Film Series

The Postcolonial Studies Initiative Film Series

Word of welcome
The Postcolonial Studies Initiative (PCI) at Utrecht University is intended as a platform for research into postcolonial issues, specifically focused on their application within Europe. The PCI organises activities such as lectures, film series, masterclasses and seminars, striving for greater interaction with society at large. As such it brings together a number of researchers from diverse areas and disciplines, both from Utrecht University and from other universities in the Netherlands as well as from other international partner universities.
Director: Professor Sandra Ponzanesi

Every year the Postcolonial Studies Initiative continues its film series with a selection of films, shown monthly, that draw on a variety of different contexts in our postcolonial world. The annual PCI Film Series has been running for 7 years, inviting all interested in our European postcolonial present and the representation of its political, cultural and aesthetic realities and challenges. Each film is introduced briefly by scholars connected to the PCI and international guests and filmmakers.
Through the film series the PCI hopes to explore, through visual representations and cinematographic narratives, how postcolonial realities are analyzed and re-imagined in contemporary film. Here you can find out all the information on past, present and film series’, while also finding a collection of comprehensive film reviews, conducted by the PCIs Research Assistant Melanie Moran, MA (Gender Studies, UU). In these reviews we approach the notion of postcolonial films not as a genre or a strict category, but as a way of looking and interpreting films through a postcolonial optic that enhances a critical intervention into the issues of power and resistance applied to medium specificity and the visual coding of cinema. The focus of postcolonial cinema is therefore on the analysis of contemporary or past asymmetries as dictated by multiple and overlapping histories of conquest and colonialism. Postcolonial cinema is therefore to be understood not as a new genre, or a new rubric, but as an optic through which questions of postcolonial historiography, epistemology, subjectivity, and geography can be addressed. Postcolonial cinema refers to a conceptual space that opens occluded frames and proposes a new engagement with the visual that is decolonized and de-orientalized, becoming a relational mode of representation, opening the space for often repressed, omitted or deleted, unofficial histories of nations, communities, gender, and subaltern groups (Ponzanesi and Waller, 2012).


Read the Reviews

Besouro (João Daniel Tikhomiroff, Brazil, 2009)
Black Venus (Abdellatif Kechiche, France/Belgium, 2010)
Concerning Violence (Göran Olsson, Sweden/USA, 2014)
Dil Se (Mani Ratnam, India, 1998)
Divine Intervention (Elia Suleiman, France/Palestine, 2002)
Drone (Tonje Hessen Schei, Norway, 2014)
Earth (Deepa Mehta, India/Canada, 1998)
Even the Rain (Icíar Bollaín, Spain, 2010)
Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, West Germany, 1982)
Half of a Yellow Sun (Biyi Bandele, Nigeria/UK, 2014)
Hors-la-loi (Rachid Bouchareb, France/Algeria, 2010)
Incendies (Denis Villeneuve, Canada, 2010
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (Ashutosh Gowariker, India, 2001)
Monsoon Wedding (Mira Nair, India, 2001)
Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle, UK/India, 2008)
The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, Italy/Algeria, 1966)
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (John Madden, Britain/India, 2011)
The Edge of Heaven (Fatih Akin, Germany/Turkey, 2007)
The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh, Cambodia, 2014)
The Stuart Hall Project (John Akomfrah, UK, 2013)

Waltz with Bashir (Ari Folman, Israel, 2008)

Film Series
2011
January 27:  Hidden (2005, Michael Haneke, France, 117 min.). Introduction by Emmanuelle Radar.
February 25:  The Edge of Heaven (2007, Fatih Akin, Germany/ Turkey, 116 min.). Introduction by Birgit Kaiser (UU).
March 10: A time to Kill (1989, Giuliano Montaldo, Italy, 110 min.). Introduction by Sandra Ponzanesi (UU).
April 8: The Murmuring Coast (A Costa dos Murmúrios, 2004, Margarida Cardoso, Spain, 115 min.) Introduction by Paulo de Medeiros.
June 6: Slumdog Millionnaire, (2008, Danny Boyle, UK / India, 120 min.). Introduction by Barnita Bagchi.

2012
January 17: Vénus noire /Black Venus (2010, Abdellatif Kechiche, France and Belgium, 152 mins.). Introduced by Rosemarie Buikema (UU).
February 21: Un trabajo limpio (2007, Mieke Bal & Gary Ward, 22 mins); Colony (2006, Mieke Bal, Gary Ward, Zen Marie and Thomas Sykora, 33 mins); and Becoming Vera (2008, Mieke Bal, Alexandra Loumpet Galitzine & Michelle Williams Gamaker, 54 mins). Introduction by Mieke Bal.
March 20: Lagaan. Once Upon a Time in India (2001, Ashutosh Gowariker, India, 224 mins). Introduction by Barnita Bagchi.
April 10: The Seawall - Un barrage contre le Pacifique (2008, Rithy Panh, France, Cambodia, Belgium, 115 mins). Introduced by Emanuelle Radar.
May 15: Angola: Saudades de Quem te Ama/ Angola: Saudades from the One Who Loves You (2005, Richard Pakleppa, South Africa, Namibia, 60 mins). Introduction by Paulo de Medeiros.
June 7: Forget Baghdad: Jews and Arab, the Iraqi Connection (2002, Samir, Germany, Switzerland, 112 mins). Introduction by Ella Shohat (New York University).

2013
January 8: Earth (1998, Deepa Mehta, India/Canada, 110 min). Introduced by Amrita Das (VU).
February 12: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2001, John Madden, UK, 2011, 124 min). Introduced by Barnita Bagchi (UU).
March 19: Even the Rain (También la lluvia) (2010, Icíar Bollaín, Spain, 103 min). Introduced by Susanne Knittel (UU).
April 9: Incendies (2010, Denis Villeneuve, Canada, 130 min). Introduced by Emmanuelle Radar.
May 7: Tabu (2012, Miguel Gomes, Portugal, 118 min). Introduction by Paulo de Medeiros (UU).
June 4: Trishna (2011, Michael Winterbottom, UK, 117 min). Introduced by Sandra Ponzanesi (UU).

2013- 2014
December 3: Dil Se (From the Heart) India, 1998, Mani Ratnam,163 min). Introduced by Sandra Ponzanesi.
January 7: Divine Intervention (UK, 2011, Elia Suleiman, 124 min). Introduced by Babs Boter.
February 11: Coffy (USA, 1973, Jack Hill, 91 min). Introduced by Doro Wiese.
March 4: Waltz with Bashir (Israel, 2008, Ari Folman, 87 min). Introduced by Susanne Knittel.
March 25: Hors-La-Loi (Outside the Law) (France, 2010, Rachid Bouchareb, 138 min). Introduced by Emmanuelle Radar.
May 6: Monsoon Wedding (India, 2001, Mira Nair, 114 min). Introduced by Marta Zarzycka.

2014- 2015
September 16: The Stuart Hall Project (2013, John Akomfrah, UK, 95 min.) Introduced by Domitilla Olivieri (UU).
October 14: District 9 (2009, Neill Blomkamp, USA/South Africa, 112 min.) Introduced by Kári Driscoll (UU).
November 18: The Secret Sharer (2014, Peter Fudakowski, UK/Poland/China/Thailand, 103 min.) With the special participation of Peter Fudakowski. Introduced by Gene Moore (UvA).
December 9: Mosquita y Mari (2012, Aurora Guerrero, USA, 85 min.) Introduced by Christine Quinan (UU).
January 13: Terraferma (2011, Emanuele Crialese, Italy). Introduced by Birgit Kaiser (UU).
February 17: Concerning Violence (2014, Göran Olsson, Sweden/USA/Denmark/Finland, 85 min.). Introduced by Doro Wiese (UU).
March 3:  Half of a Yellow Sun (2014, Biyi Bandele, Nigeria/UK). Introduced by Sandra Ponzanesi (UU).
March 10: Queen (2014, Vikas Bahl, India, 146 min.). Introduced by Barnita Bagchi.

2015-2016
September 15: Those who feel the fire burning (2014, Morgan Knibbe, Netherlands, 75 min.). Introduced by Christine Quinan, with the special presence of the director Morgan Knibbe for Q&As.
October 20:  Fitzcarraldo (1982, Werner Herzog, West Germany, 157 min.) Introduced by Kari Driscoll.
November 17:  Besouro (2009, João Daniel Tikhomiroff, Brazil, 94 min.Introduced by Edward Akintola Hubbard.
December 15:  Mediterraneo (Jonas Carpignano, Italy, 2015). Introduced by Domitilla Olivieri.
January 12:  The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh, Cambodia, 2014). Introduced by Sandra Ponzanesi.
February 16:  Aferim! (Radu Jude, Romania, 2015). Introduced by Laura Candidatu.
March 15: Drone (Tonje Hessen Schei, Norway, 2014. Introduced by Doro Wiese.
April 19:  The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Indonesia, 2013). Introduced by Susanne Knittel.

2016- 2017
20 September: The Lost Ones. Long Journey Home (2011, USA, 42 min). Introduced by Prof. Susan Rose (Dickinson College, USA).
11 October: Brincando El Charco. Portrait of a Puerto Rican (1994, Frances Negrón- Muntaner, USA, 55 min)and Small City, Big Change (2013, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, USA, 10 min). Introduced by Frances Negrón-Muntaner (Columbia University, USA).
15 November: Lift (2001, Marc Isaacs, UK, 25 min) and Calais, the Last Border (2003, Marc Isaacs, UK, 60 min). Introduced by Dr Domitilla Olivieri (Gender Studies, UU).
13 December: The Nine Muses (2011, John Akomfrah, Ghana, 90 min). Introduced by Jamila Mascat (Gender Studies, UU).
17 January: Letter to a Refusing Pilot (2013, Akram Zaatari, Lebanon, 34 min). Introduction by Layal Ftouni (Gender Studies, UU).
28 February: Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea, 2016, Francesco Rosi, Italy/France, 114 min). Introduced by Prof. dr. Sandra Ponzanesi (Gender Studies, UU).
14 March: The Pearl Button (2015, Patricio Guzmán, Chile, 82 min). Introduction by dr. Doro Wiese (Comparative Literature, UU).
11 April: Everyday Borders (2014, University of East London, England, 50 min). Leila Whitley (Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, Zukunftskolleg, University of Konstanz, Germany).
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The Postcolonial Film Series (2011- present)

2011
January 27: Hidden (2005, Michael Haneke, France, 117 min.). Introduction by Emmanuelle Radar.
Michael Haneke’s Hidden (Caché, France/Austria/Germany/Italy/USA, 2005, 117 min.) is a stunning thriller played by two renowned French actors, Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche. This postcolonial film involves remembering and reflecting on the colonial past and its consequences today. It is set in Paris in the 21st century where Georges (Daniel Auteuil), a TV journalist settled in a comfortable life, receives mysterious packages that terrorise his family and reveal the haunting of a hidden past. France, Algeria, brotherhood and guilt are intertwined in Georges’ search for the origin of the messages. What is Georges’ responsibility for the past and for the present? What is ours as viewers?





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February 25: The Edge of Heaven (2007, Fatih Akin, Germany/ Turkey, 116 min.). Introduction by Birgit Kaiser (UU).
Auf der anderen Seite (Fatih Akin, Germany/Turkey, 2007, 116 min) is the second part of acclaimed film-maker Fatih Akin’s “Love, Death and Devil” trilogy, after his award-winning Gegen die Wand (2004). It is a story of love across and despite boundaries. The film weaves a delicate web of entanglements in the Turkish-German present: the young, successful and sad Turkish-German professor Nejat’s love for his aging father Ali, Ali’s love for Yeter, the prostitute he invites to live with him and accidentally kills, Lotte’s love for Ayten, human rights activist and Yeter’s daughter, Susanne’s love for her daughter Lotte, whom she follows from Hamburg to Istanbul in search of Ayten. Ayten’s political activism got her deported from Germany and into prison in Turkey, and Susanne and Nejat end up navigating Istanbul side by side. Auf der anderen Seite is about migration, intercultural communication, and the entangled histories of Germany and Turkey, but it is also about love and death in times of our postcolonial present.



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March 10: A time to Kill (1989, Giuliano Montaldo, Italy, 110 min.). Introduction by Sandra Ponzanesi (UU).
A Time to Kill (Giuliano Montaldo, Italy, 1989, 110 min) is based on the Italian award- winning novel of the same title Tempo di Uccidere written by Ennio Flaiano (1947). The novel is set in the 1930’s at the time of the Italian fascist occupation of Abyssinia and the war against Ethiopia. The film starring great actors such as Nicolas Cage, Ricky Tognazzi, Patrice-Flora Praxo and Giancarlo Giannini among others is faithful to the novel and effectively depicts the torments of colonial guilt and the rise of postcolonial consciousness of an Italian soldier who unwillingly commits a crime which will lead him towards an odyssey of atonement and postcolonial awareness.




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April 8: The Murmuring Coast (A Costa dos Murmúrios, 2004, Margarida Cardoso, Spain, 115 min.) Introduction by Paulo de Medeiros.
The Murmuring Coast (Margarida Cardoso,2004) is an intensely dramatic film about the end of the Portuguese empire, the pervasive violence of the colonial regime and the colonial war that engulfed Mozambique for more than a decade. Based on the critically acclaimed novel by Lídia Jorge (A Costa dos Murmúrios), the film questions traditional views of history and memory while showing the strict correlations between collective and personal tragedy. Narrated from the perspective of Evita, the wife of one of the soldiers, years after his death, the film traces back her struggle to resist corrupting her ideals and the dissolution of their marriage. The film calls for reflection on today’s Europe and the need to address the hauntings of history to imagine a different polity.



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June 6: Slumdog Millionnaire (2008, Danny Boyle, UK / India, 120 min.). Introduction by Barnita Bagchi.
Slumdog Millionaire tells the story of Jamal Malik, an 18-year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is just one question away from winning 20 million rupees on India’s version of the TV show “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?”  When the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street boy know so much?  Jamal then tells the story of his life in the Mumbai slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show’s questions. With music by India's A.R. Rehman, with a British director, and with the pulsing, ambition-driven, postcolonial city of Mumbai as almost a protagonist, the Oscar-winning 'Slumdog Millionaire’ is a very hybrid, post-globalization, postcolonial film.



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  2012
*** January 17: Vénus noire /Black Venus (2010, Abdellatif Kechiche, France and Belgium, 152 mins.). Introduced by Rosemarie Buikema (UU). ***
The story of Saartjes Baartman, a Black domestic who, in 1808, left Southern Africa, then ruled by Dutch settlers, for Europe, following her boss Hendrick Caesar, hoping to find fame and fortune there. Once in London her master turned manager does nothing but exhibit her as a freak in a phony and humiliating carnival show. After a series of troubles caused by their act, Caesar, Saartje and their new friend, bear-tamer Réaux, head for Paris where once again, and against her will, she should mimic savagery and expose her body, first in carnivals, then in the aristocratic salons of Paris, later among the libertines and finally in brothels where she ends up being a prostitute. In the meantime, French anatomists will have taken an interest in her unusual anatomy (enormous buttocks and labia) only to declare her the missing link from ape to man. In 1815, aged only 27, she dies alone, of a combination of pneumonia and venereal disease.


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February 21: Un trabajo limpio (2007, Mieke Bal & Gary Ward, 22 mins); Colony (2006, Mieke Bal, Gary Ward, Zen Marie and Thomas Sykora, 33 mins); and Becoming Vera (2008, Mieke Bal, Alexandra Loumpet Galitzine & Michelle Williams Gamaker, 54 mins). Introduction by Mieke Bal.
Becoming Vera - Three years old, living in three worlds:
Between age three and four, Vera Loumpet-Galitzine traverses many landscapes, exploring where she comes from, to come into her own. We follow her to her school and neighbourhood activities in France, Cameroon and Russia.
As Vera dances, sings and runs around these visually engaging landscapes, seemingly easily integrated into her rich fantasy world, we attempt to imagine what they look like to her. What does she see, think, or imagine? As in all Cinema Suitcase works, the film lets the subject hold the story and her images tell it, and the family explain things, rather than having an authoritative outside voice-over do the telling.
Instead of telling a chronological story, we hop around from moment to moment where Vera’s playing becomes learning to becoming Vera. As in all Cinema Suitcase works, the film lets the subject hold the story and her images tell it, and the family explain things, rather than having an authoritative outside voice-over do the telling.
About Mieke Bal
Areas of interest range from biblical and classical antiquity to 17th century and contemporary art and modern literature, feminism and migratory culture. Her view of interdisciplinary analysis in the Humanities and Social Sciences is expressed in the profile of what she has termed “cultural analysis”, the basis of ASCA. See the video clip on the right side of this page, where I explain the approach.
Mieke is also a video artist, her internationally exhibited documentaries on migration include Separations, State of Suspension, Becoming Vera and the installation Nothing is Missing and are part of the Cinema Suitcase collective. With Michelle Williams Gamaker she made the feature film A Long History of Madness, a theoretical fiction about madness, and related exhibitions (2012). Her following project Madame B: Explorations in Emotional Capitalism, also with Michelle, is exhibited worldwide. She just finished a feature film and 5-screen installation on René Descartes and his infelicitously ending friendship with Queen Kristina of Sweden.

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*** March 20:  Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001, Ashutosh Gowariker, India, 224 mins). Introduction by Barnita Bagchi. ***
This is the story about the resilience shown by the Indians when they were under the British Rule. They are already taxed to the bone by the British and their cronies, but when Jack Russell announces that he will double the Lagaan (tax) from all villagers, they decide to oppose it. Leading the villagers is a handsome young man named Bhuvan, who challenges them to a game of cricket, a game that is to be played by veteran British cricket players, versus villagers, including Bhuvan himself, who have never played this game before, and do not even know a bat from a piece of wood. As the challenge is accepted, the interest grows and attracts Indians from all over the region, as well as the British from all over the country - as everyone gathers to see the 'fair play' that the British will display against their counter-parts, who are aided by none other than the sister, Elizabeth, of Captain Rusell.



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April 10: The Seawall - Un barrage contre le Pacifique (2008, Rithy Panh, France, Cambodia, Belgium, 115 mins). Introduced by Emanuelle Radar.
French Indochina, 1931. In the Gulf of Siam, a Widow and her two children, Joseph, 2o, and Suzanne, 16, barely survive by exploiting rice fields located much too close to the ocean. Every year their crops are flooded and their only hope lies in the construction of a seawall. The mother refuses to give up and desperately battles both the sea and the corrupt colonial bureaucrats.


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May 15: Angola: Saudades de Quem te Ama/ Angola: Saudades from the One Who Loves You (2005, Richard Pakleppa, South Africa, Namibia, 60 mins). Introduction by Paulo de Medeiros.
For the first time in history Angola is experiencing freedom. After twenty–six years of war the country has finally been able to enjoy a period of peace over the past three years. This is an important reason for joy and celebration. Instead, however, the director Richard Paklepp has captured on film a prevailing mood of melancholy in the country. People exhausted by years of war have not yet seen much in the way of change. Each year Angola moves higher up the ladder of the world's biggest oil producers. It also has a substantial amount mineral wealth, especially top–grade diamonds. Nevertheless, there are still not enough schools and hospitals in the country, and the population's main concern continues to be the need to find enough food to keep from starving. Only the bombardments have subsided. Bands of children now try to survive in the ruins left behind on the ground, earning money by washing luxury cars. All the country's wealth goes into the already bulging pockets of new colonialists from the West, who are interested in a piece of the country's young market. The complaints of ordinary people from the towns and countryside are fused into a single melodic psalm composed by the young rapper MCK, who is one of local youngsters washing cars. He simply but accurately identifies the problems in his country, a country in whose future he nonetheless believes in and therefore celebrates and defends in a continuous poem.
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June 7: Forget Baghdad: Jews and Arab, the Iraqi Connection (2002, Samir, Germany, Switzerland, 112 mins). Special introduction by Ella Shohat (New York University).
A filmic reflection about the stereotypes of "the Jew" and " the Arab" through one hundred years of film, linked with the biographies of four extraordinary people: Iraqi-Jewish communists.

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2013

*** January 8: Earth (1998, Deepa Mehta, India/Canada, 110 min). Introduced by Amrita Das (VU). ***
It's 1947 and the borderlines between India and Pakistan are being drawn. A young girl bears witnesses to tragedy as her ayah is caught between the love of two men and the rising tide of political and religious violence.


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*** February 12: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2001, John Madden, UK, 2011, 124 min). Introduced by Barnita Bagchi (UU). ***
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel follows a group of British retirees who decide to "outsource" their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past.


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*** March 19:  Even the Rain (2010, Icíar Bollaín, Spain, 103 min). Introduced by Susanne Knittel (UU). ***
Even the Rain sets up an intriguing dialogue about Spanish imperialism through incidents taking place some 500 years apart, while examining the personal belief systems of the members of a film crew headed by director Sebastian (Gael Garcia Bernal) and his producer Costa (Luis Tosar) who arrive in Bolivia to make a revisionist film about the conquest of Latin America. Set in February and March of 2000 when real-life protests against the privatization of water rocked the nation, the film reflexively blurs the line between fiction and reality in what Variety calls "a powerful, richly layered indictment of the plight of Latin America's dispossessed.



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*** April 9:  Incendies (2010, Denis Villeneuve, Canada, 130 min). Introduced by Emmanuelle Radar. ***
This powerful movie connects war in the Middle East (Lebanese Civil War, Jordan, Syria) with the life of children of immigrants from that region in the western world (Quebec). It is the story of a twin brother and sister living in Montreal whose dead mother – a Middle East immigrant - asked them in her will to give a letter to their father and brother – two people they did not know existed. The plot is built on the quest for origins, the revelation of family mystery and the uncovering of a past full of war and revolution. As the mystery is revealed only at the end, the narration succeeds in keeping the viewer’s attention while the almost unbearable realism of the story combined with the symbolism of the mythological representation makes it a memorable film.


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May 7:  Tabu (2012, Miguel Gomes, Portugal, 118 min). Introduction by Paulo de Medeiros (UU).
A temperamental old woman, her Cape Verdean maid and a neighbour devoted to social causes live on the same floor of a Lisbon apartment building. When the old lady dies, the other two learn of an episode from her past: a tale of love and crime set in an Africa straight from the world of adventure films.


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June 4: Trishna (2011, Michael Winterbottom, UK, 117 min). Introduced by Sandra Ponzanesi (UU).
Based on Thomas Hardy's classic novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles, 'Trishna' tells the story of one woman whose life is destroyed by a combination of love and circumstances. Set in contemporary Rajasthan, Trishna (Freida Pinto) meets a wealthy young British businessman Jay Singh (Riz Ahmed) who has come to India to work in his father's hotel business. After an accident destroys her father's Jeep, Trishna goes to work for Jay, and they fall in love. But despite their feelings for each other, they cannot escape the conflicting pressures of a rural society which is changing rapidly through industrialisation, urbanisation and, above all, education. Trishna's tragedy is that she is torn between the traditions of her family life and the dreams and ambitions that her education has given her.

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2013- 2014
*** December 3:  Dil Se  (1998, Mani Ratnam, India, 163 min). Introduced by Sandra Ponzanesi (UU). ***
Considered to be a film about doomed love sets against the background of terrorism and female involvement in combat Dil Se is a powerful film on nationalism and the call of god set in stunning outdoor locations (Kashmir, Assam, Ladakh, Kerala, Delhi, Buthan). Since becoming a crossover success in Hindi with NAYAKAN ("Boss," 1987, a dubbed version of his award-winning Tamil film starring Kamal Haasan) South Indian director Mani Ratnam has made a series of controversial mainstream films that touch on potent contemporary issues: the bloody Kashmir secession conflict (ROJA, 1992) and the Bombay Hindu-Muslim riots of 1993 (BOMBAY, 1994). His fourth Hindi film, DIL SE, is a spectacular and disturbing romance set against a background of insurgent and counter-insurgent violence in the eastern Himalayan region, and the threat of national disintegration, especially following the 1991 assassination of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by a female suicide-bomber. The film casts megstar Shahrukh Khan and Manisha Koirala in lead roles while Preita Zinta (in her film debut) appears in a supporting role. The film is considered an example of Indian Parallel Cinema. The highly stylized film, with camerawork of Santosh Sivan, and music by A. R. Rahman won awards for cinematography, audiography, choreography, and music, among others.

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*** January 7:  Divine Intervention (2011, Elia Suleiman, UK, 124 min). Introduced by Babs Boter (UU). ***
Palestinian lovers separated by checkpoints between Ramallah and Jerusalem try to get round the obstacles in their way. Elia Suleiman's film, ''Divine Intervention,'' is subtitled ''a chronicle of love and pain.'' But the description is also a little misleading: those large emotions -- and a smoldering political anger about Palestinian life under Israeli occupation, as well -- are refracted through a series of quick, mordant vignettes, some of which are like cinematic riddles and visual puns, delivered in elegant deadpan. ''Divine Intervention'' is divided into three sections, each devoted to a spot on the troubled map of Israel and the Palestinian territories and linked by the hero's suffering and the director's cool, observant camera. This is a deadpan comedy of sorts, almost silent, with touches of Tati and Keaton - and certainly quite unlike anything you'll see about the Middle East on the news (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian). The film was nominated for the "Palme d'Or" award at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, the film's consideration as candidate for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards was an occasion for considerable controversy, based on the rumors that the Academy Motion Picture did not recognize Palestine as a state according to their regulations. The film was considered for an Oscar the following year as the committee decided to treat Palestine as an exception.




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February 11: Coffy (1973, Jack Hill, USA, 91 min). Introduced by Doro Wiese (UU).
Coffy is one of the best-known blaxploitations films of the 1970ies. Pam Grier plays Coffy, a seemingly virtuous nurse, who, next to her work, mingles with pimps and drug dealers to avange her sister's drug addiction. Like all exploitation films, Coffy (the film) steps over the boundaries of good taste. Pam Grier, who enjoyed late fame in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, incorporates in the film several stereotypes at once. Coffy is a virtuous woman who plays the vamp to get what she wants -- namely revenge. Coffy is sexy -- or dynamite, as the soundtrack lets us know. Yet Coffy is more than a sexualized character. Coffy knows what she wants, how to get it, and how to defeat evil forces within her community. The film makes fun of all kind of stereotypes about black people that circulated at its time, from black criminality (pimping, drug selling) to hypersexualized black masculinity and femininity. Through humour, the film thereby comments upon the racializing discourses of its time, without taking away any kind of visual pleasure from the viewers.


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*** March 4:  Waltz with Bashir (2008, Ari Folman, Israel, 87 min). Introduced by Susanne Knittel (UU). ***
Waltz with Bashir is a powerful testimony to the damages of war, the workings of memory and repression, and the challenges they post to representation and narrative. Written and directed by Ari Folman, it is an animated, semi-autobiographical film about his attempts to recover the lost memory of his experience as a soldier in the 1982 Lebanon War. Composed largely of nightmares and flashbacks, Waltz with Bashir has been called an “animated documentary,” yet it does not make any overt claim to historical accuracy. Instead it is an investigation into the human psyche, focusing on long-term traumatic effects on some Israeli soldiers, and, by definition, to some extent also on Israeli society in general.


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*** March 25:  Hors-la-loi (2010, Rachid Bouchareb, France, 138 min). Introduced by Emmanuelle Radar (UU). ***
Outside the Law is a 2010 drama film directed by Rachid Bouchareb. The story takes place between 1945 and 1962, and focuses on the lives of three Algerian brothers in France, set against the backdrop of the Algerian independence movement and the Algerian War. It is a stand-alone follow-up to Bouchareb's 2006 film Days of Glory, which was set during World War II. A historically unorthodox portrayal of the 1945 Sétif massacre sparked a political controversy in France.
Reviews of the film compared it to Westerns and gangster films, and critics observed how the independence activists were likened to the French Resistance during World War II. Outside the Law represented Algeria at the 83rd Academy Awards, where it was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.
Rachid Bouchareb offers a gripping insight into the Algerian independence struggle through the lives of three brothers - The Observer May 8, 2011.



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*** May 6:  Monsoon Wedding (2001, Mira Nair, India, 114 min). Introduced by Marta Zarzycka (UU). ***
A true classic of a Bollywood cinema, Monsoon Wedding (2001) depicts romantic entanglements during a traditional Punjabi Hindu wedding in Delhi. The movie follows the events in the large Verma family of Delhi, as their daughter Aditi prepares to marry Hemant, a computer programmer from Houston. He is an "NRI" (non-resident Indian), who has returned to meet the bride selected by his parents for an arranged marriage. However, Aditi has agreed to the arranged marriage partly out of impatience with her married lover's vague talk about someday divorcing his wife. The extended family of both parties comes together from all corners of the globe including India, Australia, Oman, and the United States to attend the wedding, everyone bringing their emotional baggage along.
Monsoon Wedding won the Golden Lion as the best film at Venice 2001 and has been praised by critics and global audiences alike for its vibrant colors and the energy of a Bollywood spectacle. Currently, a musical adaptation is being made by the same director.


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 2014- 2015
*** September 16:  The Stuart Hall Project  (2013, John Akomfrah, UK, 95 min.) Introduced by Domitilla Olivieri (UU). ***
John Akomfrah's film is a tribute to Stuart Hall, the founder of the New Left Review and pioneer of cultural studies. Filmmaker John Akomfrah uses the rich and complex mood created by Miles Davis’s trumpet to root a masterful tapestry of newly filmed material, archival imagery, excerpts from television programs, home movies, and family photographs to create this lyrical and emotionally powerful portrait of the life and philosophy of this influential theorist. Akomfrah finds a new and quietly moving significance in Hall's own life story: a man who came from Jamaica – which Hall elegantly calls the "home of hybridity" – and found himself not really at home there, nor in the postwar UK in which he began a brilliant academic career at Oxford. It is a deeply considered project that reconsiders culture and identity for those excluded from the circles of power through race, gender and class.


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October 14: District 9 (2009, Neill Blomkamp, USA/South Africa, 112 min.) Introduced by Kári Driscoll (UU).
In 1982, a massive star ship bearing a bedraggled alien population, nicknamed "The Prawns," appeared over Johannesburg, South Africa. Twenty-eight years later, the initial welcome by the human population has faded. The refugee camp where the aliens were located has deteriorated into a militarized ghetto called District 9, where they are confined and exploited in squalor. In 2010, the munitions corporation, Multi-National United, is contracted to forcibly evict the population with operative Wikus van der Merwe in charge. In this operation, Wikus is exposed to a strange alien chemical and must rely on the help of his only two new 'Prawn' friends.
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November 18: The Secret Sharer (2014, Peter Fudakowski, UK/Poland/China/Thailand, 103 min.) With a special participation of Peter Fudakowski. Introduced by Gene Moore (UvA).
On a rusting cargo ship in the South China Sea, it's the young Polish captain's first command. His mutinous Chinese crew suspect him and his unscrupulous Boss of planning to scuttle the ship for an insurance scam. When the crew abandon ship, the young captain is left alone on board, helpless, anchored in a bay. That night while waiting anxiously on deck, he finds a naked body floating in the sea below, tangled up in the ship's rope ladder. Pulling the ladder, the captain discovers a Chinese woman in distress. She climbs on board, saying only "Hide me". Dawn comes a few hours later and so does a search party, looking for a murderer (in English & Mandarin.) Inspired by Joseph Conrad's "The Secret Sharer".



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December 9: Mosquita y Mari (2012, Aurora Guerrero, USA, 85 min.) Introduced by Christine Quinan (UU).
When Yolanda Olveros meets her new neighbour Mari Rodriguez, all they see in each other are their differences. An only child, sheltered Yolanda's sole concern is fulfilling her parents' dream of a college-bound future. With her father's recent death, street-wise Mari, the elder of two, carries the weight of her sister as their mother works to keep them above water. But despite their contrasting realities, Yolanda and Mari are soon brought together when Mari is threatened with expulsion after saving Yolanda from an incident at school. The girls forge a friendship that soon proves more complex than anticipated when the girls unexpectedly experience a sexually charged moment between them. At a loss for words, the girls ignore their moment and move on to become best friends, unaware they have set in motion an unstoppable journey of self-discovery.
As Yolanda and Mari's feelings reach new depths, their inability to put words to their emotions leads to a web of unspoken jealousy, confusion, and a sudden betrayal that ultimately rattles them at their core.

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January 13: Terraferma (2011, Emanuele Crialese, Italy, 88 min.). Introduced by Birgit Kaiser (UU).
In this 2011 Italian drama, fisherman Ernesto and his grand-son Filippo save a group of African immigrants off the coast of the small island of Linosa, a little north of Lampedusa. Out on their daily fishing-tour, they find an overpopulated boat with migrants in distress and take as many on board as they can, bringing them back to shore. A woman from the group takes refuge with Ernesto’s family, although the authorities pursue the family for facilitating illegal immigration. A drama unravels between compassion and powerlessness, empathy and fear of prosecution, when the family decides to help the woman, with her little boy and a newborn baby, to reach Italian mainland and find her husband in Turin. Emanuele Crialese’s film premiered at the 68th Venice International Film Festival and was selected as the Italian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscar Academy Awards in 2012.


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*** February 17:  Concerning Violence  (2014, Göran Olsson, Sweden/USA/Denmark/Finland, 85 min.). Introduced by Doro Wiese (UU). ***
Concerning Violence is a bold, fresh, and compelling visual narrative about the African liberation struggles of the 1960s and 1970s. It combines newly discovered archival material depicting some of the most daring moments in the confrontation with colonial power, accompanied by singer Lauryn Hill’s searing narrative and drawn from psychologist/philosopher Frantz Fanon’s seminal anticolonial text, The Wretched of the Earth.
"In this potent, arresting, and surprisingly emotional film, Olsson artfully elucidates Fanon’s psychiatric and psychological analysis of the dehumanising effects of colonisation on the individual and the nation. Concerning Violence makes accessible Fanon’s theory that the violence of colonialism must be met with greater violence to be defeated, as well as his vision and plea to reject the lust for colonial power and instead embrace a more creative and humane society. As a result, Olsson’s powerful documentary makes an accurate, timely, and vital contribution toward building a better world for the future." (Sundance Filmfestival).


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*** March 3: Half of a Yellow Sun (2014, Biyi Bandele, Nigeria/UK). Introduced by Sandra Ponzanesi (UU). ***
Based on an award-winning novel of the same name by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun is helmed by Biyi Bandele, a novelist and playwright making his film directorial debut. A well-intentioned historical drama that unfolds in the 1960s against the backdrop of the Nigerian Civil War as the country descends into sectarian chaos and armed battle – the Igbo people fighting to establish Biafra as an independent republic.
The story centres around a pair of twin sisters from a well-to-do family, Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose), who return to their homeland after expensive educations in England, and must struggle for their survival after the falling apart of their country. The film relies on strong performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor playing Olanna’s radical professor and Thandie Newton playing Olanna. 




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March 10: Queen (2014, Vikas Bahl, India, 146 min.). Introduced by Barnita Bagchi (UU).
The film tells the story of Rani, an under-confident Punjabi girl from New Delhi who embarks on her pre-planned honeymoon to Paris and Amsterdam by herself after her fiancé calls off their wedding.
Queen is a movie about growing up. Rani (Kangana Ranaut) is a Delhi girl from a conservative family who is ditched by her fiancé just before her marriage. Shocked by this, she decides to set out on the planned honeymoon alone. As she travels the world and meets new people, she gains new experiences and discovers her own identity.


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  2015- 2016
September 15: Those who feel the fire burning (2014, Morgan Knibbe, Netherlands, 75 min.). Introduced by Christine Quinan, with the special presence of the director Morgan Knibbe for Q&As.
Those Who Feel the Fire Burning (2014) is a timely and poetic documentary by director Morgan Knibbe that explores the current crisis of the many refugees who are attempting to cross the borders into Europe on a daily basis. Those who arrive are typically met with a hopeless situation. But many do not make it and perish attempting to make it into Fortress Europe. Knibbe’s unconventional documentary is told from the perspective of one such individual, now a ghost whose soul passes by the harsh realities of those refugees who are attempting to survive. In a creative and unconventional way, this 2014 IDFA-breakout film prompts urgent social and political questions around immigration, violence, and precarity.




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*** October 20:  Fitzcarraldo (1982, Werner Herzog, West Germany, 157 min.) Introduced by Kari Driscoll (UU). ***
Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, 1982) is the story of a dreamer named Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, whose name has been simplified to 'Fitzcarraldo' by the Indians and Spanish who inhabit his godforsaken corner of South America. He loves opera. He spends his days making a little money from an ice factory and his nights dreaming up new schemes. One of them, a plan to build a railroad across the continent, has already failed. Now he is ready with another: he seriously intends to build an opera house in the rain jungle, twelve hundred miles upstream from the civilized coast, and to bring Enrico Caruso there to sing an opera.




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*** November 17:  Besouro (2009, João Daniel Tikhomiroff, Brazil, 94 min.) Introduced by Edward Akintola Hubbard. ***
Based on a true story, Besouro (2009), directed by João Daniel Tikhomiroff, is a martial arts epic that tells the tale of legendary capoeira fighter Manuel Henrique Pereira, a.k.a 'Besouro Mangangá' and his struggle for freedom against the tyranny of white oppression in post-slavery Brazil. With touches of magical realism, and with the action choreography of Ku Huen Chiu (Romeo Must Die, Kill Bill Vols.1 and 2, The Expendables II), Tikhomiroff transforms Afro-Brazilian oral history into Hollywood blockbuster-style cinematic mythology.
Set in 1920s Bahia, in the northeast of the country, the film paints a vivid portrait of a manumission that had brought little change to the status of Afro-Brazilians. Blacks were still abused and terrorized and many of their cultural practices outlawed – including and especially the deadly art of capoeira, a martial art developed by slaves in the 16th century that combines music, dance and acrobatics. In Besouro the young Besouro (Aílton Carmo), uses his capoeira skills to lead a revolt against the white planter class, communing with the African gods and developing his capoeira skills to the point where they defy gravity and even physicality.
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December 15: Timbuktu (2014, Abderrahmane Sissako, France/Mauritania, 99 min.) Introduced by Domitilla Olivieri.
Not far from the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu, proud cattle herder Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his family. In town, the Jihadists are trying to reinforce hostile rules especially towards women, but also against other faiths, arts and activities, such as football, but especially against music. Violence, arrogance and the impact of the Islamists' rules on the everyday life of the village are some of the issues this film navigates, with a stunning soundtrack, beautiful images, poetic long takes and an overall witty and sardonic, if also tragic, tone.
Selected to compete for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. It won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and the François Chalais Prize. First ever submission of Mauritania to the best foreign language film category of the Academy Awards. Also the first film shot in Mauritania by a Mauritanian director to win at the Cesar film awards, where it won seven awards thus setting the record for being the African film with the most awards ever.


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*** January 12: The Missing Picture (2014, Rithy Panh, Cambodia, 92 min.) Introduced by Sandra Ponzanesi. ***
After S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine and Duch, Master of the Forges of Hell, director Rithy Panh (Cambodia) grapples with the horrors of the Cambodian genocide on more intimately unsettling terms in The Missing Picture (2014). The film is a chronicle of Panh’s teenage years under the dictatorship of Pol Pot, which he re-created using clay figurines, a tricky aesthetic device that raises fascinating and problematic questions of representation. Panh combines this with black-and-white archival footage. The Missing Picture won the top Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes.


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February 16: Aferim! (2015, Radu Jude, Romania, 108 min.) Introduced by Laura Candidatu.
Aferim! (Radu Jude, Romania, 2015) is a Balkan Western in black-and-white, set in Eastern Europe, in 1835. The gendarme Costandin and his son cross a barren landscape in Wallachia. The two are searching for a 'gypsy slave' who has run away from his nobleman master and is suspected of having an affair with the noble's wife. Whilst the unflappable Costandin comments on every situation with a cheery aphorism, his son takes a more contemplative view of the world. On their odyssey, they encounter people of different nationalities and beliefs: Turks and Russians, Christians and Jews, Romanians and Hungarians. Each harbours prejudice against the others which have been passed down from generation to generation. Aferim! is a parable about late-feudal Europe developed from historical documents and songs.


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*** March 15: Drone (2014, Tonje Hessen Schei, Norway, 58 min.) Introduced by Doro Wiese. ***
Drone (2014) by Norwegian director Tonje Hessen Schei tells the shocking stories of the families of Pakistani victims of drones, of human rights advocates and activists, and of drone manufacturers and pilots. The pilots of these drones are actively recruited in te world of video games. These young men carry out deadly attacks from a safe distance and can hardly comprehend or oversee the horrific results of their work. “It was just point. And click.” This film shows how drone technology has radically changed the art of war, because it opens the possibility of killing on a large scale, invisibly, and from a great distance.



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*** April 19: The Act of Killing (2013, Joshua Oppenheimer, Indonesia,125 min.) Introduced by Susanne Knittel. ***
 The Act of Killing (Indonesia, 2013) by director Joshua Oppenheimer follows ex-death squad leader Anwar. He and his friends helped the army kill more than one million alleged communists, ethnic Chinese, and intellectuals. As the executioner for the most notorious death squad in his city, Anwar himself killed hundreds of people with his own hands. Today, Anwar is revered as a founding father of a right-wing paramilitary organization that grew out of the death squads. The organization is so powerful that its leaders include government ministers, and they are happy to boast about everything from corruption and election rigging to acts of genocide. The Act of Killing is about killers who have won, and the sort of society they have built. Unlike ageing Nazis or Rwandan génocidaires, Anwar and his friends have not been forced by history to admit they participated in crimes against humanity. Instead, they have written their own triumphant history, becoming role models for millions of young paramilitaries. In The Act of Killing, Anwar and his friends agree to tell us the story of the killings. The filmmaking process catalyzes an unexpected emotional journey for Anwar, from arrogance to regret as he confronts, for the first time in his life, the full implications of what he’s done. As Anwar’s fragile conscience is threatened by the pressure to remain a hero, The Act of Killing presents a gripping conflict between moral imagination and moral catastrophe.


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2016- 2017
20 September: The Lost Ones. Long Journey Home (2011, USA, 42 min). Introduced by Prof. Susan Rose (Dickinson College, USA).
The Lost Ones: Long Journey Home is a documentary film that weaves together Native American oral histories and historical, archival research as it pieces together the story of two Lipan Apache children captured along the Texas-Mexican border in 1877.
After the massacre of their village known, as Remolino or the "Day of Screams," the children rode from fort to fort with the U.S. Calvary for three years before being taken to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School (CIIS) in Pennsylvania – thousands of miles from their home. Carlisle, established in 1879 at the end of the “Indian wars,” served as the model for off-reservation boarding schools across the United States and Canada. Its goal was to “civilize” and assimilate Indian children to Euro-American culture: “education for extinction.” The children’s ties with their family were completely severed; the only legacy the children left was Kesetta's three-year-old son who became the youngest child ever to be enrolled at CIIS. While the family remembered the Lost Ones every year, they never knew what had happened to the children or where they were buried until two centuries later.
This documentary reveals the mystery of how on the 132th anniversary of Remolino, Lipan Apache descendants from California, Texas, and New Mexico came to Carlisle to offer blessings so the children could be sent home. The film demonstrates the power of collective memory, the impact of intergenerational trauma, and the ways in which photographs can be used as a form of both erasure and reclamation.



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11 October: Brincando El Charco. Portrait of a Puerto Rican (1994, Frances Negrón- Muntaner, USA, 55 min)and Small City, Big Change (2013, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, USA, 10 min). Introduced by Frances Negrón-Muntaner (Columbia University, USA).
Refreshingly sophisticated in both form and content, Brincando el Charco contemplates the notion of 'identity' through the experiences of a Puerto Rican woman living in the US. 
In a wonderful mix of fiction, archival footage, processed interviews and soap opera drama, Brincando el Charco tells the story of Claudia Marin, a middle-class, light-skinned Puerto Rican photographer/videographer who is attempting to construct a sense of community in the US. Confronting the simultaneity of both her privilege and her oppression, Brincando el Charco becomes a meditation on class, race and sexuality as shifting differences.
During this edition, one of Negrón Muntaner's short films will also be screened: 'Small City, Big Change'. This film portrays how the smallest city of Massachusetts, of mostly Latino workingclass residents, provided the key leadership for the approval of the Transgender Equal Rights Act of the state.
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15 November: Lift (2001, Marc Isaacs, UK, 25 min) and Calais, the Last Border (2003, Marc Isaacs, UK, 60 min). Introduced by Dr Domitilla Olivieri (Gender Studies, UU).
For Lift, Isaacs installed himself in the lift of a typical English tower; and for ten hours a day, over two months, he would ride up and down with the residents, with his camera pointing at them. As people start talking to him, we discover their lives.
The film portrays the life in a high-rise building in London and implicitly engages with questions of cultural encounter, class, everyday urban life, and the sense of home.
Calais, the Last Border takes place in the French port town of Calais. For many English citizens, this is the gateway to Europe or a place to buy cheap alcohol. For hundreds of migrants it is the final barrier in the desperate search for a new life in England. This intimate film weaves together character driven stories of refugees, migrants and English expatriates to build a picture of life in a transient town where the inhabitants dream of somewhere better.

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13 December: The Nine Muses (2011, John Akomfrah, Ghana, 90 min). Introduced by Jamila Mascat (Gender Studies, UU).
Part documentary, part personal essay, this experimental film by John Akomfrah combines archive imagery with the striking wintry landscapes of Alaska to tell the story of immigrant experience coming into the UK from 1960 onwards.
Twenty-five years after the end of the Trojan War, Odysseus still has not returned home. So his son, Telemachus, sets off on a journey in search of his lost father. So begins Homer's revered epic poem, The Odyssey, the primary narrative reference point for The Nine Muses, a remarkable meditation about chance, fate and redemption.


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17 January: Letter to a Refusing Pilot (2013, Akram Zaatari, Lebanon, 34 min). Introduction by Layal Ftouni (Gender Studies, UU).
Taking a cue from Albert Camus' epistolary essay "Letters to a German Friend," in Letter to a Refusing Pilot, Zaatari conducts both an investigation and a stirring tribute to an act of resistance (or forbearance) that marked his childhood memories: the refusal of an Israeli pilot to bomb a boys' high school on June 6, 1982 in south Lebanon. Oscillating between documentary, essay and fiction, this elegant and multi-layered film and installation combine personal and archival documents as it seeks to recuperate historical truth from the annals of personal reminiscence, laced with both enchantment and fear. Framed like a coming-of- age filled with wonderment and insuperable curiosity, Letter to a Refusing Pilot humanizes a personal gesture in face of a greater conflict.
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28 February: Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea, 2016, Francesco Rosi, Italy/France, 114 min). Introduced by Prof. dr. Sandra Ponzanesi (Gender Studies, UU).
In this internationally prize-winning documentary, which focuses on the refugee crisis, Gianfranco Rosi contrasts the lives of the desperate migrants landing on the shores of Lampedusa with the everyday existence of the locals. Using mainly fixed camera positions and no narrative voiceover, Gianfranco Rosi enigmatically juxtaposes scenes, switching between the migrants’ daily, desperate arrivals, and the everyday existence of one Lampedusa family: and one young boy Samuele, whose solitary meandering through the beautiful rugged island, making naught slingshots, creates a strong contrast between his carefree childhood and the harsh realities of the refugees.
Samuele has a lazy eye that doctors are treating with the old-fashioned method of blanking out one lens for the good eye. This becomes a metaphor for the lazy eyes of Europe, or for the EU desire to look away. Though his camera work Rosi forces us to look at and focus on the tragedy that continues to unfold in the Mediterranean. Samuele is also suffering from hyperventilation and anxiety, and is treated by the same island doctor, dr. Bartolo, who must attend to the migrants for many years and continue to carry out autopsies on their wretched corpses. He is the one of the few explicit points of contact between the migrants’ story and Samuele, one hint of a symptom, or a larger malaise.
Fire at Sea won the 66th Golden Bear at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival and was selected as Italy’s Foreign Language Oscar entry in the category Fiction Film, generating serious controversy on why not in the documentary category.
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14 March: The Pearl Button (2015, Patricio Guzmán, Chile, 82 min). Introduction by dr. Doro Wiese (Comparative Literature, UU).
Water receives impetus from the stars and transmits it to living creatures. Water, the longest border in Chile, also holds the secret of two mysterious buttons which were found on its ocean floor. Chile, with its 2,670 miles of coastline and the largest archipelago in the world, presents a supernatural landscape. In it are volcanoes, mountains and glaciers. In it are the voices of the Patagonian Indigenous people, the first English sailors and those of its political prisoners. Some say that water has memory. This film shows that it also has a voice.
According to film critic Nicolas Rapold in The New York Times, Guzmán embarks on a wondering examination of indigenous coastal tribes, subject to extermination long before Pinochet's crackdowns on civilians. From there, he discusses (and visualizes) one of that dictatorship's signature atrocities: flying helicopters over the Pacific to dump the bodies of torture victims into that vast anonymous grave. A master of voice-over and metaphor (the title alone has an amazing payoff), he sifts through essential truths and draws links between Chile's past and present inhabitants.


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11 April: Everyday Borders (2014, University of East London, England, 50 min). Leila Whitley (Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, Zukunftskolleg, University of Konstanz, Germany).
A joint project of The University of East London’s Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging and activist organisations based in London (Southall Black Sisters, Migrant Rights Network, and the Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex and London), this documentary examines the UK’s Immigration Act of 2014 and the experience of everyday bordering.
Everyday Borders traces the effects of legislation shifts which increasingly institute immigration checks and controls throughout the space of everyday life. As Nira Yuval-Davis explains in the film, these shifts are “threatening to destroy the conviviality of pluralist metropolitan London, and multi-cultural Britain in general.” The documentary is a piece of public scholarship, which combines an activist orientation with analysis of shifts in UK immigration policy from academics working in the UK.


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The PCI is based at Utrecht University



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