"Political Cinema," the fourth annual Sarah Lawrence College Foreign Film Festival, to be held from February 26 to March 7, 1999, will feature 26 films in 19 languages. "This year we celebrate cultural diversity through language, and attempt to bring general awareness to political issues around the world," said Eduardo Lago, Spanish and Literature faculty member and curator of the festival. "We use 'political' in a broad sense," said Lago. "The festival is a call for peace and understanding among different cultures, peoples, and faiths."
Admission is free and open to the public. All films will be shown in the Film Viewing Room in the Charles DeCarlo Performing Arts Center. For more information, please call (914) 395-2411.
Friday, February 26
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Gomez: Heads or Tails
This film is on special loan to SLC from the director. It is the account of a sixteen-year-old streetboy in Berlin and his struggle to deal with his family, impress a girl, keep his best friend and not get shot. In German with English subtitles. 87 min
8:45 p.m. - 10:35 p.m.
Memories of Underdevelopment
Tomás Gutiérrez Alea/Cuba/1968
This film, the first to be released in the U.S. from post-revolutionary Cuba, had "a widespread impact unequaled in the history of Third World cinema." It centers on a Europeanized Cuban intellectual who is too idealistic to leave for Miami but too decadent to fit into the new society. In Spanish with English subtitles. 110 min/B&W
10:45 p.m. - 11:40 p.m.
Not Simply a Wedding Banquet
Mickey Chen and Ming-Hsiu Chen/1997
This documentary about the first public gay wedding in Taiwan has stirred up considerable controversy. It documents the highly publicized wedding of a popular writer in which the governor of Taipei promised to be the moderator. 50 min
Saturday, February 27
5:10 p.m. - 6:15 p.m.
Habitual Sadness: Korean Comfort Women Today
This documentary tells the story of some of the (now aging) survivors from among the 200,000 Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese during WWII and who, until now, have hidden their shame in silence. 70 min/video
6:30 p.m. - 7:45 p.m.
A dramatization of the human cost of the Arab-Israeli conflict, this film evokes the pressures, displacement and terror of everyday life under siege. In Arabic with English subtitles. 75 min
8:00 p.m. - 9:55 p.m.
Death by Hanging
This notoriously damning satire on capital punishment and Japanese justice describes, in detail, the execution of a young Korean worker found guilty of rape and the authorities' bizarre re-enactments of his crimes. In Japanese with English subtitles. 114 min
10:00 p.m. - 12:10 a.m.
Men with Guns
Although this film was actually produced in the United States, it is a journey into the hidden history of Latin America, through a disillusioned doctor in search of his former students. His pursuit of them in "underdeveloped" areas leads him to travel closely with a strange collection of social outcasts in search of a legendary sanctuary. In Spanish, English, Nahauti, Tzotzil, Maya and Kuna with English subtitles. 128 min
Sunday, February 28
4:30 p.m. - 4:55 p.m.
Seventy-nine Springtimes of Ho Chi Minh
Depicting a life that spanned three revolutions, three continents and three wars, the film charts Ho Chi Minh's progression from militant student to leader of Vietnam's revolutionary independence movement. 25 min/B&W
5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Dakan (which has been credited with "the most sexually explicit opening scene in African cinema") is the story of two young African men coming to terms with their love of each other and searching for their place in Guinean society. In French and Mandikan with English subtitles. 87 min/video
6:40 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Finzan (A Dance for Heroes)
Cheick Oumar Sissko/Mali/1990
Finzan discusses the issues of women in African rural life through the interwoven stories of two young women. One contests the right of her brother-in-law to "inherit" her and the other is brutally circumcised by the women of the village. The film asserts that traditional village society is tearing itself apart by its inability to free itself from the past. In Bambara with English subtitles. 107 min/video
Monday, March 1
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Facing Reality: Game (1972) and B/Side (1996)
Two films by Abigail Child that document the lower East Side of Manhattan: the first is a memorable portrait of a prostitute and her pimp and the second a narrative of the dispossessed. 80 min
Tuesday, March 2
3:30 p.m. - 5:20 p.m.
The Battle of Chile, Part I: The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie
The film follows the increasingly violent actions taken by the right wing to weaken Allende's socialist policies in the months after the Congressional elections held in March, 1973. In Spanish with English subtitles. 106 min/B&W
6:30 p.m. - 8:10 p.m.
The Battle of Chile, Part II: The Coup d'Etat
Documents the attempted military coup of 1973 and the subsequent political unrest and strategizing which ultimately culminates in the coup d'etat. In Spanish with English subtitles. 99 min/B&W
8:15 p.m. - 9:15 p.m.
Chile, Obstinate Memory
Guzmán returns to Chile to visit with Chileans who experienced the coup depicted in his earlier films. Survivors watch his footage and reminisce about the fall of Allende's "Popular Unity" government. In Spanish with English subtitles. 58 min
Wednesday, March 3
4:45 p.m. - 6:15 p.m.
The Battle of Chile, Part III: The Power of the People
Completed two years after the first two parts, this third segment documents the organizations formed by workers and peasants to compensate for the goods and services being withheld from them by the right in protest of Allende. In Spanish with English subtitles. 82 min/B&W
Friday, March 5
5:00 p.m. - 6:55 p.m.
This film focuses on the Palestinian civil uprising that began on the occupied West Bank in the late 1980's and gives voice to all of the conflicting opinions involved in it. In Arabic and Hebrew with English voiceover and subtitles. 115 min
7:00 p.m. - 8:40 p.m.
Ta Dona (Fire!)
Ta Dona is a careful blend of traditionalism and modern thought: it describes a quest for an authentically African development path which cultivates both the land and its people without exploiting them. In Bambara with English subtitles. 100 min/video
8:50 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Sembene depicts the clash between French colonialists and the Diolas (a mystical African tribe) in the closing days of WWII. The women provide the first voice of resistance and the film conveys their instinct for survival and haunting visualizations of the tribe's myths, rituals and history. In Diola and French with English subtitles. 101 min
10:45 p.m. - 12:25 a.m.
The Story of Qiu Ju
Gong Li stars as the very pregnant wife of a chili farmer who leaves her small town and negotiates Chinese cities and bureaucracy to obtain justice for her husband. In Mandarin with English subtitles. 100 min
Saturday, March 6
3:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Healing by Killing
This documentary examines the pivotal and terrifying role of doctors and other members of the medical profession in Nazi Germany's euthanasia program to eliminate the mentally handicapped: a pivotal step toward developing techniques of mass extermination. In German and English with English subtitles. 90 min
5:00 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.
Oliver Scmitz/South Africa/1988
This "gangster film" - about a hustler who must confront the limits of the individual rebellion against apartheid - was described by the South African censorship board that banned it as "(communicating) a clear message: refuse to cooperate with the authorities and side with the rebellious elements in black society." In English, Zulu, Sotho and Afrikaans with English subtitles. 104 min
6:55 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Allah Tantou (We Love You)
David Achkar/Guinea and France/1991
An intense examination of the widespread human rights abuses on the African continent shown through the director's reconstruction of his father's life and last days inside Guinean gulag. In French with English subtitles. 62 min
8:10 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Ballad of the Little Soldier
Werner Herzog with Denis Reichle/Germany/1984
This disturbing, compassionate documentary focuses on Nicaragua's unassimilated Mishkito Indian tribe who were persecuted by the Somoza regime and then fought the Sandinistas with guerilla units composed largely of children. In German with English subtitles. 45 min
9:10 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Burnt by the Sun
Although the film itself (an Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film) centers on a single household on one summer day, it reflects a clear foreshadowing of the Stalinist terror and a golden nostalgia for the days that came before it. In Russian with English subtitles. 134 min
Sunday, March 7
6:00 p.m. - 8:50 p.m.
Emir Kusturica/France and Serbia/1997
This film is the "nationalist epic of a non-existent nation": it traces the history of Yugoslavia through three wars using the metaphor of a tempestuous and intriguing friendship. In Serbian with English subtitles. 167 min
9:00 p.m. - 10:15 p.m.
My Love Has Been Burning
Especially notable in its period for its militant feminism, this film features a determined young woman who becomes involved with the political turmoil of Tokyo but ultimately renounces the "bourgeois entrapments of 'respectability'" and finds unexpected fulfillment. In Japanese with English subtitles. 84 min/B&W