Humanities Center

University Film Series


The Music Room (Jalsaghar)

Monday, April 10th

6 PM, Ayres Rm 106 (tiered lecture hall), FREE

Indian woman standing in lavish bedroom.

 99 minutes.  Directed by Satyajit Ray (India, 1958)

With The Music Room (Jalsaghar), Satyajit Ray brilliantly evokes the crumbling opulence of the world of a fallen aristocrat (the beloved actor Chhabi Biswas) desperately clinging to a fading way of life. His greatest joy is the music room in which he has hosted lavish concerts over the years—now a shadow of its former vivid self. An incandescent depiction of the clash between tradition and modernity, and a showcase for some of India’s most popular musicians of the day, The Music Room is a defining work by the great Bengali filmmaker.

This film is FREE and open to the public! 

Watch the trailer, The Music Room

 Screened earlier this year...

La Ciénaga (The Swamp) on September 27th

A still from the film, people are lounging by a swamp-looking pool

101 minutes.  Directed by Lucrecia Martel.  (Argentina, 2001)  Introduction by Dr. Sarah Anderson, Languages and Cultures.

When Lucrecia Martel’s highly acclaimed film La Ciénaga (The Swamp) was released in 2001, it helped usher in an innovative movement in Argentinian film, dubbed by critics as the New Argentine Cinema. The film closely documents a bored, repressed, and decadent upper-middle-class Argentine family who spends their summers at an old country house called La Mandrágora, a place that becomes increasingly repressive as the humid summer drags on and the family situation deteriorates. According to film scholar David Oubiña, La Ciénaga is "one of the highest achievements" of the New Argentine Cinema, “a rare expression of an extremely troubled moment in the nation's recent history. It is a masterpiece of singular maturity."

Eraserhead on October 25th

A man with tall curly hair stares down in wonder

89 minutes.  Directed by David Lynch.  (United States, 1977)  Introduction by Dr. Nathaniel Heggins Bryant, English.

The cult film par excellence, Eraserhead is the film that launched David Lynch’s long and storied film career. Noted for its original sound design and blend of surrealism and horror shot in stunning black and white photography, Eraserhead’s reputation has evolved from being panned or ignored in the late 1970s to becoming a favorite midnight movie to eventually being selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the US’s Library of Congress in 2004. Its legacy on filmmakers and other artists is undeniable: Stanley Kubrick admitted to Lynch that Eraserhead was his favorite film, and other filmmakers like Darren Aronofsky and David Fincher and even industrial musician Trent Reznor have also clearly been influenced by it or cite it as an inspiration.

Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro) on February 20th

Female character is standing in the street.

107 minutes.  Directed by Marcel Camus. (France/Brazil, 1959)  Introduction by Dr. Hannah Burdette. (Languages and Cultures)

Just in time for 2023 Carnaval! Black Orpheus, a French, Brazilian, and Italian co-production, retells the Greek myth of Eurydice and Orpheus and their doomed love, but transplants the story in the favelas of 1950s Rio de Janeiro. A winner of nearly all the major awards during its award season—the 1959 Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, the 1960 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and the 1960 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film—the film is also renowned for introducing Brazilian samba and bossa nova to the rest of the world through its amazing soundtrack and score.

This film would be of particular interest to those working in Latin American cinema and culture; arthouse cinema; Portuguese; bossa nova, samba, and Brazilian music; sociology; mythology; intersectionality; class studies and socioeconomics; gender studies; urban development; and critical race studies.   

Boat People on March 6th

Female character is looking up in despair.

106 minutes.  Directed by Ann Hui. (Hong Kong, 1982) Introduction by Dr. William Nitzky. (Anthropology)

Still one of the few films about the Vietnam War and its aftermath not made by US, French, or Vietnamese filmmakers, Ann Hui’s Boat People serves as a searing indictment of social conditions following the end of the war. It was the first Hong Kong film to be made in Communist China, and its success—nominated for 12 Hong Kong Film Awards and winning five, including Best Picture and Best Director—helped usher in the Hong Kong New Wave film movement. It is still a decidedly controversial film, too, in its treatment of the Vietnam War and its political message, generating criticism from across the political spectrum.

This film would be of particular interest to those working in arthouse and independent cinema; Asian cinema and history; refugee narratives; Vietnam War studies; sociology; anthropology; political science; and international relations.

Boat People is a film screening sponsored by the Humanities Center and the University Film Series in support of this year's Book in Common: Thi Bui's The Best We Could Do. 

This film is FREE and open to the public! 

Watch the trailer, Boat People


The 2022-2023 Humanities Center theme, Soundscapes, explores perceptions and interpretations of acoustic environments in their respective cultural, political, and spatial contexts.  Ranging from the sounds of nature to a multitude of expressive forms such as music, poetry, dance, and storytelling, every culture has created distinctive soundscapes that shape our daily experiences and mediate our relationships to the world.  Events will highlight interdisciplinary humanities research and creative activity on this year’s theme. 

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