Fall 2022 Films

Virtual Film Screenings & Discussions Fall Semester

Dear CineCulture Supporters,

I’m thrilled to share with you that CineCulture is bringing many exciting new films to our community this coming fall semester via virtual cinema. I will post announcements and links to view the films via email and on the CineCulture website (https://cineculture.csufresno.edu/). If you’d like to subscribe to the CineCulture listserv email me at mhusain@csufresno.edu.

Subscribers will have to watch the films on their own and prior to the discussions.  These films will be available for a period of 3-5 days before and will NOT be with the discussions.

Via weekly email announcements, listserv subscribers will be invited to attend Zoom discussions with guest discussants. As with in-person screenings, viewers will NOT be charged a fee for viewing the films (There is a minimal charge 10/28 & 11/4 for viewers who don’t have access to library databases). Audience members will view the films prior to the discussion dates. I hope you enjoy the films and can join us for the Friday discussions via Zoom! 

Dr. Mary Husain

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Opening Film: Skies of Lebanon (Sous le ciel d’Alice)/ View the film August 29-Sept. 2

Zoom Discussion with Isabelle Zighondi (actress) September 2 @ 5:15 p.m.

Skies of Lebanon is Lebanese-French director Chloé Mazlo’s first feature film.  This charming film received the Grand Prize at the Francophone International Film Festival in Tübingen, Germany, and was a selection at the 2020 International Critics’ Week of the Cannes Film Festival.  It combines live action with animation to create a vivid picture of Lebanon, inspired by the family history of the filmmaker.  Using stories told to her by her grandmother of life during the Lebanese Civil War (1975-90), Mazlo crafts a touching and heart-breaking story of love during wartime.  “A poetic blending of the personal and political”, this moving film tells the story of Alice, a young Swiss woman who moves to Beirut in the 1950s and falls in love with Joseph, a Lebanese astrophysicist with dreams of sending his fellow citizens into space.  Joseph and Alice appear to lead the perfect life… However, after years of bliss, the civil war threatens their Garden of Eden and nothing will ever be the same again.  In French and Arabic with English subtitles.  90 minutes.  Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtfEQkhSo1k

Sponsors: The French Program and the Department of Modern & Classical Languages & Literatures

As Far as I Can Walk/ View the film September 5-9

Zoom Discussion with Stefan Arsenijevic (Director) September 9: @ 5:15 p.m.

As Far as I Can Walk directed by Serbian director Stefan Arsenijevic, follows a couple who left Ghana with a dream of a better life in Europe and now live as refugees in Belgrade, Serbia. 22-year-old Siisi, nicknamed Strahinja, is doing everything to integrate. He volunteers for the Red Cross in the camp where he lives, looks for work, plays on the local soccer team… His biggest challenge, however, is to win back the woman he loves. When she disappears one day, Strahinja sets out to find her. As Far as I Can Walk is a re-imagining of a traditional medieval epic in which contemporary African migrants take the place of Serbian national heroes. Urgent and timeless at the same time, the adaptation raises questions about identity, tradition, race and love. In Serbian and English with English subtitles, 92 minutes. Trailer: https://vimeo.com/682377530?embedded=true&source=vimeo_logo&owner=19418010

Eternal Spring/ View the film September 12-16

Zoom Discussion with Jason Loftus (Director) September 16 @ 5:15 p.m.

In this animated documentary Canadian director Jason Loftus, tells the story of what happened in March 2002, when a state TV signal in China is hacked by members of the banned spiritual group Falun Gong. Their goal is to counter the government narrative about their practice.  In the aftermath, police raids sweep Changchun City in northeastern China, and comic book illustrator Daxiong (Justice League, Star Wars), a Falun Gong practitioner, is forced to flee. He arrives in North America, blaming the hacking for worsening the violent repression against this religious movement. But his views are challenged when he meets the lone surviving participant to have escaped China, now living in Seoul, South Korea. Combining present-day footage with 3D animation inspired by Daxiong’s art, Eternal Spring retraces the event on its 20th anniversary, and brings to life an unprecedented story of defiance, harrowing eyewitness accounts of persecution, and an exhilarating tale of determination to speak up for political and religious freedoms, no matter the cost. In Mandarin with English subtitles, 86 minutes. Trailer: https://vimeo.com/671330916

Mariupol: The Chronicles of Hell/ View the film September 19-23

Zoom Discussion with Liza Tatarinova (Director) September 23 @ 5:15 p.m.

 Ukrainian filmmaker Ielyzaveta Tatarinova documents the fall of one of Ukraine’s tenth-largest Mariupol – ruined but not conquered. The city in the east of Ukraine, with almost half a million people, has survived the occupation, total destruction, and a humanitarian catastrophe. The occupiers were murdering civilians, preventing them from escaping. This film tells the story of the survivors, their life in hell, and ultimately salvation. In Ukrainian with English subtitles, 81 minutes. Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc4M7NQyDWI

Father/ View the film September 26-30

Zoom Discussion with Srdan Goluibovic (Director) September 30 @ 5:15 p.m.

As told by Serbian Director Srdan Goluibovic, Nillaka, a day laborer and father of two in a small town in Serbia, is ordered to give up his children to social services after poverty and hunger drive his wife to commit a desperate act. Until he can provide adequate conditions for their upbringing, the children will be placed in foster care. Despite Nikola’s best efforts and several appeals, social services refuse to return his children, leaving him feeling hopeless. But when Nikola discovers the local administration may be corrupt, he decides to travel across Serbia on foot and take his case directly to the national ministry in Belgrade. Against all odds and driven by love and despair, this father refuses to give up on justice and his right to raise his children. In Serbian with English subtitles, 120 minutes. Trailer: https://vimeo.com/684844319

Olga/ View the film October 3-7

Zoom Discussion with Dr. Rose Marie Kuhn & Dr. Yevgen Zhernovey October 7 @ 5:15 p.m.

Olga is French-born Swiss director Elie Grappe’s first feature film.  It is set against the backdrop of the Euromaidan upraising and civil unrests in Kyiv, Ukraine, in late 2013. Olga is the story of a 15-year-old gymnast struggling with her dual identity: she is both Swiss and Ukrainian.  She trains for the Olympic as a Swiss athlete thanks to her deceased father’s nationality, while her mother, a free-lance journalist, reports on the ground in Kyiv and faces daily dangers. What will happen to Olga? Will she win a place on the Swiss team competing in the Olympics? Striving for authenticity, Grappe has cast real gymnasts in the film’s main roles. Olga won the prize for Best Screenplay at the 74th International Critics Week of the Cannes Film Festival. The film was selected as the Swiss entry for Best International Feature Film at this year’s Academic Awards.  Additionally, it won Best Feature Film, Best Screenplay and Best Sound at 2022 Swiss Film Awards. In French and Ukrainian with English subtitles.  85 minutes.  Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaVAoiRlTyA.

Sponsors: The French Program and the Department of Modern & Classical Languages & Literatures

Costa Brava, Lebanon/ View the film October 10-14

Zoom Discussion (Speaker TBA) October 14 @ 5:15 p.m.

Costa Brava Lebanon is Lebanese director Mounia Akl’s first feature film.  This contemporary fiction tells the story of three generations of the Badri family who resides in an idyllic mountain home. Though the location is picture-perfect, familial arguments bubble up beneath the surface. Grandmother Zeina, ex-singer Soraya and teenager Tala yearn to return to Beirut. On the other hand, father and husband Walid and Rim, the youngest child, refuse to leave their eco-paradise. The whole family’s resolve wavers… but then the government seizes their property and proceeds to carve it into a landfill. What will happen to them? Will they stay or have to leave their threatened haven? This film, which “masters the universal and the local at once”, received numerous accolades and prizes at several international film festivals around the world and was selected as the Lebanese entry for Best International Feature Film at this year’s Academy Awards.  In Arabic with English subtitles. 105 minutes. Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlKwa-MKGgo.

Sponsors: The French Program and the Department of Modern & Classical Languages & Literatures

Peaceful/View the film October 17-21

Zoom Discussion with Candice Wilkins (Hinds Hospice Manager, Center for Grief & Healing and Social Work) October 21 @ 5:15 p.m.

Peaceful is French director Emmanuelle Bercot’s newest feature film. It is the moving story of a mother (Catherine Deneuve) facing the unbearable and her son (Benoît Magimel) in denial of a serious illness and facing his approaching death. Between them a doctor (Gabriel Sara) and a nurse (Cécile de France) fight to do their job and bring them to acceptance. Mother and son have one year, four seasons, to “dance with the disease, tame it, and understand what it means: to die while still alive”. The film is deeply poignant while realistic at the same time. Filmmaker Bercot raises the bar of realism by having Dr. Gabriel Sara (renamed Dr. Eddé in the film), more or less play his own role of a real oncologist whose unorthodox treatments for end-of-life patients use music and speech.  Peaceful had its world premiere at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.  Benoît Magimel won a Cesar and a Lumière Award Best Actor earlier this year.  In French with English subtitles.  120 minutes. Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upCym_xcJfo

Sponsors: The French Program and the Department of Modern & Classical Languages & Literatures

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (Film available on Kanopy/Campus library database or Fresno County library)
Zoom Discussion with Dr. Ed EmanuEl October 28 @ 5:15 p.m.

Chinese-French author, screenwriter and filmmaker Dai Sijie directed this feature film based on his own semi-autobiographical novel set in the early 1970s during the later stages of China’s Cultural Revolution. It tells the story of two young men, university students, who are sent to a remote mountain village in southwest China for three years of Communist re-education to purge them of their decadent Western education. Amid the back-breaking work and stifling ignorance of the community, they fall in love with a local beauty, the daughter of the most renowned tailor in the region. When they discover a hidden suitcase filled with banned books by western writers, they read these works to the little seamstress for hours on end in a secret meeting place. Thirsting for knowledge of the world beyond, she is mesmerized by the novels of nineteenth-century French writer Honoré de Balzac and eventually falls in love with the two young men who read this author’s stories to her. On her mystical journey, the Little Seamstress finds the courage to leave her village for broader horizons. In Chinese with English subtitles. 111 minutes.  

The Lunchbox/ Film available on Fresno State library database/ Academic Video Online/ Alexander Street Press for free, or Amazon for $2.99)
Zoom Discussion with Professor Joan Sharma November 4 @ 5:15 p.m.

Middle class housewife Ila is trying once again to add some spice to her marriage, this time through her cooking. She desperately hopes that this new recipe will finally arouse some kind of reaction from her neglectful husband. She prepares a special lunchbox to be delivered to him at work, but, unbeknownst to her, it is mistakenly delivered to another office worker, Saajan, a lonely man on the verge of retirement. Curious about the lack of reaction from her husband, Ila puts a little note in the following day’s lunchbox, in the hopes of getting to the bottom of the mystery. This begins a series of lunchbox notes between Saajan and Ila, and the mere comfort of communicating with a stranger anonymously soon evolves into an unexpected friendship. Gradually, their notes become little confessions about their loneliness, memories, regrets, fears, and even small joys. They each discover a new sense of self and find an anchor to hold on to in the big city of Mumbai that so often crushes hopes and dreams. Still strangers physically, Ila and Saajan become lost in a virtual relationship that could jeopardize both their realities. In Hindi with English subtitles. 104 minutes. Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENgWVvQYCxg

November 18: The Benefit of the Doubt (Une part d’ombre)/ View the film Nov. 13-18

Zoom Discussion (Samuel Tilman (Director) Nov. 18 @ 5:10 p.m.

The Benefit of the Doubt is a Belgian film directed and written by Samuel Tilman in his directorial debut.  It tells the story of David a happy young father married to a wife he loves, two adorable young children, and a tight-knit tribe of friends he and his family always go away on holiday with.  However, on returning from their last trip away in the Vosges in Eastern France, near its border with Germany, he is taken in for questioning by the police as part of a murder investigation.  Before long the investigation reveals that all is not what it seems behind the happy and respectable facade of David’s life.  The film had its world premiere at the Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur, in Namur, Belgium in Fall 2017.  It also received several nominations including Best First Feature Film and Best Actress and won the Special Jury Price at the Beaune International Thriller Film Festival in Beaune, France. In French with English subtitles.  95 minutes.  Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Pyzh6ZZLkQ

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