIE places us in her world during the days immediately following her husband's assassination. Known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, here we see a psychological portrait of the First Lady as she struggles to establish her husband’s legacy and the world of "Camelot" that she created and loved so well.

“We all know the story of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. But what happens if we focus only on Jackie? What was it like during those next three days, drowning in grief, her and her children’s lives changed forever with the eyes of the entire world upon her? Jackie was a queen without a crown, who lost both her throne and her husband ….”
— Pablo Larraín (Director)

Read about this film on IMDb>>

January 13, Saturday

Beach Rats

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(Eliza Hittman, USA, 2016, 1hr 35min) Free

Q&A with Director Eliza Hittman and Producer Brad Becker-Parton (class of 2011.5)

On the outskirts of Brooklyn, Frankie, an aimless teenager, suffocates under the oppressive glare cast by his family and a toxic group of delinquent friends. Struggling with his own identity, Frankie begins to scour hookup sites for older men. When his chatting and webcamming intensify, he begins meeting men at a nearby cruising beach while simultaneously entering into a cautious relationship with a young woman. As Frankie struggles to reconcile his competing desires, his decisions leave him hurtling toward irreparable consequences. Eliza Hittman’s award-winning Sundance hit is a powerful character study that is as visually stunning as it is evocative.

Winner: Directing Award (Dramatic) - Sundance Film Festival 2017

Read about this film on IMDb>>

January 20, Saturday

Chasing Coral

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

Co-sponsored by Exposure Labs.

(Jeff Orlowski, USA, 2017, 1hr 33min). Free

Q&A with Cinematographer Andrew Ackerman (class of 2013)

Coral reefs are the nursery for all life in the oceans, a remarkable ecosystem that sustains us. Yet with carbon emissions warming the seas, a phenomenon called “coral bleaching”—a sign of mass coral death—has been accelerating around the world, and the public has no idea of the scale or implication of the catastrophe silently raging underwater.

Enter Jeff Orlowski, director of Chasing Ice, which created irrefutable, visual proof of the melting ice caps. Orlowski’s next project is similarly evidentiary and powerful. Chasing Coral taps into the collective will and wisdom of an ad man, a self-proclaimed coral nerd, top-notch camera designers, and renowned marine biologists as they invent the first time-lapse camera to record bleaching events as they happen. Unfortunately, the effort is anything but simple, and the team doggedly battles technical malfunctions and the force of nature in pursuit of their golden fleece: documenting the indisputable and tragic transformation below the waves. With its breathtaking photography, nail-biting suspense, and startling emotion, Chasing Coral is a dramatic revelation that won’t have audiences sitting idle for long. 

Winner: Audience Award (Documentary) - Sundance Film Festival 2017

Read about this film on IMDb>>

January 27, Saturday

The Square

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

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

(Ruben Östlund, Sweden | Germany | France | Denmark, 2017, 2hr 22min) Free

Force Majeure director Ruben Östlund returns with a knife-sharp satire on art, culture and communication in the digital age. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, The Square stars Claes Bang (The Bridge), Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid's Tale, Mad Men) and Dominic West (The Wire).

Christian (Bang) is a divorced but devoted father of two, and the respected curator of a contemporary art museum in Stockholm. He's gearing up to launch their next show, ‘The Square’, a daring installation examining altruism and our duty to help others. However, Christian's own views on social responsibility are put to the test when he becomes the victim of a scam, forcing him to question the world around him and his place in it. Meanwhile, a shocking viral stunt cooked up by the museum's PR agency is met with public outcry, sending Christian – and the museum – into an existential crisis.

With pitch-perfect performances, inventive set pieces and a cutting deadpan wit, The Square is a hilarious, unique and often surreal look at idealism and cynicism in the modern world.

Winner: Palme d'Or - Cannes Film Festival 2017

Read about this film on IMDb>>

February 17, Saturday

American Honey

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(Andrea Arnold, USA, 2016, 2h 43min) Free

Star (Sasha Lane), a teenage girl from a troubled home runs away with a traveling sales crew that drives across the American mid-west selling Magazine subscriptions door to door. Finding her feet in this gang of teenagers, one of whom is Jake (Shia LaBeouf), she soon gets into the group's lifestyle of hard partying, law-bending and young love.

Winner: Jury Prize - Cannes Film Festival 2016

Read about this film on IMDb>>

February 24, Saturday


3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Romanian with English subtitles.

(Cristian Mungiu, Romania, 2016, 2h 8min) Free

Introduction by Script Consultant Ioana Uricaru (Barksdale Jr. Assistant Professor of Film & Media Culture)

Acclaimed filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days) returns with this searing human saga about a father driven to extremes in order to protect his daughter’s future. Romeo Aldea (Adrian Titieni) is a seemingly honest doctor who regrets having settled in his native Romania, a country still teeming with corruption and back dealings. He channels his ambitions for a better life into his teenage daughter, Eliza (Maria Dragus), who’s just one exam away from securing a scholarship to a prestigious British university. But when Eliza is attacked on the eve of her test, endangering her ability to pass, Romeo takes matters into his own hands to ensure her success. Winner of the Best Director prize at Cannes, Graduation is a masterful look at the complex moral choices and compromises some people make when desperation takes hold.

Graduation belongs to that kind of cinema that values reality and realism. Of course, it is not reality, it just uses everyday life events captured in real time, with no editing, to reorganize moments that could have belonged to reality; to a more organized and structured reality than real life.  - Cristian Mungiu (Director)

Winner: Best Director - Cannes Film Festival 2016

Read about this film on IMDb>>

March 3, Saturday

My Life as a Zucchini

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

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

(Claude Barras, Switzerland | France, 2016, 1h 10min) Free

Nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature and beloved by audiences and critics alike, My Life as a Zucchini is a delightful and touching tale about the uplifting power of friendship in the face of adversity. After befriending a kind police officer, nine-year-old Zucchini is taken to a foster home filled with other orphans his age. Though he struggles to find his place at first, with the help of his new friends, Zucchini learns to trust and love again as he searches for a new family of his own. With a band of unforgettable characters you'll be cheering for, My Life as a Zucchini stands as a testament to the resilience of the human heart.

Read about this film on IMDb>>

March 10, Saturday

I, Daniel Blake

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(Ken Loach, UK | France | Belgium, 1hr 40min) Free

Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the latest from legendary director Ken Loach is a gripping, human tale about the impact one man can make. Gruff but goodhearted, Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) is a man out of time: a widowed woodworker who’s never owned a computer, he lives according to his own common sense moral code. But after a heart attack leaves him unable to work and the state welfare system fails him, the stubbornly self-reliant Daniel must stand up and fight for his dignity, leading a one-man crusade for compassion that will transform the lives of a struggling single mother (Hayley Squires) and her two children. Graced with humor and heart, I, Daniel Blake is a moving, much-needed reminder of the power of empathy from one of the world’s greatest living filmmakers.

The universal story of people struggling to survive was the starting point. But then the characters and the situation have to be grounded in lived experience. If we look hard enough, we can all see the conscious cruelty at the heart of the state’s provision for those in desperate need and the use of bureaucracy, the intentional inefficiency of bureaucracy, as a political weapon: “This is what happens if you don’t work; if you don’t find work you will suffer.” The anger at that was the motive behind the film. - Ken Loach (Director)

Winner: Palme d'Or - Cannes Film Festival 2016

Read about this film on IMDb>>

March 17, Saturday


3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(Martin Scorsese, USA | Taiwan | Mexico, 2016, 2h 41min) Free

Legendary director Martin Scorsese’s Silence tells the stunning and powerful story of two Christian missionaries (Adam Driver and Oscar® nominee Andrew Garfield) who travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (Academy Award® nominee Liam Neeson) at a time when Christianity was outlawed. When they are captured and imprisoned, both men are plunged into an odyssey that will test their faith, challenge their sanity and, perhaps, risk their very lives in this passionate, harrowing, beautiful masterpiece.

Read about this film on IMDb>>

April 7, Saturday


3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Spanish and French with English subtitles.

(Pablo Larraín, Chile | Argentina | France | Spain | USA, 2016, 1h 47min) Free

At the start of the Cold War, subversive Chilean senator and poet Pablo Neruda is pursued by police prefect Oscar Peluchonneau. Unable to flee the country, Neruda goes into hiding and becomes a symbol of liberty at home and in Europe.

Read about this film on IMDb>>

April 14, Saturday

Certain Women

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(Kelly Reichardt, USA, 2016, 1h 47min) Free

One of America’s foremost filmmakers, Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff) directs a remarkable ensemble cast led by Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart, and Laura Dern in this stirring look at three women striving to forge their own paths amidst the wide-open plains of the American Northwest: a lawyer (Dern) who finds herself contending with both office sexism and a hostage situation; a wife and mother (Williams) whose determination to build her dream home puts her at odds with the men in her life; and a young law student (Stewart) who forms an ambiguous bond with a lonely ranch hand (radiant newcomer Lily Gladstone). As their stories intersect in subtle but powerful ways, a portrait emerges of flawed, but strong-willed individuals in the process of defining themselves.

It’s easy to describe Kelly Reichardt’s films as “small” compared to Hollywood blockbusters and even some higher-profile indies. She’s more likely to invoke comparisons to legendary way-out-of-the-mainstream filmmakers like Jon Jost or Wim Wenders than she is her generational peers. But Certain Women continues her examination of real people facing situations in almost real time, against the backdrop of real locations and places that both define and confine characters and their actions. Exploring the nuanced moments of these women’s lives, from impossible conversations with difficult men, to awkward pauses where communication fails, to private and unseen actions that are almost miraculously rendered through silence and stillness, Certain Women magnifies Reichardt’s technique as it is echoes from scene to scene, character to character, and story to story. Even when characters can’t seem to speak for themselves, the film’s delicate and thoughtful rendering of these strikingly observed and very human stories manage to speak volumes to viewers in a manner that is unique to one of the cinema’s most disciplined and expressive voices.

Read about this film on IMDb>>

April 21, Saturday

Things to Come

3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In French, English, and German with English subtitles.

(Mia Hansen-Løve, France | Germany, 1h 40min) Free

What happens when the life you’ve worked so hard to build falls apart all at once? Nathalie (Isabelle Huppert, in a radiant performance) is a philosophy teacher with a seemingly settled existence, juggling a rich life of the mind with the day-to-day demands of career and family (including frequent visits to her drama queen mother, played by the legendary Édith Scob). But beginning with the bombshell revelation that her husband of twenty-five years is leaving her, one by one the pillars of Nathalie’s life start to crumble. For the first time in ages, she finds herself adrift, but also with a newfound sense of liberation. With nothing to hold her back, Nathalie sets out to define this new phase of her life and to rediscover herself. Winner of the Best Director award at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival, the new film from Mia Hansen-Løve (Eden) is an uncommonly intelligent, soul-searching look at what it means to create a life of one’s own.

Winner: Best Director - Berlin International Film Festival 2016

Read about this film on IMDb>>

April 28, Saturday


3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

(Ava DuVernay, USA, 2016, 1h 40min) Free

The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.

Read about this film on IMDb>>

May 5, Saturday


3:00 and 8:00 PM, Dana Auditorium

In Portuguese with English subtitles.

(Kleber Mendonça Filho, Brazil | France, 2016, 2h 26min) Free

This Spirit Award Nominee for Best International Film (Brazil) made Cahiers du Cinema's Top 10 Films of 2016 list and director Kleber Mendonça Filho was named one of Variety's 10 Directors to Watch. The film, although not overtly political in subject matter, has become a battle cry for protest against the Brazilian government, after the filmmakers stepped out on the red carpet in Cannes in May, with signs denouncing the movement to impeach the Brazilian president.

Read 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