Film Line-Up for Fall 2015


Film Screenings Fridays 5:30 p.m. Peters Education Center Auditorium (West of Save-Mart Center in the Student Recreation Center Building)

*Exceptions noted (Fresno Filmworks at Tower Theater, 815 E. Olive Ave.).

All films screened on campus are free and open to the public. Parking is not enforced after 4 p.m. on Fridays.

August 28: Aram,  Aram

Discussant: Christopher Chambers (Director)

Aram, Aram is the first American independent dramatic film to take movie viewers inside the Armenian Community of Los Angeles.  Indeed, a tragic accident uproots Aram, a 12-year-old Armenian boy, from his idyllic Beirut childhood, sending him to live with his grandfather in Los Angeles. Aram begins a new routine at his grandfather’s humble shoe repair shop and becomes friends with a young Latina from the neighborhood market. Lured by a gangster’s bravado to unite Armenians against the neighborhood Latino thugs, Aram is drawn into a dangerous urban culture that clashes with his grandfather’s values. Aram struggles to make sense of his new surroundings, his soulful eyes conveying a deep internal conflict between mourning for his old life and forging a new independent identity. Featuring well-known Armenian talent, first time director Christopher Chambers’ moving film portrays the complexities of life within the insular enclave of Little Armenia. 85 minutes. In English and Armenian with English subtitles.

Co-Sponsor: Armenian Studies Program

September 4: Sweet Dreams

Discussant: Lisa Fruchtman (Director)

Rwanda suffered a devastating genocide in 1994.  Close to a million were killed by neighbors, friends and even family members. Horror swept through the entire country. And when it was over, those who remained were broken, dead inside. The country has made great strides in economic recovery, but “people are not like roads and buildings” says Kiki Katese, a pioneering Rwandan theater director. “How do we rebuild a human being?” Kiki decided to start Ingoma Nshya, Rwanda’s first and only women’s drumming troupe, open to women from both sides of the conflict. There was only one requirement: to leave the categories of the past at the gate. For the women—orphans, widows, wives and children of perpetrators—the group has been a place to begin to live again, to build new relationships, to heal the wounds of the past. Yet the struggle to survive and provide for their families still persists. So when Kiki came up with the idea to open Rwanda’s first and only ice cream shop, the women were intrigued … What was ice cream exactly and how would they do it? Kiki invited Jennie and Alexis of Brooklyn’s Blue Marble Ice Cream to come to Rwanda to help the drummers open their shop, which they aptly named Inzozi Nziza (Sweet Dreams). Sweet Dreams follows this remarkable group of Rwandan women as they emerge from the devastation of the genocide to create a new future for themselves. “Because of our history, people know how to fight against, but not for,” Kiki says. “We want to change that equation.” 89 minutes, in Kinyarwanda with English subtitles.

Co-Sponsors: The Ethics Center & Peace and Conflict Studies

*September 11: Filmworks: The Wandering Muse      

Discussant: To be announced

On the anniversary of Sept. 11, Filmworks presents a film directed by Tamás Wormser about resilience and togetherness: the independent documentary The Wandering Muse. This movie tells the story of wandering Jewish musicians, who, for millennia, as reluctant nomads, have used their music instruments as passports to the world. In an Argentine bar, two friends play tango-infused klezmer. In rural Uganda, villagers chant Hebrew prayers in East African harmonies. At a Montreal party, an artist mixes hip-hop and jazz with cantorial singing in a multilingual tour-de-force. And in a Berlin apartment, an American harmonizes with a Russian in a rendition of an anti-Zionist song from the 1920s. From ram’s horn to beatbox, director Tamás Wormser examines a kaleidoscope of Jewish identities through the invigorating and ever-changing music of the Jewish diaspora. 93 minutes, in nine different languages, with English subtitles. Not rated.

Screening Sponsors: Fresno Jewish Film series & Fresno Folklore Society

September  8: Brahmin Bulls

Discussant: Mahesh Pailoor (Director)

For Sid Sharma, life has not quite worked out the way he planned. A thirty-something disillusioned architect struggling to save his failing marriage, Sid stumbles through his days on a self-destructive path while holding his wife’s beloved cat hostage. Meanwhile Ashok, Sid’s estranged and widowed father living in Boston, decides to make a last-minute trip to LA for an academic conference. When Ashok arrives at Sid’s doorstep unannounced, the two men begin a journey to mend their strained relationship until Sid discovers the true purpose behind his father’s visit – a woman with whom he had an affair, years ago. Starring Sendhil Ramamurthy, Roshan Seth, Academy Award winner Mary Steenburgen, Justin Bartha, and Academy Award nominated Michael Lerner, Brahmin Bulls is a heartfelt and humorous look at the ever-evolving relationship between a father and son, the women in their lives, and the powerful secrets they keep. 96 minutes.

*September 25: Leviathan

Discussant: Dr. Michelle DenBeste

Screening at 5 p.m.

The latest drama from Andrey Zvyagintsev, the acclaimed director of The Return (Venice Film Festival Golden Lion winner and Golden Globe nominee) was nominated for Best Foreign Film of the Year at the 2015 Academy Awards. Kolya (AlexeÏ Serebriakov) lives in a small fishing town near the stunning Barents Sea in Northern Russia. He owns an auto-repair shop that stands right next to the house where he lives with his young wife Lilya (Elena Liadova) and his son Roma (SergueÏ Pokhodaev) from a previous marriage. The town’s corrupt mayor Vadim Shelevyat (Roman Madianov) is determined to take away his business, his house, as well as his land. First the Mayor tries buying off Kolya, but Kolya unflinchingly fights as hard as he can so as not to lose everything he owns including the beauty that has surrounded him from the day he was born. Rated R, in Russian with English subtitles, 140 minutes.

Sponsor: History Department

October 2: Timbuktu

Discussant: Dr. Rose Marie Kuhn

Directed by Franco-Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako, Timbuktu tells the story of the Tuareg Kidane, a cattle owner, who lives peacefully with his wife Satima, their daughter Toya, and Issan, their twelve-year-old shepherd, in the dunes not far from the city of Timbuktu, Mali, now ruled by religious fundamentalists.  In town, people suffer under the regime of terror imposed by the jihadis determined to control their faith.  Music, laughter, cigarettes, even soccer have been banned.  The women have become shadows but resist with dignity.  Every day, the new improvised courts issue tragic and absurd sentences.  Kidane and his family are being spared the chaos that prevails in Timbuktu.  But their destiny changes… and Kidane soon will have to face the new laws of the foreign occupants. Premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, the film received seven Césars, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, as well as the François Chalais Prize and the Price of the Ecumenical Jury. In addition, the film also was presented numerous awards at festivals around the world, and representing Mauritania, was nominated for Best Foreign Film of the Year at the 2015 Academy Awards. In French, Arabic, Tamasheq, Songhai, and Bambara with English subtitles. Rated PG-13, 97 minutes.

Sponsors: Modern & Classical Languages & Literatures Department, the French Program, and the Middle East Studies Program

*October 9: Filmworks: to be announced

October 16: The Second Mother

Discussant: Camila Mardila (A leading actress in the film)

An excitingly fresh take on some classic themes and ideas, The Second Mother centers round Val, a hard-working live-in housekeeper in modern day Sao Paulo. Val is perfectly content to take care of every one of her wealthy employers’ needs, from cooking and cleaning to being a surrogate mother to their teenage son, who she has raised since he was a toddler. But when Val’s estranged daughter Jessica suddenly shows up the unspoken but intrinsic class barriers that exist within the home are thrown into disarray. Jessica is smart, confident, and ambitious, and refuses to accept the upstairs/downstairs dynamic, testing relationships and loyalties and forcing everyone to reconsider what family really means. In Portuguese with English subtitles, rated R, 112 minutes.

Co-Sponsor: Chicano & Latin American Studies Department

October 23: Dukhtar

Discussant: Shrihari Sathe (Producer)

Faced with the prospect of marrying her 10-year-old daughter to a man six times her age, a young mother makes the near-suicidal decision to go on the run across the towering mountains of Pakistan. The story has all the makings of a great against-all-odds adventure tale, abetted by spectacular location shooting and an outcome that is never a foregone conclusion. Director Afia Nathaniels feature directing debut generates enough tension to fuel a harrowing real-life story while adding another unforgettable heroine to cinema from the region with Samiya Mumtaz’s measured portrayal of a Muslim woman taking charge of her life. Dukhtar was Pakistan’s Official Submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards. In Urdu and Pushto with English subtitles, 93 minutes, not rated.

Co-Sponsor: Middle East Studies Program

October 30 : Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem

Discussant: Dr. Anat Gilboa (Visiting Professor, UCLA)

An Israeli woman (Ronit Elkabetz) seeking to finalize a divorce (gett) from her estranged husband finds herself effectively put on trial by her country’s religious marriage laws, in this powerhouse courtroom drama from sibling directors Shlomi and Ronit Elkabetz.  In Israel, there is neither civil marriage nor civil divorce. Only Orthodox rabbis can legalize a union or its dissolution, which is only possible with the husband’s full consent. Trapped in a loveless marriage, Viviane Amsalem has been applying for a divorce for three years but her religiously devout husband Elisha (Simon Abkarian of Casino Royale and Persepolis) continually refuses. His cold intransigence, Viviane’s determination to fight for her freedom, and the ambiguous role of the rabbinical judges shape a procedure where tragedy vies with absurdity and everything is brought out into the open for judgment. Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem is an uncompromising, heart-rending portrait of a woman’s struggle to overcome an unmoving patriarchy and live a life of her own design. In Hebrew, French and Arabic with English subtitles, 115 minutes.–the-trial-of-viviane-amsalem-movies-111.php

Co-Sponsors: Jewish Studies Certificate Program & Jewish Studies Association

November 6: Food Chains

Discussant: Dr. Hilal Ever (Special U.N. Rapporteur on Right to Food)

In this exposé, an intrepid group of Florida farmworkers battle to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry through their ingenious Fair Food program, which partners with growers and retailers to improve working conditions for farm laborers in the United States. There is more interest in food these days than ever, yet there is very little interest in the hands that pick it. Farmworkers, the foundation of our fresh food industry, are routinely abused and robbed of their wages. In extreme cases they can be beaten, sexually harassed, or even enslaved – all within the borders of the United States.  Food Chains reveals the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of large buyers of produce like fast food and supermarkets. Fast food is big, but supermarkets are bigger – earning $4 trillion globally. They have tremendous power over the agricultural system. Over the past 3 decades they have drained revenue from their supply chain leaving farmworkers in poverty and forced to work under subhuman conditions. The narrative of the film focuses on an intrepid and highly lauded group of tomato pickers from Southern Florida – the Coalition of Immokalee Workers or CIW – who are revolutionizing farm labor. Their story is one of hope and promise for the triumph of morality over corporate greed – to ensure a dignified life for farm workers and a more humane, transparent food chain. 83 minutes.

Co-Sponsors: Ethics Center, Middle East Studies & The Prentice Womack Fund

*November 13-15: Filmworks/Festival:  to be announced

November 20: After the Rain           

Discussant: Dr. Ed EmanuEl

After the Rain was written by Akira Kurosawa, Japan’s greatest film director.  The film was produced in 1999 and received several awards, including Best Film Award, from the Japan Academy of Film. Although Kurosawa was deathly ill and had lost his eyesight when he began work on After the Rain, he vowed he would finish the project as an epitaph to his immense body of work.  Unable to direct the film himself he trusted the job to Takashi Koizumi, his former assistant of twenty-eight years. When asked to describe the style of his film, Kurosawa said, “View my creation as a cinematic Haiku.” In Japanese with English subtitles, 91 minutes.


December 4: A Nazi Legacy: What our Fathers Did:

Discussant: to be announced

Can a man’s character be separated from his role in history? From his role in a mass murder? With the volume of Holocaust material out there, these questions have certainly been explored before. However, what makes David Evans’ documentary A Nazi Legacy: What Our Fathers Did particularly fascinating is how close he brings us to the men who have become an almost abstract symbol of ultimate evil. He has us meet their sons: Niklas Frank and Horst von Wächter are the sons of Nazi governors Hans Frank and Otto von Wächter.  In spite of their opposing views of their respective fathers, the two have formed a friendship in their challenging lineage. Their vastly different views of history are addressed head on by the film’s catalytic figure, Philippe Sands, a human rights lawyer and descendent of a Holocaust survivor whose family was murdered at the orders of these specific men. It is this peculiar, unavoidable involvement in father/son relationships that momentarily muddles notions of justice, of humanity versus history, before bringing us back to what we know about right and wrong. It is that unique journey back, muddled and frustrating, that makes the film a profound examination of a moment examined so many times before. 92 minutes. Interview with Director David Evans:

Co-Sponsors: Jewish Studies Certificate Program & Jewish Studies Association

*December 11: Filmworks: to be announced

CineCulture is a film series provided as a service to Fresno State campus students, faculty, and staff, and community. CineCulture is also offered as a 3 unit academic course (MCJ 179) in the Mass Communication and Journalism Department. CineCulture fulfills General Education Integration Area Multicultural International (MI).

CineCulture Club promotes cultural awareness through film and post-screening discussions.

Fresno State encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact us in advance to your participation.

For further information about CineCulture:


Dr. Mary Husain (Instructor & Club Adviser) at

Yameen Mahmood (Club President) at

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