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Fall 2008

International Lens, a film series with a global perspective, uses film screenings as a forum to promote conversation among Vanderbilt’s diverse community of students, faculty and staff. International Lens strives to transcend geographic, ethnic, religious, linguistic and political boundaries by facilitating conversation and greater cross-cultural understanding through cinema. The series is a partnership between the Office of the Dean of Students and academic departments, centers and programs.

For Nashville community participants in the International Lens screenings, parking is available at no charge in ZONE 2 Lot 2 on West End Avenue at 23rd ave south. Please avoid parking in spaces that are reserved and marked as such by signs. If the lot is full, there are abundant metered spaces on West End for which there is no charge after 6pm. Persons with disability access requirements may make arrangements and get information by calling 322-6400. Parking & Directions Map

Sarratt cinema is located in the sarratt student center near 24th avenue south and vanderbilt place.

NOTE: Due to unforeseen issues with shipping the print of Playing the Victim, the 7pm screening in Sarratt Cinema on Wednesday, November 5, will feature a projected DVD image, in Russian, with NO English subtitles. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Heavenly Creatures

Wednesday, September 3

Presented by: Claire Sisco King, Assistant Professor, Communication Studies

(1994) New Zealand. Director: Peter Jackson. Rated R. Based on actual events, this drama from Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson retells the story of two adolescent girls, outcasts who become best friends, whose fantasy life becomes more intense as their bond becomes more obsessive. They murder one of their mothers when she threatens to break up their friendship, and stand trial in one of the most controversial cases in New Zealand history. English. 98 minutes.

Regular Lovers

Wednesday, September 10

Presented by: Robert Barsky, Professor of French and Comparative Literature

(2005) France. Director: Philippe Garrel. Not rated. This elegiac film, which looks back at the events of 1968 in Paris, follows a young poet and draft dodger (Louis Garrel) as he transitions from impassioned idealist and revolutionary to hopeless romantic then to adrift bohemian and parasitic houseguest. Garrel’s semi-autobiographical, low-key epic muses on the personal and the political—and the era when they were most vividly one and the same. In French with English subtitles. 178 minutes.

Presented as part of The Tournées Festival.*


Dans Paris

Friday, September 12

Presented by: Sarah Childress, Ph.D. Candidate in English

(2006) France. Director: Christophe Honoré. Not rated. This wistful tale of two brothers in the City of Lights recalls vintage Godard and Truffaut in its playful approach to serious subjects and its beguiling shifts in tone and tempo. Filled with references to iconic French films, Honoré’s ode to the pleasures of love, family and lazy afternoons in bed reminds us that life is for living. In French with English subtitles. 90 minutes.

Presented as part of The Tournées Festival.*

Wild Side

Wednesday, September 17

Presented by: Nora Spencer, Director of LGBTQI Life at the K.C. Potter Center

(2004) France. Director: Sébastien Lifshitz. Not rated. A tenuous family forms between a transsexual prostitute, Stephanie, her lover James and an illegal Russian immigrant, Mikhail. When summoned to provide comfort to her dying mother, Stephanie comes to rely on this support network as their bonds tighten through shared struggles and momentary triumphs. In French, English, Russian with English subtitles. 93 minutes.

Presented as part of The Tournées Festival.*

Heartbeat Detector

Thursday, September 18

Presented by: Lynn Ramey, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of French & Italian

(2007) France. Director: Nicolas Klotz. Not rated. Many workers the world over complain that their bosses are crazy, but it’s Simon’s job to find out if his actually is. A human resources psychologist hired to investigate the bizarre behavior of the director of a German chemical firm, Simon uncovers secrets that the modern-day captains of industry have kept buried since the darkest days of World War II. In French with English subtitles. 141 minutes.

Presented as part of The Tournées Festival.*


Wednesday, September 24

Presented by: Vivien G. Fryd, Professor and

Vice Chair, Department of History of Art

(1986) United Kingdom. Director: Derek Jarman. Not rated. This reflection on art, sexuality and identity retells the life of the celebrated 17th- century painter through his brilliant, nearly blasphemous paintings and his flirtations with the underworld. The film incorporates Caravaggio’s aesthetic in its own visuals and stars Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) and Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings). In English. 93 minutes.


Thursday, September 25

Presented by: David Wood, Joe B. Wyatt Distinguished Professor of Philosophy

(2006) France. Director: Bruno Dumont. Not rated. André Demester’s world consists of his farm and walks with his friend Barbe. There’s not much to do in Flanders so he leaves to be a soldier in a far-off war. War’s terrible reality forces him to make harsh decisions while, back home, Barbe suffers in a war of her own. When André returns, they discover that love may be their only salvation. Winner of the 2006 Cannes Grand Jury Prize. In French with English subtitles. 91 minutes.

Presented as part of The Tournées Festival.*


Tuesday, September 30

Presented by: Gerald Figal, Associate Professor, Department of History and East Asian Studies

(2006) Japan. Director: Satoshi Kon. Rated R. Three scientists invent a device that allows people to record and watch their dreams. The machine is stolen and the trio must find the thief as they ward off attacks on their own psyches. Dreams and reality merge while characters question the limits of science and surveillance in this exciting anime adventure. In Japanese with English subtitles. 90 minutes.


Wednesday, October 1

Presented by: The Center for Latin American Studies; facilitator, Jason Borge, Assistant Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

(2004) Chile. Director: Andrés Wood. Not rated. Pedro Machuca is an impoverished boy brought into an upper-class private school during Chile’s brief socialist era. He is befriended by wealthy Gonzalo and discovers an exciting but complicated world outside his own. But the distance between the boys’ two worlds ultimately becomes impossible to bridge once the bloody military coup erupts in 1973. In Spanish with English subtitles. 120 minutes.


Wednesday, October 8

Presented by: Andrea Mirabile, Assistant Professor, Department of French & Italian

(2006) Italy. Director: Emanuele Crialese. Rated PG-13. An unexpected love blossoms between a Sicilian widower and a mystery-shrouded Englishwoman during their steamship journey to the “new world.” They vow to reach the America of their dreams, whatever the cost. Crialese’s novel imagining of the journey between two worlds, from a past left behind to a family transformed, makes for a fascinating reinvention of the emigrant saga and its themes of hope, sacrifice and forgetting. In Italian with English subtitles. 112 minutes. Additional support provided by the Max Kade Center for European & German Studies

Enemies of Happiness’

Thursday, October 9

Presented by: Stacy Nunnally, Director, Gender Matters Programming, Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center

(2006) Denmark. Directors: Eva Mulvad and Anja Al Erhayem. Not rated. In 2005, Afghanistan held its first parliamentary elections in 35 years. Among the candidates was Malalai Joya, a courageous, controversial 27-year-old woman. This documentary recounts the final weeks of her candidacy and provides a snapshot of life and politics in war-torn Afghanistan. Winner of the World Cinema Jury Prize in Documentaries at Sundance. In English and Dari with English subtitles. 59 minutes. DVD.

Four Days in September

Tuesday, October 14

Presented by: The Center for Latin American Studies; facilitator, Mario Higa, Assistant Professor, Spanish and Portuguese Department

(1997) Brazil. Director: Bruno Barreto. Rated R. This tense and understated drama tells the story of the 1969 kidnapping of the U.S. ambassador to Brazil, Charles Burke Elbrick, by left-wing revolutionaries. Over four anxious days, the personal encounters between the kidnappers and Elbrick reveal a struggle between commitment and conscience in these men caught up in violent circumstances. Nominated for a Best Foreign-Language Oscar. In English and Portuguese with English subtitles. 105 minutes.

On the Map

Thursday, October 16

Presented by: Ifeoma Nwankwo, Associate Professor, English Department

Please note: this film will be screened at 7:30 p.m. in The Commons Multipurpose Room 235.
**Special Note: Before you see the film, visit the filmmaker’s blog here**

The Commons presents a Q&A with the director following the screening. (2007) Barbados. Director: Annalee Davis. Not rated. Shot on location in Guyana, Barbados and Trinidad, this documentary gives undocumented CARICOM migrants who have traveled throughout the region a chance to speak about their experiences. The film reveals a generally unknown aspect of Caribbean–undocumented migration. The linguistically and visually lush interplay between the voices of Caribbean Community migrants themselves, images from their lives, and the cultural and physical terrains of the islands reveals the complex tensions between individual and national self-image in the region and notions of a collective “Caribbean” identity. In English and Creole with English subtitles. 62 minutes. DVD

I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone

Friday, October 17

Presented by: Peter Lorge, Senior Lecturer, History Department and East Asian Studies Program

(2007) Malaysia. Director: Tsai Ming-Liang. Not rated. Homeless, Hsiao Kang is robbed, beaten and left for dead. He is found and nursed by Rawang, an immigrant worker who develops strong feelings for his patient, feelings that are reflected in the eyes of Chyi, a waitress in a run-down coffee shop. And so a triangle forms as a blanket of noxious fog settles over the city. In Taiwanese, Malay, Mandarin and Bengali with English subtitles. 118 minutes. Financial support provided by Mimi and Scott Manzler.

Los Muertos

Wednesday, October 22

Presented by: Jason Borge, Assistant Professor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese

(2004) Argentina. Director: Lisandro Alonso. Not rated. Through a clearing in the dense jungle, we see the dead bodies of two young people. Twenty years later, an old man named Vargas is released from prison. He heads downriver to find his daughter and slowly allows the jungle to reclaim him along the way. This gorgeously-shot film explores the boundaries between nature and civilization and the violence that lurks in both. Winner of the International Critics Prize at the Venice Film Festival. In Spanish and Guarani with English subtitles. 82 minutes. Financial support provided by Mimi and Scott Manzler.


Wednesday, October 29

Presented by: The Center for Latin American Studies; facilitator, Marshall Eakin, Professor, Department of History

(2004) Argentina. Director: Gastón Biraben. Not rated. Self-assured Cristina Quadri suddenly learns that she is Sofia Lombardi, the daughter of activists who disappeared in the 1970s. Forced to live with her birth family through court decree, she begins to question the life and the self she once knew. She also begins a search for the truth about her desaparecidos parents. The film angrily grapples with the horrors of Argentina’s recent history and explores the consequences of repression, both political and psychological. In Spanish with English subtitles. 115 minutes.

Smoke Signals

Thursday, October 30

Presented by: Jeffrey Tlumak, Associate Professor and Chair, Philosophy Department

(1998) United States. Director: Chris Eyre. Rated PG-13. Victor and Thomas travel to Phoenix to retrieve the ashes of Victor’s father. Throughout their journey, the two struggle to understand themselves, their relationships and the ties that bind them to one another and to their culture. Based on short stories by Sherman Alexie, this touching drama is the first feature film to be written, directed, and co-produced by an American Indian crew and creative team. Audience Award winner at Sundance. In English. 89 minutes.

The Host

Friday, October 31

Presented by: Paul Young, Associate Professor, Director of Film Studies

(2006). Korea. Director: Bong Joon-ho. Rated R. An exhilarating monster movie, both thrilling and provocative, this creature feature doubles as a cheeky satire on family ties and global affairs. A toxic monster, identified as the host of an unknown virus, is born when a U.S. military doctor orders a South Korean soldier to discard chemicals into Seoul’s Han River. The monster snatches Gang-du’s daughter (among scores of others) and he and his loving, though highly-dysfunctional, family set out to rescue her. In Korean with English subtitles. 120 minutes. Please join us for this Monster Mash event in costume! Event cosponsored by the Film Studies Program at Vanderbilt.


Sunday, November 2

Presented by: Vanderbilt Holocaust Lecture Series; facilitator, Jay Geller, Assistant Professor of Modern Jewish Culture, Vanderbilt Divinity School

Please note: this film will be screened at 6 p.m. (2008) Israel. Director: Ari Libsker. Not rated. The true story of a series of pornographic paperbacks called ‘Stalags’ that became national bestsellers in Israel during the early 1960s. At a time when Holocaust scholarship was in its infancy, these tales of lusty female SS officers sexually abusing camp prisoners gave many young Israelis their first exposure to the brutal realities of the Second World War. In Hebrew with English subtitles. 62 minutes. Financial support provided in part by Mimi and Scott Manzler.

Playing the Victim

Wednesday, November 5

Presented by: Irina Makoveeva, Mellon Assistant Professor of Russian, Germanic & Slavic Languages Department and Leah Marcus, Edwin Mims Professor of English

(2006) Russia. Director: Kirill Serebrennikov. Not rated. This black-humored adaptation of Hamlet, by one of Russia’s hottest young theater directors, follows the adventures of a young Muscovite, Valya, who “plays the victim” in video re-enactments of murders under investigation. As if being “killed” day after day isn’t bad enough, Valya must also face an oppressive home life and the reproaches of his dead father’s ghost, who has a murder of his own to re-enact. Winner of the Grand Prize at the first Rome International Film Festival. In Russian with English subtitles. 100 minutes.

Since Otar Left…

Thursday, November 6

Presented by: F. Clark Williams, FLiCX Administrator, Office of the Dean of Students

(2003) France. Director: Julie Bertuccelli. Not rated. In this bittersweet tale of deception and affection, three Georgian women live together in their stately-yet-crumbling apartment in Tbilisi. The mother pines for her beloved son Otar, a physician who is now a construction worker in Paris. When her daughters receive tragic news about their brother they must make an impossible choice: should they tell their mother the truth or protect her from it? Winner of the Critics’ Week Grand Prize at Cannes. In French, Russian and Georgian with English subtitles. 102 minutes.

Body and Soul

Wednesday, November 12

Presented by: Alfredo Vergara, Deputy Director, Institute for Global Health

(2001). South Africa. Director: Melody Emmett. Not rated. A documentary examination of how HIV/AIDS is forcing religious leaders in South Africa, a country where 90% of the population claim one sort of religious affiliation or another, to reassess their attitudes on sexuality. Part of the Steps for the Future collection, this film forms part of a media-advocacy campaign to promote discussion around HIV/AIDS-related topics and to reveal the effect of HIV/AIDS on individuals, families, communities and nations. In English. 52 minutes. DVD.

Good Bye Lenin!

Friday, November 14

Presented by: Dieter Sevin, Professor and Chair, Germanic and Slavic Languages Department

(2003) Germany. Director: Wolfgang Becker. Rated R. Alex’s proudly socialist mother falls into a coma in October, 1989, before the fall of the Berlin Wall. When she awakens, her heart is so weak that any shock might kill her. To protect his mother, Alex transforms the family apartment into an island of the past where he works to convince her that nothing has changed. In German with English subtitles. 118 minutes.

Caramel held in conjunction with International Education Week

Tuesday, November 18

Presented by: Richard McGregor, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and : Stacy Nunnally, Director, Gender Matters Programming, Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center

(2007) Lebanon. Director: Nadine Labaki. Rated PG. In Beirut, five women meet regularly in a beauty salon to confide in each other about the joys and pain of love, longing, and responsibility. Layale has an affair with a married man while ignoring an admirer. Jamale, a recently divorced actress, frantically competes with younger women for work. Nisrine, a Muslim, worries her fiancé might discover she’s not a virgin. Rima develops a crush on a client. Aunt Rose contends with her demanding sister. Can their friendships see them through? In Arabic and French with English subtitles. 95 minutes.

My Brother’s Wedding

Wednesday, November 19

Presented by: Frank Dobson, Director, Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center

(1985) United States. Director: Charles Burnett. Not rated. Pierce Mundy has only 24 hours to make a consequential decision: should he cast his lot with the downtrodden African-American community of Watts and go to his best friend’s funeral or should he aspire for better things and attend his brother’s wedding? In English. 81 minutes. The recently-restored, director’s-cut version of independent filmmaker Charles Burnett’s classic. Digibeta. Financial support provided by Mimi and Scott Manzler.


Tuesday, December 2

Presented by: Gregg Horowitz, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Robert Talisse, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Political Science

(2002) Iran. Director: Abbas Kiarostami. Not rated. Renowned filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami’s latest addition to the DV revolution, this “dashboard cam” drama focuses on ten conversations between a female driver in Tehran and the passengers in her car. Her exchanges with her young son, a jilted bride, a prostitute, a women on her way to prayer and others, shed light on the lives and emotions of women in the complex society of contemporary Iran. In Persian with English subtitles. 94 minutes. DVD.

Bodas de Sangre

Wednesday, December 3

Presented by: William M. Akers, Senior Lecturer, Film Studies Program

(1981) Spain. Director: Carlos Saura. Not rated. One of Spanish cinema’s great auteurs, Carlos Saura brought international audiences closer to the art of his country’s dance than any other filmmaker before or since. In this first film of his Flamenco Trilogy, Saura merged his passion for music with his exploration of national identity. Focusing on a single dress rehearsal for legendary choreographer Antonio Gades’s adaptation of poet/playwright Federico Garcia Lorca’s tale of passionate revenge, the film features mobile camerawork and rhythmic editing that synchronizes the viewer’s experience with the dancers’ every movement. In Spanish with English subtitles. 71 minutes. DVD.

INTERNATIONAL LENS is sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students and coordinated by the Office of Arts & Creative Engagement and the Office of International Student & Scholar Services in collaboration with Vanderbilt University Academic Departments, Programs, and Centers.