CineCulture is a film series provided as a service to the community at no charge. It is also a campus club and is offered as an academic course in the Mass Communication and Journalism Department. My name is Mary Husain, and for the past two years I have had the privilege of serving as the club adviser and course instructor.
The goal of CineCulture is to promote cultural awareness through film and post-screening discussions, facilitated by someone with expertise relevant to the film’s content. My hope is that through film and public dialogue we can create cultural understandings. Sometimes there may be disagreement surrounding controversial issues raised by the films, but when comments are expressed with respect for diverse views we have an opportunity to bridge differences. The idea is to have a public space to explore controversial issues that affect our communities.
One of my goals has been to expand the series in terms of campus and community collaboration, but this would not have been possible without the vision and support of my Dean, Vida Samiian, former department chair, Don Priest and current chair Tamyra Pierce. I would also like to thank WILPF. Not only have we worked together to bring some outstanding films and guests to the series, but for the past three semesters WILPF student interns have volunteered to work with CineCulture. I’m looking forward to meeting the new intern this fall. However, all of this would not be possible either without the ongoing support of the amazing CineCulture club officers: President Maggie Simms, Vice President Jeffrey Phillips, Webmaster Pedro Ramirez, Treasurer Brenda Green, Art Director Kristina Stork, and PR/Graphics Edgar Saldivar.
Films are screened Fridays in McLane Hall 121 on the Fresno State Campus at 5:30 p.m., except for the second Friday of each month. Parking is relaxed after 4 p.m. Time and place exceptions are noted on the lineup. In collaboration with Filmworks, students
enrolled in the course for academic credit receive complimentary passes to the monthly screenings. For many students, this has been their introduction to the Tower District and their first visit to the beautiful historic Tower Theater. I would also like to thank my fellow Filmworks Board members Catherine Campbell and Joy Quigley for their critical role in collaborating to bring some outstanding films and guests to CineCulture.
If readers would like to receive weekly film descriptions, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the CineCulture club Web site to subscribe at http://cineculture.csufresno.edu. Community members are also invited to provide feedback and recommend films and guest discussants for future screenings via feedback forms available at each screening.
I’m really excited about the fall lineup, which includes five filmmakers, two films based on the guest speakers’ books and more. Here’s a preview of some of the highlights.
September 3: Cineculture welcomes back an audience favorite, Dr. Ed EmanuEl, esteemed theater professor and internationally renowned playwright. House of Flying Daggers is directed by one of China’s greatest film directors of the 5th Generation: Zhang Yimou. What makes Zhang’s films so brilliant is his incredible use of color and form in his films. His cinematic talents make his films a moving art gallery. The leading lady of the film is China’s most popular, and some say, most talented actress, Zhang Ziyi. This award-winning film opened in limited release in the United States.
September 17: Award-winning author Bapsi Sidhwa is our guest for a screening of the Deep Mehta film, Earth, adapted from her novel Cracking India. The movie opens in Lahore of 1947 before India and Pakistan became independent. It is a cosmopolitan city, depicted by the coterie of working-class friends who are from different religions. The rest of the movie chronicles the fate of this group and the maddening religious fervor that sweeps even this city as the partition of the two countries is decided and Lahore is given to Pakistan. Earth won the Grand Prize at the Deauville Panasian Film Festival in France. The London magazine TIMEOUT hailed Earth as one of the top 10 films of 1999. Bapsi Sidhwa will also give a talk at noon, PB 191, “Watching Cracking India Becoming Deepa Metha’s Film Earth” (parking is relaxed in the UBC lot).
September 24: Robert Fisk, bestselling author and journalist, based in Beirut as Middle East correspondent for The Independent, has lived in the Middle East for almost three decades and holds more British and International journalism awards than any other foreign correspondent. In the afternoon he will give a talk, interview format, with David Barsamian, “Middle East Fantasies & Myths,” PB 191, 2p.m. At CineCulture, he will show clips he shot in the Middle East that he calls Shooting Death. These events are co-sponsored by CineCulture, Many thanks to the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, and the Fresno Center for Nonviolence. I would like to especially thank Angela Price and FCFNV for her hard work and dedication which have made this event possible.
October 1: Filmmaker Michael Hagopian will screen his film, The River Ran Red, which details the epic search for survivors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 along the Euphrates River. From his archives of 400 testimonies of survivors and eyewitnesses, award-winning filmmaker J. Michael Hagopian weaves a compelling story of terrifying intensity, taking the viewer from the highland waters of the river to the burning deserts of Syria… and to the final resting place of those whose blood ran red in the waters of the Euphrates. Co-sponsored by Armenian Studies Department.
October 8: In her feature-film debut, Women Without Men, renowned visual artist Shirin Neshat offers an exquisitely crafted view of Iran in 1953, when a British and American backed coup removed the democratically elected government. Adapted from the novel by Iranian author Shahrnush Parsipur (our guest discussant), the film weaves together the stories of five individual women during those traumatic days, whose experiences are shaped by their faith and the social structures in place. Looking at Iran from Neshat’s point of view allows us to see the larger picture and realize that the human community resembles different organs of one body, created from a common essence. Co-sponsored by the Middle East Studies Program.
October 15: Which Way Home, Oscar nominee for “best feature documentary,” shows the personal side of immigration through the eyes of children who face harrowing dangers with enormous courage and resourcefulness. Our discussants are Dr. Berta Gonzalez, Associate vice president in the Division of Continuing and Global Education, and Dr. Eduardo Graillet Juarez, Visiting Scholar from Mexico, Universidad Veracruzana. This film was selected in honor of Latino Heritage month and to provide a venue to discuss immigration.
October 22: Call of Life: Facing the Mass Extinction is the first feature-length documentary film to fully investigate the growing threat to Earth’s life-support systems from the loss of biodiversity. Our discussant is filmmaker Monte Thompson. If current trends continue, scientists warn that half or more of all plant and animal species on Earth will become extinct within the next few decades. Call of Life investigates the scope, the causes and the predicted effects of this unprecedented loss of life, but also looks deeper, at the ways in which both culture and psychology have helped to create and perpetuate the situation. The film not only tells the story of a crisis in nature, but also in human nature, a crisis more complex and threatening than anything human beings have ever faced before. Co-sponsored by WILPF for Worldwide Climate Day and 350.org.
October 29: Marina of the Zabaleen is the first feature film ever made about the hidden lives of the Zabaleen people. Enter the extraordinary world of seven-year-old Marina. Through her magical eyes, you’ll be led into the never-before-seen Muqqattam garbage recycling village in Cairo, Egypt. Marina spends her days riding flying elephants, befriending mystical pigeons and dodging out of control butcher knives; she even confronts an evil witch. Despite common misconceptions, all this can happen in a documentary. The film transforms a squalid landfill village into a beautiful, dream-like portrait of family, childhood, and spirituality. Our guest discussant is Rob Hauer, director of photography.
November 18: Special screening in honor of International Education week. Lion’s Den with guest discussant Dr. Kathryn Forbes in Peter’s Business 191 at 5:30 p.m. After waking to find her apartment a bloody mess, with her ex-lover Nahuel dead and her ex-lover Ramiro (Rodrigo Santoro) wounded, Julia (Martina Gusman) finds herself pregnant and in prison. Incarcerated with other mothers, she gives birth and tries to raise her son behind bars. As she continues to push for a new trial, Julia also deals with her formerly estranged mother, Sofía (Elli Medeiros), who now wants to take her son from her. Co-sponsored by Women’s Studies Program.
November 19: Lynn MacMichael will discuss a film related to Israel/Palestine (title to be announced). In an afternoon talk (time and location to be announced) she will discuss her journey to Israel Palestine with the Interfaith Peace Builders Delegation. After the CineCutlure film screening, she will also speak at the Reedley Peace Center.
December 3: Filmmaker Mark Tran is our guest for a screening of his film, All About Dad. Mr. Do (Chi Pham) has raised his kids to be good Catholics and to live up to his unrealistic expectations. His son Ty (David Huynh) is abandoning pre-med to chase a less practical dream, while Linh (Yvonne Truong) is keeping her fiancé’s Buddhist background a secret. However, they aren’t the only kids with secrets in the Do family. It’s time Dad faces the truth that his kids have grown up. Delightfully hilarious, yet mixed with great tenderness and humanism, All About Dad addresses the familiar theme of old world father versus new world kids with deftness and originality. It’s a masterful family portrait that’s sure to resonate with any family.