Film Line-Up for Spring 2020

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

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

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January 24: The Etruscan Smile (2019)

Discussant: Dr. Ed EmanuEl

The Etruscan Smile features Scottish actor Brian Cox renowned for his role as Logan Roy in HBO’s series Succession and as Lyndon Johnson in the recent Broadway show The Great Society). In this film, Cox plays the role of Rory MacNeil, a rugged old Scotsman who reluctantly leaves his beloved and isolated island in the Hebrides, an archipelago off the west coast of mainland Scotland. He travels to San Francisco to seek medical treatment and moves in with his estranged son. His life will be transformed, just when he expects it the least, through a newly found love for his baby grandson. In English and Scottish Gaelic with English subtitles. 107 minutes. Film Trailer:

January 31: The Cave (2019)

Discussant: Dr. Ahmad Tarakji (Immediate Past President of Syrian American Medical Society/SAMS)

Feras Fayyad, the first Syrian director nominated for an Oscar for his documentary Last Men in Aleppo (2017), delivers an unflinching story of the Syrian war with his powerful new documentary The Cave. For besieged civilians, hope and safety lie underground inside the subterranean hospital known as the “Cave”, where pediatrician and managing physician Dr. Amani Ballour and her colleagues Samaher and Dr. Alaa have claimed their right to work as equals alongside their male counterparts, doing their jobs in a way that would be unthinkable in the oppressively patriarchal culture that exists above. Following the women as they contend with daily bombardments, chronic shortages of supplies and the ever-present threat of chemical attacks, The Cave paints a stirring portrait of courage, resilience and female solidarity. The hospital featured in the film is sponsored by the Syrian American Medical Society or SAMS. In Arabic and English with English subtitles.  107 minutes. Film Trailer:

Sponsor: Syrian American Medical Society

February 7: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2002)

Discussant: Dr. Ed EmanuEl

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.

Sponsor: Center for Creativity and the Arts

February 14: A Girl from Mogadishu (2019)

Discussant: Dr. Rose Marie Kuhn

Written and directed by Northern Irish filmmaker Mary McGuckian, A Girl from Mogadishu is a feature film based on the true story and testimony of Ifrah Ahmed, a young Somali-Irish activist who emerged as one of the world’s foremost international activists against gender-based violence. Born into a refugee camp in Somalia, Ahmed (Aja Noami King) escapes her war-torn native country and is trafficked to Ireland as a teenager. Recounting her traumatic childhood experiences of female genital mutilation when applying for refugee status, she vows to devote her life to the eradication of this horrendous practice. Taking her campaign all the way to the President of Ireland and finally to the European Parliament and United Nations, A Girl from Mogadishu celebrates the power of testimony, for when women find the courage to stand-up, speak out, and tell their truth, the impact can be so inspiring and empowering that act as a meaningful catalyst for change.  Filmed in Belgium Ireland and Morocco.  112 minutes.

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

February 21: Singing Our Way to Freedom (2018)

Discussant: Paul Espinosa (Screenwriter and Director)

How did a young Mexican-American kid from a small rural town in the middle of nowhere become a leading musician of the Chicano civil rights movement? How did he learn about the power of music and imagination to take us on a journey towards freedom? Singing Our Way to Freedom chronicles the life of Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez from his humble beginnings as a farmworker in Blythe, California, to the dramatic moment when he received one of his nation’s highest musical honors at the Library of Congress in Washington DC. As a young man in the 1960s, Chunky joined the picket lines in the California fields with Cesar Chavez, eventually becoming Chavez’s favorite musician. His gradual transformation from a marginalized farm kid to a charismatic social activist shows how one person can mobilize people to change the world.  In his songs and his life, Chunky offers an inspiring narrative, reminding us that the battle for freedom has to be fought anew by every generation. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. 86 minutes. Film Trailer:

Sponsors: Office of the Provost, College of Arts and Humanities and Center for Creativity and the Arts

February 28: The Swallows of Kabul (2018)

Discussant: Freshta & Farid Nasrudin and Dr. Rose Marie Kuhn

 Directed by film makers Zabou Breitman and Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec, Les hirondelles de Kabou (The Swallows of Kabul) is a delightful and extremely moving animated film adapted from the eponymous novel by Algerian novelist Mohammed Moulessehoul better known by his pen name of Yasmina Khadra. The film brings us back to the summer of 1998 and Kabul when Afghanistan was under Taliban rule.  It tells us the touching story of Zunaira and Mohsen, a young couple deeply in love.  Despite the daily violence and misery, they hope for a better future.  One day, a foolish gesture causes life to take an irrevocable turn. In French with English subtitles.  82 minutes.  Trailer:

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

March 6: Lusala (2019)

Discussants: Maurice Ndole

Lusala is the first film that Kenyan actor and writer, Mugambi Nthiga has directed.  It tells the story of Lusala, a young man who is rescued from his abusive upcountry home and moves in with an affluent family in Nairobi, Kenya.  Years later, when he comes of age, he is imposed upon to leave the nest and start out life on his own.  Eager and acquiescent at first, he makes the most of his new life, until the demons from his past return, and he is forced to face them alone. In Swahili & English with English subtitles. 62 minutes.  Film trailer:

March 13: Left on Pearl (2017)

Discussant: Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild (Executive Producer)

Left on Pearl is a documentary about a highly significant but little-known event in the history of the women’s liberation movement, namely the 1971 takeover and occupation of a Harvard University-owned building by hundreds of Boston area women. The ten-day occupation of 888 Memorial Drive by local women demanding a Women’s Center and low income housing for the community in which the building stood, embodied within it many of the hopes, triumphs, conflicts and tensions of Second Wave feminism. One of the few such takeovers by women for women, this action was transformative for the participants and led directly to the establishment of the longest continuously operating Women’s Center in the U.S. 55 minutes. Film website: Film Trailer:

Sponsor: College of Social Sciences & Center for Creativity and the Arts

March 20: The Condor and the Eagle (2019) (in honor of World Water Day March 22)

Discussant: To be confirmed

Four Indigenous environmental leaders embark on an extraordinary trans-continental adventure from the Canadian plains to deep into the heart of the Amazonian jungle to unite the peoples of North and South America and deepen the meaning of “Climate Justice.” The Condor and the Eagle offers a glimpse into a developing spiritual renaissance as the film’s four protagonists learn from each other’s long legacies of resistance to colonialism and its exploitive economy. Their path through the jungle takes them on an unexpectedly challenging and liberating journey, which will forever change their attachment to the Earth and one another. 82 minutes. Film Trailer on Film’s Facebook website:

Sponsor: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Fresno Branch

March 27: Anbessa  (2019)

Discussant: Mo Scarpelli (Director)

Through a coming-of-age story, Anbessa tells the story of one boy taking on modernization on his own terms, revealing a unique and magical perspective on the myth of “progress” that entraps us all. Ten-year-old Asalif and his mother have been displaced from their farmland on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by the construction of a condominium. As they watch the buildings take shape, they are reminded in big and small ways that their country’s dream of “progress” is not for them. To fight back against those casting him out and those threatening his mother’s safety, Asalif taps into a fantasy of becoming “Anbessa” i.e. a “lion” in the Ethiopian language of Amharic. Asalif uses his imagination to battle forces beyond his control. His newfound power and fantasy take him to places he never imagined inside and out of the condo until he  must find the strength that resides in him as a boy, and shed the lion persona, in order to deal with the tides of change and violence that are usurping a community, a country, and his own identity. In Amharic with English subtitles. 85 minutes. Film Trailer:

Sponsor: Center for Creativity and the Arts and The Fresno Bee

April 3: Grab and Run (2017)

Discussant: Roser Corella (Director)

Since Kyrgyzstan, a country in Central Asia, gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, there has been a revival of the ancient practice of “Ala-Kachuu,” which translates roughly as “grab and run.” More than half Kyrgyz women are married after being kidnapped by the men who become their husbands. Some escaped after violent ordeals but most are persuaded to stay by tradition and fear of scandal. Although the practice is said to have its root in nomadic customs, the tradition remains at odds with modern Kyrgyzstan. “Ala-Kachuu” was outlawed during the Soviet era and remains illegal under the current Kyrgyz criminal code, but the law has rarely been enforced to protect women from this violent practice. In Kazakh with English subtitles. 85 minutes. Film Trailer:

April 17: What Will Become of Us (2019)

Discussant: Stephanie Ayanian (Director)

100 years ago, Armenians were nearly annihilated by the Genocide orchestrated by the Ottoman Turks. Today, often unrecognized, it remains defining – but the long shadow of the Genocide creates a burden for young Armenian Americans that discourages them from embracing their culture. What Will Become of Us follows six Armenian Americans, – some famous, some not – as they navigate the 100th anniversary of the Genocide, forging identities for the next 100 years. How can Armenian Americans honor their past, while unshackling themselves from this haunting trauma that seem compromise their future and their Armenian values, customs and traditions? 60 minutes.

* Join Producer/Director Stephanie Ayanian for a special screening featuring a live musical performance by two of the stars of the documentary, Richard and Andrew Hagopian.

Sponsor: Armenian Studies Program & Center for Creativity and the Arts

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 Media, Communications and Journalism Department. CineCulture fulfills General Education Integration Area Multicultural International (MI). For students entering Fresno State Fall 2018, the course satisfies a university graduation requirement.

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:
CineCulture Club invites invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on twitter, and check the club website for film updates.
Contact: Dr. Mary Husain (Instructor & Club Adviser) at

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