AUSTIN, Texas—A week of international films will highlight activities during International Education Week, sponsored by Hemispheres, the international outreach consortium at The University of Texas at Austin. International Education Week is a joint initiative of the United States Department of State and the Department of Education to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.
The films will show Nov. 16-21, with faculty commentaries beginning at 7 p.m. each night. The films will be shown in the Experimental Science Building (ESB) on the university campus. The festival opens on Nov. 16 with “House of Fools,” a Russian film directed by Andrei Konchalovsk. In this film, psychiatric patients become entrenched in the Chechen War after the staff leave to find them a safer hospital. Soldiers take over the asylum, and then a young female patient falls in love with a soldier, which leaves her boyfriend in a lurch. This film is based on a true story and is in Russian with English subtitles. “House of Fools” will be shown in ESB 115.
On Nov. 17, “The Return of Martin Guerre,” a French movie directedby Daniel Vigne, will be shown in ESB 115. A 16th century French peasant, MartinGuerre, returns home to his village after a seven-year absence. He left as ayoung man and returns as a mature one—but is it really Martin Guerre? Noone suspects otherwise—not even his wife—until a vagrant says Guerreis not who he claims to be. The law gets involved trying to resolve the question:Who is Martin Guerre? Based on a historical event, this film is in French withEnglish subtitles.
“The Land,” an Egyptian film directed by Yousseff Chahine, will be shown Nov. 18 in ESB 115. Chahine’s classic film, adapted from Abdel Rahman al-Sharqawi’s novel of the same name, was eight years in the making. Chronicling a small peasant village’s struggles against the careless inroads of a large local landowner, “The Land” shows why political oppression does not necessarily lead to a sense of solidarity among the disinherited. This contemplative, epic film about feudalism in rural regions was named the best Egyptian film ever made in a recent poll of Egyptian film critics. This movie is in Arabic with English subtitles.
On Nov. 19, “Monsoon Wedding,” an Indian film directed by Mira Nair, will be shown in ESB 115. This romantic comedy is set in contemporary India where bride to be Aditi has to contend with her traditional father who loves his family dearly but does not have time for their “modern ways.” The Punjabi family travels from all over to enjoy the festivities surrounding the wedding. Aditi faces the dilemma of an arranged marriage and how it conflicts with her contemporary take on relationships. We also get to know the stories behind her family members who also have conflicts between past and present. “Monsoon Wedding” is in Hindi and English.
“Nine Queens,” an Argentinian film directed by Fabián Bielinsky, will be shown Nov. 20 in ESB 333. “Nine Queens” welcomes you to a world of suspicion, betrayal and intrigue where two small-time grifters team up to pull off a big-time score involving a set of valuable counterfeit stamps known as the Nine Queens. But when the rules of the con game unexpectedly change, the two crooks find themselves pitted against each other in this taut psychological thriller in which neither the players, nor the audience, knows for sure who is playing whom. “Nine Queens” is in Spanish with English subtitles.
On Nov. 21, “Central Station,” a Brazilian film by Walter Salles, will be shown in ESB 115. Inside Rio de Janeiro’s bustling Central Station, two very unlikely souls are about to become inextricably linked. When a young boy witnesses his mother’s accidental death, a lonely retired schoolteacher reluctantly takes the child under her wing. Although initially distrustful of each other, the two form an uncommon bond as they venture from the bustling city to Brazil’s barren and remote northeast region in search of the boy’s father. Together, the two embark on a journey of the heart that restores the woman’s spirit and teaches the child precious life lessons. “Central Station” is in Portuguese with English subtitles.
“Mostly Martha,” a German film by Sandra Nettelbeck, will be shown on Nov. 22 in ESB 115. “Mostly Martha” is a tale about a professional chef whose strict routine is interrupted when her sister dies, leaving her daughter in Martha’s care. Martha’s attempts to adapt to her new life—and maintain control in her kitchen—are not always successful. This film is in German with English subtitles.
The departments and centers in the College of Liberal Arts sponsoring this film festival include the Center for Asian Studies, the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, the Department of French and Italian, the Department of Germanic Studies and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.