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Harpur Spring 2005

Fridays at 7:30 and Sundays at 7:30 pm in Lecture Hall 6

Harpur Film Society Membership:
(Membership prices will be adjusted accordingly)
$3.00 at the door
Call 777-4998 for information

Friday, February 4 and Sunday, February 6

Directed by Siddiq Barmak (Afghanistan, 2003)

"Osama," which is based on actual events, is the first Afghan film to be made since the end of the Taliban regime. While exiled in Pakistan, director, Siddiq Barmak read the harrowing story of a 12-year old Afghan girl and her mother who lost their jobs when the Taliban closed the hospital where they worked. With father and brother dead, there was no one left to support the family. Confined to her house by Taliban religious strictures, the mother was left with no where to turn. To protect her daughter she disguised her as a boy called Osama. The girl then embarked on a terrifying and confusing journey as she desperately tried to keep the Taliban from finding out her true identity. (83 min.)

Friday, February 11 and Sunday, February 13

Directed by Li Yang (China, 2003)

In the dark caves of one of China's many illegal coal mines, Song and Tang murder a co-worker whom they have convinced to pose as Tang's brother. By making his death seem accidental, Tang and Song use their colleague's death to extort money from the mine's management. Pressured to cover up an accident which they believe to be the result of improper working conditions, the mine's owners give in to the two workers' blackmailing. So begins this relentless, meticulous thriller that shines a piercing light on the horrors and injustices of the new China, strung out between communism and capitalism. It has never been shown in China. (92 min.)

Friday, February 18 and Sunday, February 20

Directed by Raoul Peck (France, 2000)

At the Berlin Conference of 1885, Europe divided up the African continent. The Congo became the personal property of King Leopold II of Belgium. In 1960 the Belgians declared the Congo independent and Patrice Lumumba, a charismatic young nationalist, became Prime Minister. Lumumba's Marxist and Pan-Africanist leanings made him unwelcome to powerful interests in the U.S. and Belgian governments and he was deposed scarcely two months after taking office, in a coup led by Col. Joseph Mobuto. Lumumba was soon murdered and Mobuto eventually became Congo's American-sponsored dictator. The film traces this sorry history in swift, unsentimental strokes. (115 min.)

Friday, February 25 and Sunday, February 27

Directed by Nicolas Philibert (France, 2002)

A tender and intimate documentary about a dozen pupils and their dedicated teacher in a one-room schoolhouse deep in the Auvergne countryside. Against a landscape of mountains and farmland, from driving snow to rain to sun, the children gather in their comfortable classroom, to read, write dictation, cook, and sort things out. At home, the older ones do homework with parents after their chores. At year's end, they look ahead to the next, visiting the middle school and meeting the little ones coming in the fall. The film invites the audience into the learning process, to re-experience what it's like to trace letters for the first time, put feelings into words, realize you can keep counting forever. (104 min.)

Friday, March 4 and Sunday, March 6

Directed by Costa-Gavras (France, 2002)

When newly-commissioned SS Lieutenant Kurt Gerstein witnesses the chemical disinfectant he has helped to pefect being used to systematically murder interred Jews, he has no choice but to act. It is a difficult task as Gerstein must walk a tightrope between documenting and enabling the atrocities committed by his fellow SS officers. The only sympathetic ear Gerstein is able to find is that of Father Riccardo Fontana, a young Jesuit attached to the Papal Nuncio's office in Berlin. This oddly matched pair try desperately to persuade the Vatican bureaucrats and Pope Pius himself to acknowledge the ongoing genocide and to speak out against it. (132 min.)

Friday, March 11 and Sunday, March 13

Directed by Claude Chabrol (France, 2003)

The French master's 50th film is a cooly ironic tale of an upper-crust Bordeaux clan tangled in its treacherous ancestral roots. It opens in classic fashion with a dead body discovered in the family's elegant country house. The murder occurs in the midst of an election campaign in which an anonymous pamphlet is being circulated that rakes up old, almost-forgotten family scandals: adultery, intermarriage, Nazi collaboration, patricide. The effort to identify the author of the pamphlet as well as the murderer only serves to reveal more of the dirty secrets concealed beneath the calm and ordered rituals of the haute bourgeoisie. (104 min.)

Friday, April 1 and Sunday, April 3

Directed by Sylvain Chomet (France, 2003)

After years of training, Champion, an orphaned boy, makes it to the Tour de France, Alas, Champion and a handful of other top competitors are mysteriously kidnapped by a pair of sinister crooks. Madame Souza, Champion's guardian, supported by her elephantine dog Bruno, sets off to rescue him. The chase leads them to Belleville, headquarters of the French mafia and also of the Belleville Triplettes, three batty old women who once were a hot trio. Can they save Champion? The answer is found in one of the most original animated films in years. In the words of one critic: "To call it weird would be a cowardly evasion. It is creepy, eccentric, eerie, flaky, freaky, funky, grotesque, inscrutable, kinky, kooky, magical, oddball, spooky, uncanny, uncouth and unearthly. Especially uncouth." (80 min.)

Friday, April 8 and Sunday, April 10

Directed by Lars von Trier (USA/Denmark, 2004)

A beautiful fugitive, Grace (Nicole Kidman), on the run from a team of gangsters, arrives in the isolated township of Dogville, somewhere in the Western mountains. With some encouragement from Tom, a sensitive young man and the self-appointed town spokesman, the little community agrees to hide her and in return, Grace agrees to work for them. However, when a search sets in, the people of Dogville demand a better deal in exchange for the risk of harboring poor Grace and she learns the hard way that in this town, goodness is relative. Von Trier, the leading figure in the Danish Dogme 95 movement, sets the film in an abstract stage with painted lines standing for the buildings, and tests the nature of film illusion. (177 min.)

Friday, April 15 and Sunday, April 17

Directed by Dana Ranga (Russia, 1997)

A delirious documentary that unveils a part of film history until now unknown in the west: Soviet and Eastern-bloc communist musicals. Featuring hearty peasants and workers driving tractors, sweeping factory floors, feeding farm animals, harvesting crops, all the while singing and dancing their hearts out about the joys of socialism, these Hollywood-style musicals interpret American escapism in socialist terms. Most famous among Russia's 1930 musicals was "Volga Volga," Stalin's favorite, which he viewed more than one hundred times. During the 1950s and 60s the East Germans, Czechs and Romanians churned out these low-rent Jerome Robbins-esque fantasies, which implicitly promised that consumer heaven was just a piroutte away. Included are interviews with people involved in the making of some of these movies, as well as nostalgic moviegoers who miss them. (74 min.)

The Harpur Film Society seeks to bring to campus a range of significant films that in most cases would not be available to local audiences. Our program is international in scope, emphasizing recent foreign and independent American films. All foreign films are shown in their original languages, with English subtitles. Film notes, with screen credits and some information about the film's background, are distributed at each screening.

*Five of this semester films were made possible in part with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture (CNC).

Membership: Film Society membership this semester is $18 for the general public and $15 for students and senior citizens. Membership includes admission to all nine of the semester's screenings. When subscribing, please choose either the Friday or the Sunday program. Membership tickets can be purchased by mail or in person in at the Cinema Department office in SW-203B.

Single Tickets: Seats not sold by subscription will be available at the door from 7:00 pm on the evening of the screening. Single tickets cost $3.00.

Questions? Call the Cinema Department at 777-4998 or Professor Grenier at 777-4997.

Last Updated: 9/10/18