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 “Food and Culture.”

Sep. 08Playtime

(France, 1967) 124 minutes. Introduced by Troy Jollimore, Philosophy.

Jacqes Tati’s 1967 masterpiece follows the escapades of his several characters, including the celebrated Monsieur Hulot (played by Tati himself) through the cityscapes of a bewilderingly and sometimes disturbingly modern Paris. “The Royal Garden sequence, making up roughly half of the film, may be the most formidable example of mise-en-scène in the history of cinema… What other movie converts work into play so pleasurably by turning the very acts of seeing and hearing into a form of dancing?” (Jonathan Rosenbaum)

Sep. 15Eight Men Out

(U.S., 1998) 119 minutes. Introduced by Dennis Rothermel, Philosophy.

Directed by John Sayles (Lone Star, The Secret of Roan Inish), Eight Men Out is a cinematic retelling of the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal, in which several members of the Chicago White Sox conspired with gamblers to intentionally lose the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. The film stars John Cusack, Clifton James, Michael Lerner, Christopher Lloyd, and Charlie Sheen.

Sep. 22Forbidden Games

(France, 1952) 86 minutes. Introduced by Brunella Windsor, ILLC.

In René Clément’s drama, set during World War II, two children, played by Brigitte Fossey and Georges Poujouly, invent and carry out a series of bizarre but consoling private ceremonies and rituals as a means of coping with the trauma of war. The film won the Golden Lion at the 13th Venice International Film Festival; critic Bosley Crowther called it “a "brilliant and devastating drama of the tragic frailties of men, clear and uncorrupted by sentimentality or dogmatism in its candid view of life.” 

Sep. 29The Yes Men Fix the World

(US, 2009) 96 minutes. Introduced by Robert Jones, Philosophy.

The Yes Men Fix the World is the second film (following 2003’s The Yes Men) to depict the culture-jamming activities of anti-globalization activists Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, otherwise known as The Yes Men. In their quest to unearth uncomfortable truths and expose corporate lies, Bichlbaum and Bonannno have posed as spokesmen for the WTO and various corporations. “From New Orleans to India to New York City, armed with little more than cheap thrift-store suits, the Yes Men squeeze raucous comedy out of all the ways that corporate greed is destroying the planet.”

Oct. 06The Salt of the Earth

(France-Brazil 2014) 110 minutes. Introduced by Heather Altfeld, Honors Program.

A visually stunning and intellectually provocative documentary directed by Wim Wenders (Paris, TexasWings of Desire) and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, The Salt of the Earth chronicles the life and work of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado. “The film is suffused with [Salgado's] anguish over the state of our species, and our planet. Yet it ends with a change of heart and a turn of events that make a plausible case for hope."

Oct. 13Vanya on 42nd Street

(US, 1994) 119 minutes. Introduced by Cynthia Lammel, Music and Theater.

Over the course of four years in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s legendary theater director Andre Gregory met with a group of actors including Julianne Moore, Larry Fine, and playwright-actor Wallace Shawn to privately rehearse David Mamet’s adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in an abandoned and decrepit theater. Vanya on 42nd Street, filmed by Louis Malle, captures one of these stirring and stunning rehearsal/performances. (Malle, Gregory, and Shawn had collaborated earlier on My Dinner With Andre, which was shown at the UFS last year.)

Oct. 20The Five Obstructions

(Denmark, 2003) 90 minutes. Introduced by Sarah Pike, Comparative Religion.

The Five Obstructions represents a kind of game between filmmakers Lars von Trier and Jorgan Leith, in which von Trier challenges Leith five times to remake Leith’s 1967 film The Perfect Human (von Trier’s professed favorite film), each time under the constraints of a different “obstruction.” The result is a playful and stimulating examination of the nature of creativity and the role of impediments, self-imposed or otherwise, in the creative process.

Oct. 27The Luzhin Defense

(UK, 2000) 109 minutes. Introduced by Laird Easton, History.

Directed by Marleen Gorris (Mrs. Dalloway, Antionia’s Line) and based on a novel by Vladimir Nabokov (which was in turn partly based on the life of German chess master Curt von Bardeleben) The Luzhin Defense tells the story of a troubled but highly talented chess player (John Turturro) as he falls in love, takes part in an international chess tournament, and struggles against a looming mental breakdown.