Skip to main content

Fall 2014

For additional information call 322-6400. Subscribe to the International Lens Mailing List


Tuesday, September 9
Presented by: Claire Sisco King, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies
USA (2010) Dir: Jeff Malmberg. After a vicious attack leaves him brain-damaged and broke, Mark Hogancamp seeks recovery in “Marwencol,” a 1/6th scale World War II-era town he creates in his backyard. Mark populates the town with dolls representing his friends and family and creates life-like photographs detailing the town’s many relationships and dramas. English. DVD. 83 minutes. Funding provided by the Department of Communication Studies.


Wednesday, September 10
Presented by: Jennifer Fay, Associate Professor of Film and English and Director, Program in Cinema & Media Arts; and Tom McGrath, A&S Class of 2016
Hong Kong, China, Japan, France (2000) Dir: Zhangke Jia. A group of amateur theatre troupe performers’ fate mirrors the general population in China as massive socio-economic changes sweep across the mainland. It begins in 1979 with the troupe performing numbers idolizing Mao Zedong, ending in the 80s when the shows reflect the strong Western influences pervading China. Mandarin and Shanxi with English subtitles. DVD. 154 minutes. Funding provided by the Program in Cinema & Media Arts.

A Touch of Sin

Wednesday, September 17
Presented by: Lutz Koepnick, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of German and Cinema & Media Arts; and Nick Kline, A&S Class of 2016
China (2013) Dir: Zhangke Jia. This daring and poetic film focuses on four characters, each living in different provinces of present-day China, who are driven to violent ends. Based loosely on true stories, the film won the best screenplay award at the Cannes Film Festival. Mandarin, Cantonese, and English with English subtitles. DVD. 133 minutes. Funding provided by the Program in Cinema & Media Arts.

Open Your Eyes

Thursday, September 18
Presented by: Haerin Shin, Assistant Professor of English
Spain, France, Italy (1997) Dir: Alejandro Amenabar. The line between dreams and reality become increasingly blurred after a womanizing playboy is disfigured by a jilted lover in a purposeful car accident. Peeling away at the layers of his subconscious, César begins to realize that reality is no more than a state of mind, and to get his life back he may be forced to take unthinkable measures. Cameron Crowe based Vanilla Sky (starring Tom Cruise) on this film. Spanish with English subtitles. 117 minutes. Funding provided by Cinema & Media Arts, and the Department of English.

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

Tuesday, September 23
Presented by: Samira Sheikh, Associate Professor of History, Asian Studies and Islamic Studies
India (1995) Dir: Aditya Chopra. A young man and woman, both of Indian descent but born and raised in Britain, fall in love during a trip to Switzerland. However, the girl’s traditional father takes her back to India to fulfill a betrothal promise. This romantic comedy was the directorial debut of Aditya Chopra. With a hit soundtrack and great choreography, DDLJ is one of the biggest Bollywood hits ever. Hindi, Urdu, English, and Panjabi with English subtitles. DVD. 181 minutes. Partial funding provided by the Department of History.

Still Life

Wednesday, September 24
Presented by: Jennifer Fay, Associate Professor of Film and English and Director, Program in Cinema & Media Arts and Lutz Koepnick, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of German and Cinema & Media Arts
China, Hong Kong (2006) Dir: Zhangke Jia. This haunting minimalist drama takes as its focal point the real-life construction of the Three Gorges Hydro Project and its accompanying massive dam over the Yangtze River in China (allegedly the largest manmade dam in the world). This project required engineers to flood the surrounding territories, including the two millennia-old city of Fengjie. Jia interweaves two stories in connection with the geographical transformation of that area while the old structures of Fengjie are continually destroyed and new, makeshift structures installed as replacements. Mandarin with English subtitles. 111 minutes. Funding provided by the Program in Cinema & Media Arts.

The Great Beauty

Tuesday, September 30
Presented by: Andrea Mirabile, Associate Professor of Italian
Italy, France (2013) A journalist has charmed and seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades. When his sixty-fifth birthday coincides with a shock from the past, he finds himself unexpectedly taking stock of his life, turning his cutting wit on himself and his contemporaries, and looking past his extravagant life to find Rome in all its glory: a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty. A visual banquet, it was the winner of Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards. Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Chinese with English subtitles. Blu-ray. 142 minutes. Funding provided by the Department of French & Italian.

The Best Things in the World

Wednesday, October 1
Presented by: Marcio Bahia, Assistant Professor of Portuguese
Brazil (2010) Dir: Lais Bodansky. The coming of age story of one month in the lives of Hermano and Pedro, two brothers who find out their parents are getting a divorce because their father is gay. With all the challenges in the process of becoming an adult, we see Hermano’s view of the world change before us. Portuguese with English subtitles. DVD. 100 minutes. This screening is part of Vanderbilt’s Brazil Week, Sept 29–Oct 3.

Yi Yi

Tuesday, October 7
Presented by: Vanderbilt Undergraduate Chinese Association
Taiwan, Japan (2000) Dir: Edward Yang. The extraordinary, internationally embraced Yi Yi, directed by the late Taiwanese master Edward Yang, follows a middle-class family in Taipei over the course of one year. Yang deftly imbues every gorgeous frame with compassionate clarity. Warm, sprawling, and dazzling, this intimate epic is one of the undisputed masterworks of the new century. Mandarin, Min Nan, Hokkien, English, and Japanese with English subtitles. DVD. 173 minutes.

Otelo Burning

Tuesday, October 14
Presented by: VU African Student Union
South Africa (2011) Dir: Sara Blecher. Set in 1989, three Zulu boys escape their harsh township lives through the joy of surfing. Otelo discovers a natural talent, finding freedom on the waves. But in the turmoil of a country on the cusp of change, he is dragged down into a spiral of jealousy and violence. As Nelson Mandela finally walks free, Otelo must choose between two worlds. Otelo Burning is based on real events and is a moving drama of courage, love, betrayal and hope. Zulu with English subtitles. Blu-ray. 105 minutes. Funding provided by African Student Union.

The Past

Wednesday, October 15
Presented by: Esfandiar Zafar, Chief Operating Officer of Information Technology Services
France, Italy (2013) Dir: Asghar Farhadi. The director of the acclaimed film A Separation continues his penetrating examination of deteriorating relationships. An Iranian man reunites with his estranged wife in Paris to finalize their divorce, which is soon complicated by a revelation by her daughter from a previous marriage. Beautifully written and sensitively directed, The Past serves as another compelling testament to Farhadi’s gift for finely layered drama. French and Persian with English subtitles. DVD. 130 minutes. Partial funding provided by Program in Cinema & Media Arts.


Monday, October 20
Presented by: William Luis, Professor of Spanish and Director of the Program in Latino and Latina Studies; and Gloria Rolando, Filmmaker
Cuba (2014) Dir: Gloria Rolando. A documentary about a little-known chapter in the history of Cuba where Haitians were brought to the country as cheap labor to work in the sugar cane fields and coffee plantations in the beginning of the 20th century. Despite the discrimination suffered by the Haitians, the Creole language, voodoo and other musical and dance traditions remain in the cultural landscape of Cuba, even after the workers were shipped back to Haiti when they were no longer needed. Spanish with English subtitles. DVD. 59 minutes. Note: Filmmaker Gloria Rolando will be present at the screening and will lead a post-screening discussion.

How to Survive a Plague

Tuesday, October 21
Presented by: Gregory Barz, Associate Professor of Musicology (Ethnomusicology), and Faculty Head of North House
USA (2012) Dir: David France. The story of two coalitions—ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group)—whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition. Despite having no scientific training, these self-made activists infiltrated the pharmaceutical industry and helped identify promising new drugs, moving them from experimental trials to patients in record time. With never-before-seen archival footage from the 80s and 90s, France puts the viewer smack in the middle of the controversial actions, the heated meetings, the heartbreaking failures, and the exultant breakthroughs of heroes in the making. DVD. 110 minutes. Partial funding provided by North House, The Commons.

Salaam Bombay!

Wednesday, October 22
Presented by: Samira Sheikh, Associate Professor of History, Asian Studies, and Islamic Studies
UK, India, France (1988) Dir: Mira Nair. After the boy Krishna is kicked out of his home and abandoned by the circus, he takes a train to Bombay where he joins a community of street kids and gets a job selling tea for a street bar. He befriends the heroin-addicted Chillum who sells drugs for the local dealer, and the girl Manju, the daughter of a prostitute. Krishna dreams on saving 500 rupees to return home, but life on the streets of Bombay is not easy. Mira Nair’s first feature was made with non-actors, including a number of street children. A superb film that gives a bird’s eye view into the plight of India’s urban street children. Hindi and English with English subtitles. DVD. 113 minutes. Partial funding provided by the Department of History.

The Anonymous People

Tuesday, October 28
Presented by: Katherine Drotos Cuthbert, Office of Wellness Programs & Alcohol Education and Vanderbilt Recovery Support
USA (2013) Dir: Greg D. Williams. A documentary which gives an overview of the American recovery movement including a discussion of Alcoholics Anonymous and its tradition of anonymity. This moving story is told through the faces and voices of the citizens, leaders, volunteers, corporate executives, and public figures who are laying it all on the line to save the lives of others just like them. English. 88 minutes. DVD. Sponsored by the Office of Wellness Programs & Alcohol Education in celebration of Alcohol & Other Drug Awareness Week October 27–31.

Special Event: Access to the Danger Zone

Monday, November 3

Presented by: VU Institute for Global Health

Belgium, Somalia, Kenya, Congo, Afghanistan (2012) Dir: Peter Casaer. Narrated by Daniel Day-Lewis, this documentary provides a harrowing look at the challenges of delivering humanitarian aid in armed conflicts. Access to the Danger Zone explores the strategies that Doctors Without Borders has used to save lives in the world’s worst war zones, including Afghanistan, Somalia, and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Interviews with key experts from Doctors Without Borders, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the United Nations are accompanied by dramatic footage shot in these countries in 2011 and 2012. Join us following the screening for a Q&A with local Doctors Without Borders aid workers, who will share stories from their overseas assignments. Partial funding provided by VU Institute for Global Health.

Link for Registration:

Seeking Asian Female

Tuesday, November 4
Presented by: Rory Dicker, Associate Director, Women and Gender Studies
USA (2012) Dir: Debbie Lum. An eccentric modern love story about an aging white man with “yellow fever” who is obsessed with marrying any Asian woman and the young Chinese bride he finds online. Lum, a Chinese-American filmmaker, documents and narrates from the early stages of the search, through the moment Sandy steps foot in America for the first time, to a year into their precarious union. Global migration, Sino-American relations, and the battle of the sexes weigh in on the fate of their marriage in this captivating documentary. English and Mandarin with English subtitles. DVD. 82 minutes. Partial funding provided by the Department of Women and Gender Studies.

Two Lives

Wednesday, November 5
Presented by: Lutz Koepnick, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of German and Cinema & Media Arts
Germany, Norway (2012) Dirs: Georg Maas, Judith Kaufmann. As the Berlin Wall crumbles, the daughter of a Norwegian woman and a German occupation soldier finds her idyllic life disrupted as she refuses to testify at a trial against the Norwegian state on behalf of her fellow “war children.” A web of secrets is unveiled, until she is finally stripped of everything and her loved ones are forced to take a stand. A sober look into how war, peace and politics splinter lives. German, Norwegian, English, Russian, and Danish with English subtitles. Blu-ray. 97 minutes. Partial funding provided by the Max Kade Center.

The Barber of Birmingham

Tuesday, November 11
Presented by: Frank Dobson, Director of the Black Cultural Center
USA (2011) Dirs: Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin. Eighty five-year-old Mr. Armstrong, an African American barber in Birmingham, Alabama, experiences the manifestation of an unimaginable dream: the election of the first African American president. This colorful and courageous activist of the Civil Rights era casts his vote, celebrates Obama’s victory and proudly unfurls the American flag as he is inducted into the Foot Soldiers Hall of Fame. The documentary raises questions about democracy and patriotism in the face of adversity, and the vigilance and action required to ensure continued forward movement to end racial injustice. English. Blu-ray. 25 minutes. Partial funding provided by the Black Cultural Center.


Wednesday, November 12
Presented by: Peggy Setje-Eilers, Assistant Professor of German
Germany (2013) Dir: Christian Schwochow. East Germany. Summer, late 70’s. Three years after her boyfriend Wassilij’s apparent death, Nelly Senff decides to escape from behind the Berlin Wall with her son Alexej, leaving her traumatic memories and past behind. Pretending to marry a West German, she crosses the border to start a new life in the West. But soon her past starts to haunt her as the Allied Secret Service begin to question Wassilij’s mysterious disappearance. Is he still alive? Was he a spy? Plagued by her past and fraught with paranoia, Nelly is forced to choose between discovering the truth about her former lover and her hopes for a better tomorrow. German, English, Russian and Polish with English subtitles. DVD. 102 minutes. Partial funding provided by the Department of German.

House of Spirits

Tuesday, November 18
Presented by: Center for Latin American Studies
Portugal, Germany, Denmark, USA (1993) Dir: Bille August. Based on Isabel Allende’s novel, this tale begins in South America in 1926 and details the life of four generations. The film traces the post-colonial social and political upheavals of Chile through the genre of magical realism. At its core is the stormy relationship between the supernaturally gifted Clara and her controlling husband. An all-star cast plays in this timeless story of secrets, seduction, revenge and forgiveness. English and Spanish with English subtitles. DVD. 140 minutes. Funding provided by the Center for Latin American Studies.


Tuesday, December 2
Presented by: Petey Peterson, Program Coordinator of LGBTQI Life and Frank Dobson, Director of The Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center
USA (2012) Dir: Lisa Biagiotti. Beneath layers of history, poverty and soaring HIV infections, four Americans redefine traditional Southern values in this documentary about the new American South and the people who inhabit its most quiet corners. Josh seeks the support of an underground gay family hours away from his suffocating Mississippi Delta hometown; Monica and Tammy, with no funds and few resources, try to unite reluctant participants at their annual HIV retreat in rural Louisiana; and Kathie, an Alabama activist, spends 120 days a year fighting a bureaucracy that continues to ignore the South. English. DVD. 72 minutes. This screening is in celebration of World AIDS Day (December 1). Partial funding provided by the Black Cultural Center and Office of LGBTQI Life.