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Fall 2023

INTERNATIONAL LENS, a film series with a global perspective, provides a forum to promote conversation among Vanderbilt’s diverse students, faculty, staff, and the greater Nashville community. International Lens endeavors to transcend geographic, linguistic, ethnic, religious, and political boundaries by encouraging conversation and greater cross-cultural understanding through cinema.

The series is organized by the Department of Cinema & Media Arts in collaboration with College of Arts and Science, Dean of Students offices, and other departments, centers, and programs across the University.

There is no charge for admission.

Films are screened in Sarratt Cinema at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. 

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FALL 2023 Schedule of Films

Nostalgia for the Light

Thursday, September 7

Presented by Lutz Koepnick, Max Kade Foundation Chair in German Studies and Professor of Cinema & Media Arts

France, Germany, Chile, Spain (2010)  Dir: Patricio Guzman

Chile’s Atacama Desert is a “gateway to the past,” where people try to understand human life by sifting through what gets left behind. Atop the mountains astronomers from over the world gather to observe the most distant galaxies, while at the foot of the mountains reminders of Chile’s turbulent past are buried, highlighting the similarities between astronomers researching humanity’s past, and the struggle of many Chilean women who still search, after decades, for the remains of their relatives executed during the Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. Spanish, English. 90 min.


Thursday, September 14

Presented by Claire Sisco King, Associate Professor of Communications and Cinema & Media Arts

USA (2008)  Dir: Peter Berg

Hancock, a sarcastic, hard-living, and misunderstood superhero who has fallen out of favor with the public, grudgingly agrees to an extreme makeover from idealistic publicist to repair his image. His life and reputation begin to rise from the ashes, and all seems right again, until he meets a woman with similar powers and the key to his secret past. English. 92 min.

This film screened in association with the Film Theory and Visual Culture Seminar at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.

De Humani Corporis Fabrica

Thursday, September 21

Presented by Carmine Grimaldi, Assistant Professor of Cinema & Media Arts; and Isaac Thomsen, Director of Vaccine Clinical Research and Development at Pfizer

France, Switzerland (2022)  Dir: Verena Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor

Named after a 16th-century book series that was one of the most influential advances in the study of human anatomy, this film explores the human body using specially designed microscopic recording devices, and surveys the hospital as a place of care, suffering, and hope. More transfixing than clinical, the film eschews normal narrative parameters of medical documentation in favor of a rigorously detached, expressionistic look at our tactile yet essentially unknowable flesh and viscera, both demystifying and celebrating life and death. French with English subtitles. 115 min.

La Pecera (The Fishbowl)

Thursday, September 28

Presented by Benigno Trigo, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in the Humanities and Professor of Spanish and Portuguese

Puerto Rico (2023)  Dir: Glorimar Marrero Sánchez

After years of remission, Noelia’s cancer has returned and is spreading quickly. She decides to return to Vieques, the blissful eastern Puerto Rican island where she grew up, and a land grappling with its own poisoning after decades of contamination from U.S. Navy operations. With Hurricane Irma closing in, and alongside her mother in the serene comforts of home, Noelia looks for an answer to her pain in the land she’s always been intertwined with. Spanish with English subtitles. 92 min.

The Fire Within: A Requiem for Katia and Maurice Krafft

Thursday, October 5

Presented by Lily Claiborne, Assistant Professor of the Practice in Earth & Environmental Sciences

UK, France, Switzerland, USA (2022)  Dir: Werner Herzog

This film is a celebration of the imagery captured by volcanologists Maurice and Katia Krafft, who dedicated their lives to exploring the world’s volcanoes. Designed as a ‘requiem’, the film is a non-traditional biography composed almost in its entirety of the footage shot by the Kraffts in a visually stunning collage. The film charts their journey as volcanologists and as filmmakers – a lifelong voyage that was marked by a pursuit of capturing the might of volcanoes and their spectacular and terrifying beauty.  English. 84 min.


Thursday, October 12

Presented by Calynn Dowler, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Pakistan (2022)  Dir: Saim Sadiq

Following a long spell of unemployment, Haider who lives with his wife, his father, and his elder brother’s family in Lahore, Pakistan, finally lands a job at a Bollywood-style burlesque, telling his family he is a theater manager when in actuality he is a backup dancer. As he acclimates to the new job, Haider becomes infatuated with the strong-willed trans woman, Biba, who runs the show – an unforeseen partnership that opens his eyes and ultimately his worldview, in ways both unexpected and intimate. Punjabi, Urdu with English subtitles. 126 min.

The Souvenir

Thursday, October 26

Presented by Shonni Enelow, Professor of English at Fordham University

UK (2019)  Dir: Johanna Hogg

A shy but ambitious film student begins to find her voice as an artist while navigating a turbulent courtship with a charismatic but untrustworthy man. She defies her protective mother and concerned friends as she slips deeper and deeper into an intense, emotionally fraught relationship that comes dangerously close to destroying her dreams. An enigmatic and personal portrait of the artist as a young woman, the film combines passionate emotions and exquisite aesthetics into a lush, dreamlike story of young adulthood and first love.  English. 119 min.

This film screened in association with the Film Theory and Visual Culture Seminar at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.

Partner Screening at Belcourt Theatre

Thursday, November 2, 7:20pm @ The Belcourt Theatre                     

The Holdovers (Screening on 35mm film!)

A curmudgeonly instructor at a New England prep school is forced to remain on campus during Christmas break to babysit the handful of students with nowhere to go. Eventually he forms an unlikely bond with one of them — a damaged, brainy troublemaker — and with the school’s head cook, who has just lost a son in Vietnam. Giamatti gives a career-high performance as the risible teacher who delights in doling out punishment, while newcomer Sessa makes an immediate name for himself, revealing layers of complexity to his character’s rebellious nature. Director Alexander Payne makes a delicate point about how a first impression never tells the whole truth and shows that the pains and tragedies that feel specific to us actually make us a lot more alike than unalike.

Free Chol Soo Lee

Thursday, November 9

Presented by Haerin Shin, Associate Professor of Media & Communication Studies at Korea University

USA (2023)  Dir: Julie Ha, Eugene Yi                  

Sentenced to life for a 1973 San Francisco murder, Korean immigrant Chol Soo Lee was set free after a pan-Asian solidarity movement – which brought together young, third-generation Asian American activists with older, conservative Korean immigrants – helped overturn his conviction. After 10 years in prison, Lee found himself in a new fight to rise to the expectations of the people who believed in him. On his journey from an inspiring icon to a swing-shift janitor struggling with drug addiction, Chol Soo Lee personifies the ravages of America’s prison industrial complex. English. 90 min.

All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt

Special Nashville Pre-Release screening sponsored by A24 Films

Tuesday, November 14, 7:30pm @ Sarratt Cinema

USA (2023)  Dir: Raven Jackson

One of the most visually striking, profoundly moving American moviemaking debuts in years, Raven Jackson’s feature debut is a lyrical immersion into a young woman’s inner world. Filmed and edited with an extraordinary tactility and attention to detail, this impressionistic journey skips ahead and back through decades to tell the story of Mack, whose upbringing in rural Mississippi is touched by grace, dotted with heartbreak, and always carried aloft by the surrounding natural beauty. This haunting and richly layered portrait is a beautiful ode to the generations of people and places that shape us, and a spiritual tribute to the moments, feelings, and connections that make a life.  English. 92 min.

Films are 7:30pm in Sarratt Cinema unless otherwise noted

There are no longer masking requirements inside of Vanderbilt campus buildings or at Sarratt Cinema. In order to keep our community safe, please do not attend any of our screenings if you are feeling unwell.