16th annual massachusetts multicultural film festival: BEYOND WALLS - UMass Amehrst Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies
now showing...

wednesday 6 may

Three Songs About Motherland

(dir Marina Goldovskaya, USA/Russia, 2008, 40 min, Russian w/English subtitles)

Distinguished documentary filmmaker Goldovskaya is head of UCLA's documentary program in the School of Theater, Film & Television. This triptych, a New England premiere, portrays a dramatic collision between the past, the present, and the future in today’s Russia in transition, from the pioneers of Far East Komsomolsk to the promise of oil-rich Siberia, culminating in an investigation of the tragic destiny of Anna Politkovskaya, the courageous journalist assassinated in 2006.

screened with

A Taste of Freedom

(dir Marina Goldovskaya, USA/Russia, 1991, 46 min, in Russian w/English subtitles)

An intimate portrait of Muscovites in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the early effects of perestroika, this documentary portrays six weeks in the lives of Moscow journalists Sasha Politkosvky and Anya Politkovskaya whose daily existence reflects the turmoil and uncertainty of the time.

Introduction by Jane Taubman, Russian, Amherst College. The director will be present for discussion.

7:30pm Amherst College
Stirn Auditorium [Maps/Directions]

Three Songs About Motherland

Russia in transition: Marina Goldovskaya's Three Songs About Motherland (2008).

A Taste of Freedom

Life in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union in Marina Goldovskaya's A Taste of Freedom (1991).


film festival schedule

The Way I Spent the End of the World Cum mi-am petrecut sfâritul lumii
[official site | IMDb]

wednesday 11 february

The Way I Spent the End of the World

Cum mi-am petrecut sfârşitul lumii

(dir Catalin Mitulescu Romania, 2006, 106 min, in Romanian w/English subtitles)

Bucharest, 1989: Sent to reform school for smashing a bust of dictator Ceauşescu, Eva, 17, plans to escape Romania by swimming the Danube to Bulgaria. Her younger brother Lalalilu and his friends volunteer to participate in a children’s concert where they hope to assassinate the dictator whom they blame for her plight.

Introduction by Catherine Portuges, Comparative Literature/Film Studies, UMass Amherst.

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management [Maps/Directions]


Miroslaw Balka: Gravity
[exhibit at university gallery]

february 5 – may 24

Miroslaw Balka: Gravity

Exhibition: Acclaimed Polish artist Miroslaw Balka’s elegiac installation, sculpture and video works suggest both the minimalist placement of objects and the gaps between them. For details please see UMass University Gallery web site.

UMass Amherst
University Gallery [Maps/Directions]


Tycoon: A New Russian / Oligarkh[IMDb]

wednesday 18 february

Tycoon: A New Russian

Oligarkh

(dir Pavel Lunguin, Russia/France/Germany 2003, 128 min, in Russian w/English subtitles)

Based on the life of notorious Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky, Tycoon begins in the last years of Gorbachev’s rule when charismatic Plato dives into the corrupt world of Moscow business, ultimately making him and his gang the richest men in Yeltsin’s Russia—until Russian politicians demand their cut. Tycoon’s epic sweep of history and private life reveals the secret underworld of post-communist Russia.

Introduction by Boris Wolfson, Russian, Amherst College.

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management [Maps/Directions]


The Sugar CurtainEl telón de azúcar
[official site | IMDB]

wednesday 25 february

The Sugar Curtain

El telón de azúcar

(dir Camila Guzmán Urzúa, Spain/Cuba/France, 2006, 80 min, in Spanish w/English subtitles)

The daughter of guerrilla filmmaker Patricio Guzmán and a political exile from Chile, the director’s first feature is an eloquent lament for the lost paradise and revolutionary ideals of her youth during the “Golden Age” of Cuban communism. Interviews with those who left and those who remained after the collapse of the USSR reveal the strength of the Cuban people in the face of adversity.

Introduction by esthR Cuesta, Comparative Literature, UMass Amherst.

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management [Maps/Directions]


CJ7 Cheunggong 7 Hou
[official site | IMDb]

wednesday 4 march

CJ7

Cheunggong 7 Hou

(dir Steven Chow, Hong Kong/China, 2008, 86 min, in Cantonese w/English subtitles)

In Hong Kong director Chow’s hilarious new comedy, a poor laborer and his young son suffer the indignities of poverty in post-communist China until the father finds a new toy for his son at the local dump. When the toy morphs into a tiny, furry alien with magical powers, chaos ensues in this inventive romp.

Introduction by Nancy Inouye, Communication/Film Studies, UMass Amherst.

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management [Maps/Directions]


Iska’s JourneyIszka utazása
[official site | IMDb]

wednesday 11 march

Iska’s Journey

Iszka utazása

(dir Csaba Bollók, Hungary 2007, 93 min, in Hungarian w/English subtitles)

A poignant exploration of poverty and human trafficking in Eastern Europe, Iska’s Journey uses a gritty documentary style to tell the story of runaways from an abusive home in an impoverished Romanian village, with extraordinary performances by non-professional actors—all street kids. Best Actress, Brussels European Film Festival; Hungary’s official selection, 2009 Academy Awards.

Introduction by Jim Hicks, Comparative Literature, UMass Amherst/American Studies, Smith College.

7:30pm Smith College
Graham Hall, Hillyer Art Bldg [Maps/Directions]


Lady Kul el-Arab
[official site | IMDb]

wednesday 25 march

Lady Kul el-Arab

(dir Ibtisam Mara’ana, Israel, 2008, 56 min, in Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles)

Duah, a young woman from a Druze village in the Galilee, is a finalist in Lady Kul el-Arab, a beauty pageant for Israeli-Arab women. When she meets fashion designer Jack Yaakob and travels with him to Tel Aviv to enter the Israeli beauty contest as well, the film becomes a dramatic and moving portrait of a family caught between cultures in a struggle that involves the whole country.

Co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Israel to New England, in honor of International Women’s Month, and Judaic & Near Eastern Studies, UMass Amherst.

Introduction by Anne Ciecko, Communication, UMass Amherst. The director will be present for discussion.

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management [Maps/Directions]


While All Germans SleepWenn alle Deutchen schlafen
[DEFA page]

wednesday 1 april

While All Germans Sleep

Wenn alle Deutchen schlafen

(dir Frank Beyer, Germany, 1994, 72 min, in German w/English subtitles)

While the adults anxiously await deportation to Auschwitz, a boy and his friends hatch a plot to escape from their Polish transit camp—to recover lost toys. Based on Jurek Becker’s short story “The Wall,” this poignant feature by Frank Beyer (who collaborated with Becker on Jacob the Liar, 1974) offers a glimpse into history through the eyes of children.

Presented in collaboration with the Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival, the DEFA Film Library, Judaic & Near Eastern Studies, German & Scandinavian Studies, and the Office of Jewish Affairs, UMass Amherst.

Introduction by Christine Becker. Followed by a panel discussion with Sky Arndt-Briggs (DEFA Film Library), Delene White and Jonathan Skolnik (German & Scandinavian Studies, UMass Amherst).

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management [Maps/Directions]


Songhwan
[official site | IMDb]

wednesday 8 april

Repatriation

Songhwan

(dir Kim Dong-won, Korea, 2004, 149 min, in Korean with English subtitles)

A chronicle of the lives of “unconverted” North Korean spies captured and imprisoned in South Korea for over 30 years, this film documents their adjustment to South Korean society and their struggle for repatriation. For over a decade after their release, the director filmed former prisoners in his neighborhood, offering a penetrating insight into the tragic consequences of the Cold War. Winner, Freedom of Expression Award, Sundance Film Festival.

Introduction by Jina Kim, East Asian Studies, Smith College.

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management [Maps/Directions]


The Edge of HeavenAuf der anderen Seite
[official site | IMDb]

wednesday 15 april

The Edge of Heaven

Auf der anderen Seite

(dir Fatih Akin, Germany/Turkey/Italy, 2007, 122 min)

First-generation Turkish-German director Akin’s realist style and engagement with social and political issues have made him one of the most significant voices of contemporary German cinema. A trio of segments follows a group of German and Turkish men and women as they cross and recross borders--emotional, familial and national--until they find themselves “on the other side”--auf der anderen seite, the film’s German title. Best screenplay, Cannes Film Festival.

Introduction by Barton Byg, Director, DEFA Film Library, UMass Amherst. (Next day: Thomas Elsaesser lecture "Fatih Akin and the Ethical Turn" on Thursday, April 16.)

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management [Maps/Directions]


Thomas Elsaesser
[Thomas Elsaesser]

thursday 16 april

Distinguished lecture

Thomas Elsaesser: “Fatih Akin and the Ethical Turn”

Distinguished Lecture for the Inauguration of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Graduate Certificate in Film Studies by Thomas Elsaesser, Emeritus Professor, University of Amsterdam, and Visiting Professor, Yale University. His recent publications include: Film Theory: the Body and the Senses and Hollywood Heute (2009), Terror and Trauma (2007), and European Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood (2005).

Introduction by Barton Byg, Director, DEFA Film Library.

4:00pm UMass Amherst
301 Herter Hall [Maps/Directions]


The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World
[IMDb]

wednesday 22 april

The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World

(dir Weijun Chen, UK/The Netherlands/Denmark, 2008, 80 min, in Chinese w/English subtitles)

With a staff of nearly 1000 (including 300 chefs and 5000 seats) West Lake Restaurant in Changsha, billed as the world’s largest restaurant, is also a mini-theme park, featuring live entertainment and landscaped pavilions. Overseeing the enterprise is its savvy owner, Qin Linzi, who uses military efficiency to motivate her employees in this foodie’s delight. Selection, Contemporary World Cinema, Toronto International Film Festival.

The producer may be present for discussion.

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management [Maps/Directions]


Czech Dream
[official site | IMDb]

wednesday 29 april

Czech Dream

Český sen

(dir Vit Klusák and Filip Remunda, Czech Republic, 2005, 85 min, in Czech w/English subtitles)

An original, cheeky treatise on capitalism, with more than a whiff of exploitation, Czech Dream follows two film students who used a state grant to promote the opening of a fictitious big-box mega-market in a Prague field. The resulting scandal, alternately hilarious and discomfiting, illuminates the waking nightmare of consumerism in a country still adjusting to the strengths and pitfalls of the concept.

Introduction by Shawn Shimpach, Communication, UMass Amherst.

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management [Maps/Directions]


Three Songs About Motherland

 


 

A Taste of Freedom
[official site | IMDb]

wednesday 6 may

Three Songs About Motherland

(dir Marina Goldovskaya, USA/Russia, 2008, 40 min, Russian w/English subtitles)

Distinguished documentary filmmaker Goldovskaya is head of UCLA's documentary program in the School of Theater, Film & Television. This triptych, a New England premiere, portrays a dramatic collision between the past, the present, and the future in today’s Russia in transition, from the pioneers of Far East Komsomolsk to the promise of oil-rich Siberia, culminating in an investigation of the tragic destiny of Anna Politkovskaya, the courageous journalist assassinated in 2006.

screened with

A Taste of Freedom

(dir Marina Goldovskaya, USA/Russia, 1991, 46 min, in Russian w/English subtitles)

An intimate portrait of Muscovites in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the early effects of perestroika, this documentary portrays six weeks in the lives of Moscow journalists Sasha Politkosvky and Anya Politkovskaya whose daily existence reflects the turmoil and uncertainty of the time.

Introduction by Jane Taubman, Russian, Amherst College. The director will be present for discussion.

7:30pm Amherst College
Stirn Auditorium [Maps/Directions]


about the festival

“Beyond Walls”

The 16th Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival showcases innovative major studio releases and independent films exploring life in the post-socialist, post-communist era since 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Soviet Union and its satellite East bloc regimes, and the opening of China. In fourteen events from February 11 to May 6, 2009, we feature provocative and entertaining films from Romania, Hungary, Russia, Cuba, Hong Kong, Israel, Lebanon, Korea, Germany, Turkey, China, and the Czech Republic. With a special focus on children and youth, several world and national premieres, visiting filmmakers, and a distinguished lecture, the Festival promises to engage audiences in lively debate and discussion.

All events are free and open to the public.

Curated by the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Catherine Portuges, Curator, and Nancy Inouye, Assistant Curator. 129 Herter Annex, University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA 01003, tel. (413) 545-3659, email: film@hfa.umass.edu

A one-credit colloquium (COMM 296F) is available to undergraduate students. UMass Amherst students may enroll through SPIRE. For information or Five College enrollment, please contact colloquium faculty supervisor Prof. Anne Ciecko, Communication, UMass Amherst, tel. (413) 545-6348, email: ciecko@comm.umass.edu

We Wish to Thank...

This festival is made possible by the generous support of many departments, programs, colleges, and individuals at UMass Amherst, the Five Colleges, and beyond.

Major Sponsors:

UMass Amherst: the Colleges of Social & Behavioral Sciences and Humanities & Fine Arts; the Graduate School; the Office of Research Affairs; the Arts Council; the Office of Student Affairs; and the Dept. of Communication.

With additional support from:

UMass Amherst: Commonwealth College; the School of Education; the Depts. of Judaic & Near Eastern Studies, Comparative Literature, German & Scandinavian Studies; the Office of Jewish Affairs; the DEFA Film Library. Five Colleges: The Five College Film Council; Five Colleges Inc.; Depts. of Russian and English, Amherst College; and the American Studies Program, Smith College.


Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies