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Spring 2009

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* New Film Additions
# NOTE: The Passion of Joan of Arc will be projected DVD

Freedom Song

Tuesday, January 13
Presented by: Office of Religious Life; facilitator, Lucius T. Outlaw, Jr. Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, Professor of Philosophy and of African American and Diaspora Studies
USA (2007) Dir: Phil Alden Robinson.
A father (Danny Glover), who knows the costs of protesting, discourages his son from getting involved in the civil rights movement. His son ignores his warnings and joins the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in an attempt to end segregation in their small Mississippi town. Based on the experiences of Charles “Chuck” McDew. DVD. English. Not rated. 150 minutes. Funding provided by the Office of Religious Life. Presented in conjunction with the Martin Luther King Jr. Lectures Series, Charles “Chuck” McDew – Keynote Speaker 


Friday, January 23
Presented by: Korean Students and Scholars Association
South Korea (2002) Dir: Lee Chang-dong.
Released from prison, a mentally disabled young man attempts to reconcile with his victim’s relatives. He meets a woman with cerebral palsy and the two begin an unorthodox love affair frowned upon by society. Winner of the Special Director’s Prize at the Venice Film Festival. Korean with English subtitles. Not rated. 132 minutes. 

Still Life

Wednesday, January 28
Presented by: Ling Hon Lam, Assistant Professor, East Asian Studies Program
China/Hong Kong (2006) Dir: Zhang Ke Jia.
This empathetic portrait of those left behind by a modernizing society is a poetic hybrid of documentary and fiction. Against the backdrop of China’s Three Gorges project, a miner searches for his long-lost ex-wife and a nurse looks for her husband. In the process, they must decide what they can salvage and what they must let go. Mandarin with English subtitles. Not rated. 111 minutes. Financial support provided by Mimi and Scott Manzler. 

The Land of Milk and Honey

Tuesday, February 3
Presented by: Carol Rubin, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and leader of the Nashville Israeli Folk Dancers
Israel (2007) Dirs: Robert Moutal and Zeji Ozeri.
This documentary explores Israel’s emerging folk culture and its effects on international Jewish consciousness. Developed by two Latino Jewish filmmakers in California, the film transcends cultural, religious and national boundaries to examine how a nation gathers support and strength through common beliefs and cultural activities. DVD. English. Not rated. 60 minutes.
We invite you to stay after the film to experience Israeli dancing with the Nashville Israeli Folk Dancers. 

AIDS Jaago

Wednesday, February 4
Presented by: Vikrant Sahasrabuddhe, MBBS, DrPH, Institute for Global Health
India (2007) Dirs: Mira Nair, Vishal Bhardwaj, Santosh Sivan, Farhan Aktar.
Some of India’s finest directors draw on the talents of top box office stars to create films that dismantle myths and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in India.These four short films explore the tragedies and triumphs that make up the human dimension of the disease. Hindi & Kannada with English subtitles. Not rated. 71 minutes. Funding provided in part by the Institute for Global Health. 

Die Mitte

Monday, February 9
Presented by: Gerrit B.M. Dielissen, EU Scholar-in-Residence and John McCarthy, Director, Max Kade Center for European & German Studies
Germany (2004) Dir: Stanislaw Mucha.
A documentary road movie about the search for the geographical and cultural “middle” of Europe. Mucha and his film team take off on an odyssey – sometimes burlesque, sometimes tragicomic – across Central Europe in search of the one “true center” of a continent covered with centers. DVD. German, Polish, Lithuanian. Slovak, Ukrainian, and English with English subtitles. Not rated. 85 minutes. Funding provided by “Getting to Know Europe,” a grant from the European Union.

Stuff and Dough

Wednesday, February 11
Presented by: Victor Ghidu, Senior Staff Scientist
Romania (2001) Dir: Cristi Puiu.
An ambitious teenager trying to set up his own business agrees to deliver a mysterious package of “stuff” in exchange for lots of “dough.” With the package, his best friend and his girlfriend in tow, he embarks on a road trip to Romania’s capital. What could possibly go wrong? Romanian with English subtitles. Not rated. 90 minutes. Financial support provided by Mimi and Scott Manzler. 

The Passion of Joan of Arc

Wednesday, February 18
Presented by: Henning Grunwald, DAAD Visiting Assistant Professor, History Department
France (1928) Dir: Carl Theodor Dreyer.
With its stunning camerawork and striking compositions, Dreyer’s film convinced the world that movies could be art. Based on transcripts from her trial, Dreyer’s silent cinema masterpiece distills Joan’s time in court, imprisonment, torture and execution into a single inquisition where her judges, their faces twisted with contempt, condemn the stalwart young martyr. Silent. Not rated. 110 minutes. Funding provided in part by the History Department. NOTE: The Passion of Joan of Arc will be projected DVD 

For the Bible Tells Me So *

Thursday, February 19
Presented by the Office of LGBTQI Life at the KC Potter Center
USA (2007) Dir. Daniel Karslake
“Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate? Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families–including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson–we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard’s Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.” Not rated. 99 minutes 


Friday, February 20
Presented by: International Awareness Committee; facilitator, Peter Lorge, Senior Lecturer, Department of History and East Asian Studies Program
China (2004) Dir: Yimou Zhang.
This lush martial arts epic explores what it means to be a “hero.” A nameless prefect (Jet Li) is granted an audience with the first Emperor of China who, fearing for his life, forbids visitors to come near him. The prefect’s tale of his triumph over legendary assassins wins the Emperor’s trust. But is this trust well founded? At release, this was the most expensive and highest-grossing film in Chinese history. Mandarin with English subtitles. PG-13. 96 minutes.

El Violin

Wednesday, February 25
Presented by: Jason Borge, Assistant Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Mexico (2007) Dir: Francisco Vargas.
Dignified Don Plutarco, his son Genero, and grandson Lucio make their living as farmers and travelling musicians. They also gather supplies and ammunition for a local guerrilla movement. When the military seizes their remote village, Don Plutarco and his family decide to find a way to recover the ammunition. Spanish with English subtitles. Not rated. 98 minutes.

Failing Haiti

Thursday, February 26
Presented by: Amnesty International, Vanderbilt Chapter; facilitator, Todd Hughes, Director of the Language Center, Lecturer in Spanish & Portuguese
USA (2006) Dir: Rod Paul.
This high-def documentary tries to understand why international efforts continuously fail to make a difference in the lives of Haitians. The international community imposes outside values on a nation with its own distinct culture, and Haitians limit their own internal efforts through misgovernance. There are no easy answers, but one thing is clear: something has to change. DVD. English. Not rated. 58 minutes. 

Vidas Secas

Wednesday, March 11
Presented by: David Wood, Joe B. Wyatt Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
Brazil (1963) Dir: Nelson Pereira dos Santos.
A spare and unsentimental depiction of poverty in Brazil. This cinema novo film follows a family as they struggle to stay alive in a drought-ravaged land. The rawness and austere realism of their harsh and hopeless existence is balanced by their bonds and will to survive. The film captures this family’s world with an elegant naturalism complemented by sequences presented “through the eyes” of each character. Portuguese with English subtitles. Not rated. 103 minutes. Funding provided in part by the English Department. 

Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul

Thursday, March 12
Presented by: Gerrit B.M. Dielissen, EU Scholar in Residence, Max Kade Center for European & German Studies; and the Turkish Student Association
Germany/Turkey (2005) Dir: Fatih Akin.
German musician Alexander Hacke roams Istanbul’s streets to assemble a portrait of contemporary Turkish music that includes such artists as the neo-psychedelic band Baba Zula, fusion DJs Orient Expressions, Turkey’s “Public Enemy” Ceza, Kurdish singer Aynur, the “Elvis of Arabesque” Orhan Gencebay, and legendary divas Müzeyyen Senar and Sezen Aksu. The film explores European identity by juxtaposing the musical heritages of Europe and Turkey. English, German, and Turkish with English subtitles. Not rated. 90 minutes. Funding provided by “Getting to Know Europe,” a grant from the European Union.


Friday, March 13
Presented by: Malaysian Student Association at Vanderbilt
Malaysia (2004) Dir: Yasmin Ahmad.
This romantic “Romeo and Juliet” story explores the love blossoming between a young Chinese man and a Malay girl. The couple are separated by race, religion and class, yet they confront these differences and try to find a way to live together and love one another. Mandarin, Cantonese, English, Hokkien, and Malay with English subtitles. Not rated. 104 minutes.

The Tin Drum

Wednesday, March 18
Presented by: Peggy Setje-Eilers, Mellon Assistant Professor, Germanic & Slavic Languages Department
West Germany/France/Poland/Yugoslavia (1979) Dir: Volker Schlöndorff.
This film adaptation of Günter Grass’s novel presents a tumultuous period in German history through the lens of a young boy who vows never to grow up. Grappling with the rise of fascism, he retreats into a drum-banging, screaming frenzy when the world around him becomes too much. Winner of the 1979 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. DVD. Hebrew, Italian, German, Polish and Russian with English subtitles. Not rated. 142 minutes. Funding provided in part by the Germanic & Slavic Languages Department. 


Thursday, March 19
Presented by: Nathalie Dieu-Porter, Senior Lecturer in French
Belgium/France (2005) Dirs: Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne.
This provocative drama focuses on Bruno, a down-and-out petty thief, who sells his newborn son for quick cash. In an attempt at redemption, Bruno searches for the baby – and for a new way of living. Winner of the Palm d’Or at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. French with English subtitles. R. 100 minutes. Funding provided in part by the French & Italian Department.

Woman on the Beach

Wednesday, March 25
Presented by: Jinah Kim, Assistant Professor, History of Art Department
South Korea (2006) Dir: Sang-soo Hong.
Influenced by Hitchcock’s Vertigo , this nuanced, sweet-and-sour look at the geography of desire follows a director who finds vague respite from his writer’s block through involvement in variously (though similarly) configured romantic triangles. Korean with English subtitles. Not rated. 127 minutes. Financial support provided by Mimi and Scott Manzler. 

Two Million Minutes

Thursday, March 26
Presented by: Vanderbilt Undergraduate Chinese Association; facilitator, Xiu Chen Cravens, PhD, Asst. Dean for International Affairs, Research Asst. Professor of Education Policy, Peabody College
USA (2008) Dir: Chad Heeter.
Between the 8th grade and high school graduation, there are approximately two million minutes. And how every child in every country chooses to spend these minutes profoundly affects their economic prospects for the rest of their lives. This documentary looks at how China, India and the U.S. are preparing their students for the future. DVD. Not rated. Mandarin and English with English subtitles. 54 minutes. 


Friday, March 27
Presented by: Vanderbilt India Association
India (2004) Dir: Ashutosh Gowariker.
This Bollywood drama shows that grassroots initiatives are needed if globalization is to be a positive influence. A NASA scientist returns to India to find his nanny, who lives in a remote village where people struggle to gather basic needs. Challenged by a lovely local schoolteacher, the scientist decides to lead the village in their battle against dependency by helping them power a single light bulb. Hindi and English with English subtitles. Not rated. DVD projected. 189 minutes.


Wednesday, April 1
Presented by: Allison Schachter, Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies
France/Israel (2007) Dirs: Shira Geffen, Etgar Keret.
Poignant and witty, this story of three very different Tel Aviv women weaves an unlikely portrait of modern Israeli life. The women struggle with communication, affection and destiny yet find uneasy refuge in the tranquil seas of this cosmopolitan city. Winner of the Camera d’Or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Hebrew, English, Tagalog and German with English subtitles. Not rated. 78 minutes. Financial support provided by Mimi and Scott Manzler.

A Jihad for Love

Thursday, April 2
Presented by: Community Vanderbilt, Lambda, and the Office of LGBTQI Life; facilitator, Nora Spencer, Director of LGBTQI Life at the K.C. Potter Center
USA/UK/France/Germany/Australia (2007) Dir: Parvez Sharma. This first feature-length documentary to explore the complex intersections between Islam and homosexuality brings to light the hidden struggles of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Muslims to create a relationship with their faith that responds to who they are. English, Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Hindi, Turkish and French with English subtitles. DVD. Not Rated. 81 minutes. 


Wednesday, April 8
Presented by: Michael Kreyling, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English
(2005) Dir: Lars von Trier.
The second of von Trier’s “Land of Opportunity” trilogy, this minimalist stage set drama unfolds on a plantation in rural Alabama where slavery persists 70 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Idealistic Grace Mullington takes over to establish equality and democracy. But will her efforts result in freedom for all or disrupt a delicate balance of racial understandings? English. Not rated. 139 minutes. Funding provided by the English Department. 

Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans

Thursday, April 9
Presented by: Houston Baker, Distinguished University Professor, English Department
USA (2008) Dir: Dawn Logsdon.
This reflection on the relevance of history examines Faubourg Tremé’s prominent place in the national struggle for civil rights. This storied neighborhood’s present remains steeped in its past, when it was the largest community of free African Americans in the antebellum South and home to such activists as Homer Plessy, who defied the practice of “separate but equal.” DVD. English. Not rated. 60 minutes. Funding provided by the English Department. Lolis Eric Elie, Co-Director/Writer/Narrator, will be at the screening. 

Playing the Victim

Wednesday, April 15
Presented by: Irina Makoveeva, Mellon Assistant Professor of Russian in the Germanic and Slavic Languages Department and Leah Marcus, Edwin Mims Professor of English & Director of the Program in Jewish Studies
Russia (2006) Dir: Kirill Serebrennikov.
This black-humored adaptation of Hamlet follows a young Muscovite who “plays the victim” in video re-enactments of murders under investigations. As if being “killed” isn’t bad enough, he also faces an oppressive home life and the reproaches of his dead father’s ghost. Winner of the Grand Prize at the first Rome International Film Festival. DVD. Russian with English subtitles. Not rated. 100 minutes. Funding provided in part by the Germanic & Slavic Languages Department.

White Rainbow

Saturday, April 18
Please note film will be screened in 114 Furman Hall
Presented by: Suhas Ketkar, Professor of Economics
India (2005) Dir: Dharan Mandrayar.
Inspired by true events, this touching drama depicts the experiences of Priya, an affluent young widow who finds herself stripped of her rights, stigmatized by society, and forced to surrender the colors that signify her identity and social status. She travels to Vrindavan, the City of Widows, where she meets three women and, together, they find within themselves the strength to fight for their lives and for the rights of all widows in India. DVD. English and Hindi with English subtitles. PG-13. 94 minutes.
Dr. V. Mohini Giri, President of Guild of Service in India and the principal inspiration for the film will be present at the screening to answer questions.
Parking will be available at the Zone 2 spaces located in Terrace Place Garage and Lots 5A and 5B across from the Law School.

VandyGets Reel

3rd Annual Vanderbilt Student Film Festival
Sunday, April 19
Note: screenings will take place in Sarratt Cinema noon-10 p.m.
“Vandy Gets Reel” – showcases films by Vanderbilt undergraduate and graduate students. The festival is sponsored by Film Studies Program and the Office of the Dean of Students. For additional information on submission deadlines and the schedule of film screenings visit


Monday, April 20
Please note film starts at 6:00PM
Sarratt Cinema
Presented by: Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville and the ZEN Production Committee
Japan (2009) Dir: Banmai Takahashi.
Based on the true story of the founder of Zen Buddhism (Zen Master Dogen), this lush, tranquil drama, set in 13th century Japan, brings to life Dogen’s search for enlightenment and the challenges he faced from the established Buddhist order as he worked to spread the practice of Zen. DVD. Japanese with English subtitles. Not Rated. 127 minutes.
Presented as part of the 1st Annual Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. For additional information click here.

The International Lens film series is coordinated by the Office of Arts and Creative Engagement and the Office of International Student and Scholar Services in collaboration with Vanderbilt University academic departments, centers, programs, and student organizations.

All films in 35mm unless otherwise noted.

“Not rated” films may contain material suitable for mature audiences only.

Schedule is subject to change.