by Jim Ridley
Vanderbilt's International Lens film series has become a safety net for movies that might have slipped through the cracks of Nashville's commercial theaters. The free screening series performs just such a service tonight, kicking off its spring semester with a visit from documentary filmmaker Megumi Nishikura.
Nishikura will be on hand to discuss Hafu: The Mixed-Race Experience in Japan, her 2013 film about biracial people (or "half Japanese" — the term is derived from the English word "half") in contemporary Japan. Though hafu have taken on new celebrity in the country's mass media, the movie's subjects describe their varying experiences growing up and seeking their place in the culture.
The screening from DVD is free and open to the public at 7:30 tonight in Sarratt Cinema. Below, we've enclosed the whole schedule, which includes a two-film tribute to legendary character actor Woody Strode; Gina Telaroli's experimental feature Traveling Light; the Spanish stop-motion fantasy O Apóstolo; Alex Ross Perry's acclaimed indie comedy The Color Wheel; and James Franco's adaptation of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying.
Wednesday, January 15
Presented by Ruth Rogaski, Associate Professor of History and Director of Asian Studies.
Japan (2013) Dir. Megumi Nishikura and Lara Perez Takagi
The filmmakers explore the “mixed race experience” in Japan. Filmmaker Megumi Nishikura will be present to introduce the film and to participate in a post-screening Q&A.
Japanese with English Subtitles. 90 mins. DVD. Underwritten in part by Intercultural Affairs and Advocacy
Wednesday January 22
Presented by Jonathan Rattner, Assistant Professor of Film Studies and Art, and Assistant Director of Film Studies; and Thomas C. McGrath, A&S ‘16
USA (2012) Dir. Gina Telaroli
Looking out the window of a moving train is similar to watching a movie in the passive observation of a moving world. Traveling Light makes the view from the window its focus, revealing the beauty of images viewed from trains moving across the natural landscape, and demonstrating the poetry of cinematic motion itself, all while the light continues shifting, bouncing, swelling and slouching into eventual darkness.
60 mins. Blu-ray.
Beer Is Cheaper than Therapy
Tuesday, January 28
Presented by Kenneth MacLeish, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Health, and Society
USA (2011) Dir. Simone DeVries
Across the nation, young troops who became psychologically overwhelmed while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and were told by dismissive commanders that ‘beer is cheaper than therapy’ are returning stateside to cope with severe psychological trauma on their own. (Films Media Group)
English. 57 min. DVD.
Wednesday, January 29
Presented by Maria Paz Pintane, Senior Lecturer in Spanish
Spain (2012) Dir. Fernando Cortizo
A gothic mystery and a dark adult fairy tale wonderfully realized through stop-motion animation. The world created is meticulously detailed and characters are brought to life by a cast of talented voice actors. . . . Cortizo builds a palpably chilling atmosphere and injects the story with real myths and a dry, dark wit. The film also features a memorable performance by the late and legendary Paul Naschy and an alluring theme song by Philip Glass. (Brian Kelley) Short listed for animated feature Oscar® consideration.
Castilian with English subtitles. No rating (mature audiences). 87 min. DVD.
Isabel Rosado: Nationalista
Tuesday, February 4
Presented by J. Patrick Cate, Master’s candidate in Human and Organizational Development with certification in Latin American Studies
USA (2013) Melissa Montero
The film chronicles the life of a woman of humble means who risked everything, endured persecution, and had her civil rights violated. Her story not only highlights the central problem of colonialism, but also demonstrates a marginalized community’s many-year struggle for self determination and sovereignty for its country. The filmmaker will be present for post screening Q&A.
Spanish and English with English subtitles. 60 mins. DVD.
Wednesday, February 5
Presented by Frank E. Dobson, jr., Director, Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center.
USA (1960) Dir. John Ford
Frank Dobson examines the film career of underappreciated African American actor Woody Strode. “The first big budget Western to feature a black hero.” Karl Williams, Rovi. (See also Pork Chop Hill, below.)
English. 111 mins. DVD
Pork Chop Hill
Wednesday, February 12
Presented by Frank E. Dobson jr., Director, Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center
USA (1959) Dir. Lewis Milestone
English. 98 mins. DVD
El Barrio Tours
Thursday, February 13
Presented by William Luis, Gertrude Conway Vanderbilt Professor of Spanish, Director of Latino and Latina Studies Program; and Lorraine Lopez, Associate Professor of English.
USA (2013) Dir. Andrew Padilla
An in depth look at the phenomena of gentrification as seen through the change in the largest Puerto Rican neighborhood in the 50 states: East Harlem. . . . a host of neighborhood activists, residents, and small business owners debate the past, present, and future of their beloved Barrio. (Andrew J. Padilla) The director will be present to introduce the film and for a post-screening Q&A.
English. 28 mins. DVD
Wednesday, February 19
Presented by Frank Dobson, Director, Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center; and Petey Peterson, Program Coordinator, Office of LGBTQI Life.
USA (2002) Dir. Nancy D. Kates
Brother Outsider relies on archival film footage and interviews to offer an incisive portrait of political activist Bayard Rustin. Although his name lacks the familiarity of other major Civil Rights leaders, the film shows that he nonetheless played a central role in the movement's seminal events during the 1950s and '60s. [He was the principal organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2013.] . . .Rustin's political liabilities . . . often kept him out of the spotlight. . . .[Most] problematic . . . was Rustin's homosexuality. [Rustin was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2013.] Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi
English. 89 mins. DVD
Wagner & Me
Thursday, February 20
Presented by Lutz Koepnick, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of German and Film Studies
UK, Switzerland, Russia, Germany (2010) Dir. Patrick McGrady
British performer Stephen Fry is a lifelong admirer of the music of Richard Wagner. He is also Jewish. Fry examines his fascination with Wagner, and confronts Wagner’s troubled legacy, whose music may be thought of as the unofficial soundtrack to the Nazi’s Holocaust atrocities, and who wrote invective propaganda against Jewish contemporaries such as Mendelssohn Can the music that Fry loves be disentangled from its poisonous links with Hitler?
English. 89 mins. DVD. Underwritten by the German Graduate Students Association
The Color Wheel
Wednesday, February 26
Presented by Jennifer Fay, Associate Professor of English and Film Studies, Director of Film Studies; and Thomas C. McGrath, A&S ‘16
USA (2011) Dir. Alex Ross Perry
Alex Ross Perry’s second film is a dark comedy that truly earns that designation with its sarcastic and shallow siblings on a journey through an even more hostile world. The film ultimately emerges as a twisted and empathetic ode to the protective rivalry of sibling relationships. Due to its beautiful 16mm black and white cinematography and perfect execution of many different styles of comedy from slapstick to sharp banter, The Color Wheel emerges as both hilarious and moving.
English. 83 mins. No rating (mature audiences) 35mm. Underwritten by Nashville Premieres.
The Muslims Are Coming!
Wednesday, March 12
Presented by Anand Taneja, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Film Studies.
USA (2011) Dir. Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah
One might think that Islamaphobia would hardly be a laughing matter, but the filmmakers extract humor from the experience of being Muslim in Islamaphobic America.
English. 81 mins. DVD. Co-sponsored by The Muslim Student Association.
As I Lay Dying
Thursday, March 13
Presented by Michael Kreyling, Gertrude Conway Vanderbilt Chair of English, Professor of English, and Professor of American Studies.
USA (2013) Dir. James Franco
What would compel a Hollywood "heartthrob" to adapt for the screen and direct William Faulkner's seminal novel, the narrative of which comprises the streams of consciousness of multiple characters? Are Franco's efforts successful? Do those efforts provide fresh insight into the novel? Is As I Lay Dying (and all of Faulkner) more film than novel from the start?
English. Rated R. 110 mins. DVD
My So-Called Enemy
Tuesday, March 18
Presented by the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center
USA (2010) Dir. Lisa Gossels
In 2002, six Palestinian and Israeli teenage girls participated in a U.S.-based program where they came to know their "enemies" as human beings. The coming of age story documents how they reconcile their transformative experience with the realities of life in the Middle East over the next 7 years, and explores the human consequences of all conflicts as seen through the eyes of the six young women.
English, Arabic, Hebrew with English subtitles. 87 mins. DVD
Wednesday, March 19
Presented by Douglas Knight, Drucilla Moore Buffington Professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies.
USA (2013) Dir. Michael Singh
Singh makes a powerful case about the prevalence of stereotyping Arabs and Muslims in films, the media, and elsewhere. Much of the research for the film was undertaken at Vanderbilt’s Television News Archives. The director will participate in post-screening Q&A via Skype.
English. 95 mins. DVD.
Tuesday, April 1
Presented by Peggy Setje-Eilers, Assistant Professor of German
Australia, Germany, UK (2013) Dir. Cate Shortland
Juxtaposing the idealized, romantic ideal of the National Socialist view of Germany with the realities of children at risk in a post-war landscape, Shortland creates a beautiful and thought-provoking dissonance.
German with English subtitles. 109 mins. 35mm
Tuesday April 8
Presented by Susan Kevra, Senior Lecturer in French
Canada (2005) Dir. Jean-Marc Vallée
This coming of age story centers on Zach, one of five sons living in a working class Montreal neighborhood. Born in the 1960s to a doting mother and macho father, Zach struggles with his identity and sexuality against the backdrop of Quebec's Quiet Revolution, a period characterized by radical break from its repressive, Catholic past. The film is at once moving, humorous and painful, offering us a vision of Canada many Americans know little about, while exploring territories of the heart that transcend national differences.
French with English subtitles. 137 mins. DVD
Aus der Zeit (Out of Time)
Wednesday, April 9
Presented by the German Graduate Students Association
Austria (2007) Dir . Harald Friedl
The film follows the plight of four, generations-old family businesses in Austria as they face threats from globalization and gentrification. The film was awarded the Seattle International Film Festival's 2007 Grand Jury Prize for best documentary. The director will be present for post-screening Q&A.
German with English subtitles. 80 mins. DVD.
Der Wand (The Wall)
Thursday, April 10
Presented by Lutz Koepnick, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of German and Film Studies
Austria, Germany (2012) Dir. Julian Pölsler
Martina Gedeck brings a vivid intensity to this mysterious and riveting tale of survival set in a spectacularly beautiful Austrian mountain landscape. Based on Marlen Haushofer’s eponymous classic novel, The Wall is a gorgeous, mesmerizing adventure film that raises profound questions about humanity, solitude, and our relationship to the natural world. Music Box Films
German with English subtitles. 108 mins. DVD
Time of the Gypsies
Wednesday, April 16
Presented by Tatiana Filimonova, Mellon Assistant Professor of Russian
UK, Italy, Yugoslavia (1988) Dir. Emir Kusturica
Two-time Palme d'Or winner Emir Kusturica directs the first in history feature-length film about Roma whose dialogue is largely Romani. This coming-of-age portrait follows a Yugoslavian Gypsy whose telekinetic powers become the vehicle for a prosperous career as an outlaw in Milan. The soundtrack by the renowned composer and musician Goran Bregović features melodious and fiery Balkan Gypsy tunes. Breathtaking beauty mixes with magical realism and scabrous satire. Michael Brooke
Romani, Serbo-Croat, and Italian with English subtitles. 136 mins. VHS
The International Lens Film Series is presented by the Dean of Students office and coordinated by Arts and Campus Events and International Student and Scholar Services in partnership with departments, centers, and programs across the campus.