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Spring 2014

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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. Megumi Nishikura will be present for post-screening discussion. Japanese with English Subtitles. 90 mins. DVD. Underwritten in part by Intercultural Affairs and Advocacy.

Traveling Light

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 2016
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.

O Apóstolo

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.

Woody Strode: Extraordinary American Film Actor

Frank Dobson examines the film career of underappreciated African American actor Woody Strode.

Sergeant Rutledge

Wednesday, February 5
Presented by Frank E. Dobson, Jr., Director, Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center
USA (1960) Dir. John Ford. The first big budget Western to feature a black hero, this military courtroom drama from director John Ford stars his long-time stock player Woody Strode. Karl Williams, Rovi. 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. A Korean War war film based upon the book by military historian Brigadier General S. L. A. Marshall, an eyewitness, depicting the bitterly fierce first Battle of Pork Chop Hill between the U.S. Army’s 7th Infantry Division, and Chinese and Korean Communist forces at the end of the Korean War in April 1953. 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.

Brother Outsider

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 2016
USA (2011) Dir. Alex Ross Perry. Perry’s second film is a dark comedy that earns the 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. Blu-ray. 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 seven 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.

Valentino’s Ghost

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. What might it have been the experience of the children of Nazi parents in immediate post-war Germany? 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’s film is thought-provoking and dissonant. 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. Moving, humorous and painful, the film offers 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. 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.

Die 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 Bregovic 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.