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Our 32 Year, 2013-2014
Join us for our 32nd year and explore in eight international films the theme of "Identity in Diversity: Religious Pluralism." A discussion session follows each film for those who wish to stay.
9/22/2013, Lore, Cate Shortland, Germany(2012), 109
Spring 1945—the German resistance collapses. As the Allied forces sweep across the land, five children find themselves abandoned to an uncertain fate with their Nazi parents imprisoned. Lore, the eldest, Saskia Rosendahl, takes charge of her younger siblings, embarking on a journey across a devastated country. On the road, they struggle to survive the punishing post-war conditions as Lore begins to understand the reality and consequences of her Nazi parents’ actions, their support of the atrocities of the Holocaust.
-“A remarkable visual, cinematic and moral journey. Not like anything you’ve seen before.” Salon -"Intense and emotional. Rosendahl is mesmerizing. At its heart Lore qualifies as a coming-of-age story, but it is far from the ones we usually see. " LA Times -"Critic's Pick! The film sustains an air of overarching mystery in which the viewer, like the title character, is in the position of a sheltered child plunked into an alien environment and required to fend for herself without a map or compass.” NY Times -“Uniquely impressionistic, sensuous, and tense—a compelling, nightmarish fable about survival and identity.” NY Magazine -“4 STARS! Brave, gripping, relentlessly absorbing…a Holocaust film unlike any other … emotionally overwhelming…a remarkable accomplishment.” NY Observer -"The haunting Rosendahl manages to seem by turns a perfectly unbending Nazi youth, a frightened little girl forced to grow up too quickly, and a sensuous young woman bursting into bloom." Village Voice -"Shortland’s straightforward approach to the blinders worn by Hitler Youth creates a disconcerting and eerie film, made even more memorable since it’s seen through the prism of childhood’s end." NY Daily News
10/6/2013, Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets, Nabil Ayouch, Morocco(2000), 90
Winner of over 40 international film festival awards, Ali Zaoua features children from the streets of Casablanca, a far cry from the iconic images of the legendary film Casablanca. Director Ayouch's compassion toward the children and their plight is evident in every frame of the film as he contrasts their stark reality with the fantastic dream world to which they seek to escape. The most acclaimed Moroccan film ever made and a splendid example of cinematic magical realism. The first film from this country in the Film Institute’s history.-"An engaging and powerful piece of work." The Guardian -“Ayouch takes a subject that could be thoroughly depressing and creates cinematic magic.” San Francisco Chronicle -"Not to be missed." Seattle Weekly -“It’s the beguiling performances from the three young children that are really captivating; it's their sense of the comic and the tragic elements of their predicament that gives the film its enjoyable energy.” BBC -“Ayouch balances the pessimism with gorgeous wide-screen photography, a wistfully hopeful conclusion and a succession of gracefully animated sequences designed to show his characters' more gentle inner worlds.” Seattle Post-Intelligencer
10/20/2013, The Other Son, Lorraine Levy, France(2012), 105
As he prepares to join the Israeli army for his national service, Joseph discovers he is not who he thinks he is. This revelation turns the lives of a Tel Aviv Israeli family and a West Bank Palestinian family upside-down, forcing them to reassess their respective identities, values and beliefs. A tender, warm and heartfelt drama grounded in humanism and well-nuanced acting. This film’s screening is timed to connect with Eboo Patel’s speech on campus in the OCU Distinguished Speaker Series event, Oct. 23.-“In a part of the world where hope and optimism haven't shown their faces in a long time, it's hard not to feel carried along by the generously conciliatory spirit that warms The Other Son. Movies have rarely been known to change the world, but you never know.” NPR -“The cast's performances are so gut-wrenching that the film's hopeful message and abundance of heart prove impossible to resist.” Time Out -“It's done persuasively enough that you wonder how you'd feel under similar circumstances.” Boston Globe -“The Other Son raises the stakes on what is already an emotionally charged situation.” The Huffington Post -“The Other Son waters the seeds of empathy in our hearts as we ponder the miracles that can happen when we walk a mile in another person’s shoes and truly desire to understand the broader context of another’s life.” Spirituality & Practice
11/3/2013, Secret Sunshine, Lee Chang dong, South Korea(2007), 142
Sin-ae moves with her son to Miryang, the town where her dead husband was born. She settles in, trying to make friends among the suspicious locals, but attracting only the unwelcome attention of a shambling mechanic. As she sets out on new foundations, another tragic event overturns her life. Jeon Do-yeon's magnificent performance as Sin-ae won her Best Actress at Cannes. This film along with Poetry, shown in the Film Institute two years ago, ranks Lee Chang dong as one of the world’s greatest living directors. More truth and wisdom emerges from Secret Sunshine than most films about faith and hope.
-"As dense and gripping as a great novel. It is a great movie, by a major figure in world cinema." NY Times -"The film is brave and unsparing and asks some challenging and disquieting questions. It's a hard film to write about without using superlatives." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times -“One of the year's best films.” Village Voice -“A secular hymn to the small triumphs and cavernous tragedies of the everyday, and to our awesome ability to cope.” LA Weekly -“Superbly observed study of a woman's spiritual odyssey, filled with honest drama, unexpected humor and brilliant revelations.” Film Journal International
1/26/2014, The Violin, Francisco Vargas, Mexico(2006), 98
The most internationally awarded Mexican film in history and the most requested film on last year’s evaluation forms, The Violin detailes the struggle between the peasants and military in 1970s-era Mexico. Don Plutarco (Angel Tavira) is a dignified elder who makes his living as a traveling musician. On the side, he secretly smuggles weapons and supplies to the freedom fighters attempting to overthrow the oppressive regime. When he returns to his hometown to find that it has been occupied by the army in his absence, the drama begins.
-“A message this political has rarely been delivered in so poetic a form.” LA Times -“One of the most amazing Mexican films in many a year.” Guillermo Del Toro -“A movie of undeniable gravitas and monumentality.” Village Voice -“The weathered Tavira makes a fittingly indomitable hero. He's a character you're likely to remember—his face alone is worth a thousand words.” This is London -“Shot in luminous, high-contrast black and white, it has the rugged if faintly self-important authority of a Hemingway short story.” Seattle Post-Intelligencer
2/9/2014, The White Meadows, Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran(2009), 93
In this dreamlike yet earthbound film, Rahmat the boatman navigates the increasingly salty waters of a coastal land, collecting the heartaches and tears of its inhabitants. But does he remain powerless against their attempts to appease the gods and make the land green again? Drawing firsthand on the challenges faced by Iranian artists of today, writer-director Rasoulof’s deeply atmospheric and poetical film is an allegory of intolerance, brutality and mystified routine that resonates far beyond any one state’s borders. Like Jafar Panahi, who edited this film, director Rasoulof has been harassed by his government. Directed Iron Island: shown in a past Film Institute. Another great Iranian film, the country once again most requested on last year’s film evaluations.
-“A fiercely compassionate call for freedom.” Los Angeles County Museum of Art -“Transportingly beautiful and so immediately human, this work is a treasure.” Frontline -“Wonderful.... A dreamlike allegory of Dante-esque intensity and Beckett-like absurdity.” The Boston Phoenix -“A stunning and startling odyssey through the salt marshes of Iran's Lake Urmia.” Parallax View -“A film of stark visual beauty and powerful imagery; ignorance and doctrinaire rigidity can never be a substitute for morality and justice.” Filmleaf
2/23/2014, Vanaja, Rajnesh Domalpalli, Iran(2007), 112
Set in rural South India, a place where social barriers are built stronger than fort walls, Vanaja explores the chasm that divides classes as a young girl struggles to come of age. Only 14 years old, she goes to work in the house of the local landlady in hopes of learning Kuchipudi dance. Vanaja is not only Domalpalli’s first feature film but also his Thesis at Columbia. The film won 32 International Awards, including the Best First Feature at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival.
-“Beautiful and heart-touching, represents a miracle of casting. Domalpalli tells his story with tender precision, and never an awkward moment." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times -"Absolutely Timeless." NY Times -"Auspicious debut; makes you eager for Domalpalli's next work." Newsweek -"A film that touches the heartstrings." Variety -"This is a movie exotic in look but recognizable in truth, the venture of a novice filmmaker very much ready for prime time." LA Times -"If Domalpalli keeps this up, he might become something new for movies—a discreet combination of Satyajit Ray and Douglas Sirk." Boston Globe -"Sublime direction. Wonder filled film." San Francisco Chronicle
3/9/2014, Incendies, Denis Villeneuve, Canada(2010), 130
In this highly acclaimed suspense thriller in French and Arabic, a mother’s dying wish creates a painful puzzle her children are forced to solve. At the reading of their mother's will, twins Jeanne and Simon are given instructions to travel to Lebanon to piece together the story of the woman who brought them into the world, only to make a shocking discovery. Villeneuve's screen adaptation of a play by a Lebanese-Canadian playwright tells a story of courage, cruelty, family mysteries and a chain of anger that can only be broken by love. This hauntingly enigmatic Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee unfolds backward and forward in time as a riveting, intricate mystery story.
-“Most people do not choose their religions but have them forced upon themselves by birth, and the lesson of Incendies is that an accident of birth is not a reason for hatred.” Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times -“The storytelling in Incendies strikes me as primal the way Greek tragedy is primal. Shattering. Cathartic. It is a breathtaking film.” NPR -“It knocks you off your feet and leaves you shaken.” Washington Post -“A devastating mystery thriller from Quebec filmmaker Villeneuve that grabs you hard and won't let go.” Rolling Stone -“One of the most powerful and fulfilling films I have seen in a long time. Has the white knuckle twist of a great thriller.” The Huffington Post -“A mystery, a melodrama, and a love story, Incendies is foremost a scream of rage at a society destroyed by religion and by men.” Boston Globe -“At every film festival, there's at least one movie that slips in under the radar and ends up taking the crowds by surprise.” Hollywood Reporter
Eboo Patel’s book Acts of Faith will provide direction and reflection for our cross-cultural study. The book will be available at the film showings and Full Circle Bookstore.
Admission to the eight-film series is free, but donations help sustain the Institute's mission. Donations can be made at each film or mailed to the OCU Film Institute Endowment at Oklahoma City University or the OCU Film Institute’s Designated Endowment in the Community Foundation of the Kirkpatrick Family Fund. Oklahoma City University and the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Endowment Fund for the university’s Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film and Literature also support the Institute.
Director: Dr. Harbour Winn
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