University Film Series

$3 donation appreciated, Tuesdays, 7:30pm in the Little Theatre (Ayres 106)

Director: Sarah Pike
Phone: (530) 898-6341

* The Humanities Center’s theme for this year is “Translations.”

Sep. 03The Street / La Strada

(Italy, 1954). 108 mins. Directed by Frederico Fellini. Introduced by Fulvio Orsitto, International Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Zampano (Anthony Quinn) is a cruel, traveling carnival strongman who buys his assistant, a simple-minded young woman named Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina), from her poverty-stricken family. Their fragile relationship is disrupted when Gelsomina meets The Fool (Richard Basehart), who taunts Zampano. La Strada won the inaugural Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1956.

Sep. 10The Elephant Man

(USA, 1980) 125 mins. Directed by David Lynch. Introduced by Troy Jollimore, Philosophy.

John Hurt stars as John Merrick, the hideously deformed 19th-century Londoner known as “The Elephant Man.” Treated as a sideshow freak, Merrick is assumed to be retarded as well as misshapen. In fact, he is highly intelligent and sensitive, a fact made public when one Dr. Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) rescues Merrick from a carnival and brings him to a hospital for analysis. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards.

Sep. 17 *Foreign Land

(Brazil, 1995) 100 mins. Directed by Walter Salles. Introduced by Quirino DeBrito, International Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Foreign Land/ Terra Estrangeira (Brazil, 1995) 100 mins. Directed by Walter Salles. Introduced by Quirino DeBrito, International Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Grand Public Prize winner at Paris’ International Film Forum, this film is a pungent love-on-the-run crime drama set in both São Paolo and Lisbon in the early 1990s.

Sep. 17Diary of a Country Priest

(France, 1951) 115 mins. Directed by Robert Bresson. Introduced by Tony Graybosch, Philosophy

A new priest (Claude Laydu) arrives in the French country village of Ambricourt to attend to his first parish. Through his diary entries, the suffering young man relays a crisis of faith that threatens to drive him away from the village and from God

Oct. 01Central Park 5

(USA, 2012) 120 mins. Co-sponsored by FOCUS Film Festival. Directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon. Introduced by Sarah Pike, Comparative Religion and Humanities.

In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers were arrested and charged for brutally attacking and raping a white female jogger in Central Park. News media swarmed the case, calling it “the crime of the century.” But the truth about what really happened didn’t become clear until after the five had spent years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit. With The Central Park Five, this story of injustice finally gets the telling it deserves.

Oct. 08Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

(Thailand, 2010) 114 mins. Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Introduced by Hope Smith, Music and Theatre.

The Palme d’Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival, Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives is the story of a man who is dying, and as result recalls his past lives and is visited by ghosts and spirits. In his signature cinematic style, the acclaimed Thai filmmaker delivers a strange and mystical world of visionary beauty.

Oct. 15Aguirre: The Wrath of God

(Germany, 1972) 100 mins. Directed by Werner Herzog. Introduced by Jason Tannen, Department of Art and Art History

Klaus Kinski plays Aguirre, a conquistador who leads his soldiers into the Amazon in an obsessive quest for gold. The film is one of the great haunting visions of the cinema. Herzog strove to replicate the historical circumstances of the conquistadors, and the sheer effort of traveling through the dense mountains and valleys of the rainforest in armor creates a palpable sense of struggle and derangement.

Oct. 22 *Portrait of Jason

(USA, 1967) 105 mins. Directed by Shirley Clarke. Introduced by Sarah Pike, Comparative Religion and Humanities.

On a December night in 1966, Clarke and a tiny crew convened in her apartment at the Hotel Chelsea. There, for twelve hours they filmed the one-and-only Jason Holliday as he spun tales, sang, donned costumes and reminisced about good times and bad behavior as a gay hustler, sometime houseboy and aspiring cabaret performer.

Oct. 29Ulysses

(UK, 1967) 137 mins. Directed By Joseph Strick. Introduced by Laura Nice, Department of Comparative Religion and Humanities.

Based on the classic novel by James Joyce, this drama deals with the life of an impotent married Jewish man, his wife and a student/poet in Dublin. This drama was filmed in Ireland with a largely Irish cast and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.

Nov. 05 *Dersu Uzula: "The Hunter"

(Japan and Russia, 1975) 141 mins. Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Introduced by Char Prieto, International Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Dersu Uzala is a 1975 Soviet-Japanese co-production and Kurosawa’s first non-Japanese-language film. The film won the Golden Prize at the Moscow International Film Festival and an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In the early years of the 20th Century, army Captain Vladimir Arseniev (Yuri Solomin) is given the unenviable task of exploring the Ussuri basin in Siberia, close to the Russian border with China. He has with him a small company of soldiers who are willing enough, but inexperienced at fending for themselves in the inhospitable terrain. Fortunately for them, a local hunter named Dersu Uzala (Maksim Munzuk) stumbles upon their camp one night. The soldiers at first treat him as something of a joke because of his poor command of their and his appearance. He’s an old man, but tough and resilient, and after Arseniev takes him on as a guide for the company, he soon earns the men’s respect thanks to his ability to negotiate the natural hazards of the wild.

Nov. 12Stealing Beauty

(France, Italy, UK, 1996) 113 mins. Directed by Bernardo Betolucci. Introduced by Fulvio Orsitto, International Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Lucy (Liv Tyler) has come to Italy to have her portrait done by Ian Grayson, an old family friend. Lucy’s true purpose in coming is to learn more about her mother, but her other motive is to find a handsome Italian boy whose kiss has lingered in her memory. At the time, Lucy fought off the boy’s advances; now, as she prepares herself emotionally to lose her virginity, she entertains the fantasy that he might be “the one.” Set against the gorgeous landscape of Tuscany, Stealing Beauty is as gentle a metaphor as one could imagine, and one that seems to say as much about the filmmaker as the film. Stealing Beauty marks the filmmaker’s return to his native Italy, following a 15-year voluntary exile, and a return, of sorts, to the kind of intimate, personal journeys taken in his work in the late ’60s.

Nov. 19Metropolitan Opera's Production of "Carmen"

(USA, 2009) 180 mins. Produced by Richard Eyre. Introduced by John Mahoney, Honors Program

One of the most popular operas of all time, Carmen "is about sex, violence, and racism—and its corollary: freedom," says Olivier Award-winning director Richard Eyre about his new production of Bizet's drama. "It is one of the inalienably great works of art. It’s sexy, in every sense. And I think it should be shocking." Elina Garanca sings the seductive gypsy of the title for the first time at the Met, opposite Roberto Alagna as the obsessed Don José. Conductor: Yannick Nézet-Séguin; Production: Richard Eyre; Barbara Frittoli, Elina Garanca, Roberto Alagna, Mariusz Kwiecien.

Dec. 10Himatsuri: "Fire Festival"

(Japan, 1985) 126 mins. Directed by Mitsuo Yanagimachi. Introduced by Daniel Veidlinger, Comparative Religion.

The villagers in a beautiful remote area of Japan are divided into the woodsmen, who worship the mountain goddess, and the fishermen, who worship the goddess of the sea. These traditions are threatened by a planned marine park. Tatsuo is a macho lumberjack who hunts boars and monkeys with the young Ryota. Tatsuo is married with two children, has four elder sisters, and is under pressure to sell the family land to the developers. When the fish pens are deliberately contaminated by oil, the fishermen suspect Tatsuo. Kimiko, an old girlfriend of Tatsuo, returns to the village to find money to pay off her debts. During the annual fire festival, Tatsuo becomes angry when the old traditions are not preserved.

Dec. 19American Beauty

(USA, 1999) 122 mins. Directed by Sam Mendes. Introduced by Troy Jollimore, Philosophy.

Noted theater director Sam Mendes, who was responsible for the acclaimed 1998 revival of Cabaret, made his motion picture debut with this film about the dark side of an American family, and about the nature and price of beauty in a culture obsessed with outward appearances. Kevin Spacey plays Lester Burnham, a man in his mid-40s going through an intense midlife crisis. Lester and Carolyn Burnham (Annette Bening) are on the outside, a perfect husband and wife, in a perfect house, in a perfect neighborhood. But inside, Lester is slipping deeper and deeper into a hopeless depression. He finally snaps when he becomes infatuated with one of his daughter’s friends. American Beauty was the screen debut for screenwriter Alan Ball (True Blood and Six Feet Under) and won an Oscar for Best Screenplay.

Feb. 04Shoot the Piano Player

(France, 1960). 81 mins. Directed by Francois Truffaut. Introduced by Tony Graybosch, Philosophy

Shoot the Piano Player (Tirez sur le pianiste) is a French drama based on the novel Down There by David Goodis. Part thriller, part comedy, part tragedy, Shoot the Piano Player relates the adventures of mild-mannered piano player Charlie (Charles Aznavour, in a triumph of hangdog deadpan) as he stumbles into the criminal underworld and a whirlwind love affair. There is much camera movement and characters running, suggesting that Truffaut himself was in a hurry, perhaps sensing he would die at a tragically young age. Truffaut’s second feature is both a sly tribute to American film noir and a moving rethinking of its key tropes.

Feb. 11The Pursuit of Happyness

(USA, 2006). 117 mins. Directed by Gabriel Muccino. Introduced by Fulvio Orsitto, International Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Will Smith stars in this moving tale inspired by the true story of Chris Gardner, a San Francisco salesman struggling to build a future for himself and his 5-year-old son Christopher (Jaden Smith). When his girlfriend Linda (Thandie Newton) walks out, Chris is left to raise Christopher (Jaden Smith) on his own. Chris’ determination finally pays off when he lands an unpaid internship in a competitive stockbroker-training program. But without a salary, Chris and his son are evicted from their apartment and are forced to live on the streets. With self-confidence and the love and trust of his son, Chris Gardner rises above his obstacles to become a Wall Street legend.

Feb. 18Blue Velvet

(USA, 1986). 120 mins. Directed by David Lynch. Introduced by Troy Jollimore, Philosophy

Blue Velvet exhibits elements of both film noir and surrealism. Although initially detested by some mainstream critics, the film is now widely acclaimed and earned Lynch his second Academy Award nomination for Best Director. Kyle Maclachlan stars as Jeffrey Beaumont, a square-jawed young man who returns to his picture-perfect small town when his father suffers a stroke. Walking through a field near his home, Jeff discovers a severed human ear, which he immediately brings to the police. Their disinterest sparks Jeff’s curiosity, and he is soon drawn into a dangerous drama that is being played out by a lounge singer, Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) and the ether-addicted Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper).

Feb. 25Viridiana

(Spain, 1961). 90 mins. Directed by Luis Buñuel. Introduced by Sarah Pike, Comparative Religion

Banned in Spain and denounced by the Vatican, Luis Buñuel’s irreverent vision of life as a beggar’s banquet is regarded by many as his masterpiece. Novice nun Viridiana does her utmost to maintain her Catholic principles, but her lecherous uncle and a motley assemblage of paupers force her to confront the limits of her idealism. Winner of the Palme d’or at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival, Viridiana is as audacious today as ever.

Mar. 04 *The Third Man

(UK, 1949). 104 mins. Directed by Carol Reed. Introduced by Jason Tannen, Art and Art History

The Third Man is a British film noir, particularly remembered for its atmospheric cinematography, performances, and musical score. In this Cold War spy classic, Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten), a third-rate American pulp novelist, arrives in postwar Vienna, where he has been promised a job by his old friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles), and thus begins this legendary tale of love, deception, and murder. Thanks to brilliant performances by Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, and Orson Welles; Anton Karas’s evocative zither score; Graham Greene’s razor-sharp dialogue; and Robert Krasker’s dramatic use of light and shadow, The Third Man, directed by the inimitable Carol Reed, is a film noir masterpiece.

Mar. 11 *The World

(China, 2004). 135 mins. Directed by Jia Zhangke. Introduced by Jason Clower, Comparative Religion

Acclaimed Chinese director Jia Zhangke casts a compassionate eye on the daily loves, friendships and desperate dreams of the twenty-somethings from China’s remote provinces who come to live and work at Beijing’s World Park. A bizarre cross-cultural pollination of Las Vegas and Epcot Center, World Park features lavish shows performed amid scaled-down replicas of landmarks such as the Taj Mahal and the Eiffel Tower. From the sensational opening tracking shot of a young dancer’s backstage quest for a Band-Aid to poetic flourishes of animation and clever use of text-messaging, Jia pushes past the kitsch potential of this surreal setting—a real-life Beijing tourist destination.

Mar. 25 *Lost in Translation

102 mins. Directed by Sofia Coppola. Introduced by Laura Nice, Humanities.

Director Sofia Coppola offers a story of love and friendship blooming under unlikely circumstances in this comedy. Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is a well-known American actor whose career has gone into a tailspin; needing work, he accepts a very large fee to appear in a commercial for Japanese whiskey to be shot in Tokyo. Feeling no small degree of culture shock in Japan, Bob spends most of his non-working hours at his hotel, where he meets Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) at the hotel bar. Lost in Translation was nominated for four Academy Awards and won the award for Best Original Screenplay.

Apr. 01Red

(France and Poland, 1994). 99 mins. Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski. Introduced by Sarah Pike, Comparative Religion

Three Colors: Red is a 1994 film co-written, produced, and directed by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski. It is the final film of The Three Colors Trilogy, which examines French Revolutionary ideals; it is preceded by Blue and White. Krzysztof Kieslowski closes his “Three Colors” trilogy in grand fashion with an incandescent meditation on fate and chance, starring Irène Jacob as a sweet-souled yet somber runway model in Geneva whose life intersects with that of a bitter retired judge, played by Jean Louis Trintignant.

Apr. 08God Loves Uganda

(USA, 2013). 83 mins. Directed by Roger Ross Williams
Introduced by Kate McCarthy (Comparative Religion) and Jim Peck (Congregational Church). Followed by a “talk-back” discussion with guest panelists and the audience.

The feature-length documentary, God Loves Uganda, is a powerful exploration of the evangelical campaign to change African culture with values imported from America’s Christian Right. The film follows American and Ugandan religious leaders fighting “sexual immorality” and missionaries trying to convince Ugandans to follow Biblical law. God Loves Uganda premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 18th, 2013 and has screened at over 50 American and international film festivals, winning numerous awards.

Apr. 15This Must Be The Place

(Italy, France and Ireland, 2011). 118 mins. Dir. Paolo Sorrentino. Introduced by Fulvio Orsitto, International Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Cheyenne (Sean Penn) is a former rock star. At 50, he still dresses ‘Goth’ and lives off his royalties in Dublin with his wife, Jane (Frances McDormand), and their dog. Cheyenne and Jane, who works as a firefighter, have an easy, affectionate, sexually lively relationship, but there is nonetheless something out of place about him, an aura of sorrowful estrangement. The death of his father, with whom he wasn’t on speaking terms, brings him back to New York. He discovers his father had an obsession: to seek revenge for a humiliation he had suffered. Cheyenne decides to pick up where his father left off, and starts a journey, at his own pace, across America.

Apr. 22Changing Lanes

(USA, 2002). 99 mins. Directed by Robert Michell. Introduced by Laura Nice, Humanities.

Director Roger Michell follows up the hit romantic comedy Notting Hill (1999) with this thought-provoking thriller. Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson star as two New York men whose lives become accidentally intertwined in a Good Friday fender bender. Late for a crucial appointment, hotshot lawyer Gavin (Affleck) tosses Doyle (Jackson) a blank check and leaves the scene, while Doyle, whose car is inoperable, is late for a court-appointed custody hearing. Their mutual road rage escalates into a feud. The real subject of Changing Lanes is not revenge, but the malevolence inherent in a competitive society that occasionally breaks through the surface, leaving anyone who takes part feeling ridiculous and bewildered.

Apr. 29Exotica, Atom Egoyan

(Canada, 1994). 103 mins. Introduced by Troy Jollimore, Philosophy

In this cryptic, moody film, seemingly unrelated tales ultimately dovetail to reveal the shared past of a tortured government tax auditor (Bruce Greenwood), a gay pet-shop proprietor (Don McKellar), a sultry young stripper (Mia Kischner) and her co-workers. The characters’ focal point is a kitschy Toronto strip joint called Exotica, where the club’s dancers strut their stuff to satisfy the clientele’s voyeuristic and emotional needs. Exotica is a movie labyrinth, winding seductively into the darkest secrets of a group of people who should have no connection with one another, but do.

May. 06Cloudburst

(USA, 2011). 93 mins. Directed by Thom Fitzgerald.

Cloudburst is a romantic road movie that stars Oscar-winning actresses Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker as Stella and Dot, an aging couple who escape from a nursing home in Maine and drive to Nova Scotia on a quest to be legally married. Dot’s prudish granddaughter (Kristin Booth) decides the best place for Dot is a nursing home. This forces Stella and Dot to make a bold decision: they will leave their hometown and make their way to Canada, where same-sex marriage is legal. En route to Canada, they pick up a young hitchhiker, Prentice, (Ryan Doucette) who is returning to Nova Scotia to visit his dying mother. Despite his bravado, Prentice is a confused and wounded soul who has much to learn from Stella and Dot as they wage their own unexpected battle – after three decades, can they keep their family together? With equal parts humour and grace, Cloudburst explores the important themes of life, death and love through the eyes of this oddball trio.