(Thursday, Jan. 18, 2007)
Contact: Professor Jefferson Hendricks, email
Centenary College Film Society Announces Spring 2007 Series
SHREVEPORT, LA — On Tuesday and Thursday, Jan. 23 and 25, at 7 p.m. in Carlile Auditorium (Mickle Hall Room 114) on Centenary College’s campus, the Centenary Film Society will begin its 23rd year of bringing international, independent and quality Hollywood movies to the Shreveport-Bossier area.
The series opens this with Chuan Lu’s 2004 Chinese ecological-thriller, Mountain Patrol: Kekexili. Winner of awards at the Berlin, Tokyo and Hong Kong film festivals, Mountain Patrol: Kekexili is based on the true story of Tibetan volunteers who patrol the Kekexili preserve on the Tibet-Chinese border. Their goal is to prevent poachers from killing the rare Tibetan antelope, whose skin is used for expensive, but illegal, shatoosh scarves. Steven Rea of the Philadelphia Inquirer calls the film “breathtakingly beautiful, breathtakingly brutal and simply breathtaking.”
Other films on this season’s schedule include:
Jan. 30 and Feb 1: Jesus Camp (USA, 2006)
Feb. 6 and 8: Children of Heaven (Iran, 1997)
Feb. 13 and 15: The Science of Sleep (France, 2006)
Feb. 27 and March 1: Babel (Mexico/USA, 2006)
March 6 and 8: The U.S. versus John Lennon (USA, 2006)
March 13 and 15: 13 Tzameti (France, 2006)
March 20 and 22: Only Human (Spain, 2004)
March 27 and 29: Ushpizin (Israel, 2004)
All films begin at 7 p.m. in Carlile Auditorium (Mickle Hall Room 114) on Centenary’s campus.
All films are always free and open to the public.
The 2006-07 Centenary College Film Society’s season is being co-sponsored by The Robinson Film Center.
Details on the Films
Mountain Patrol: Kekexili, Jan. 23 and 25, 2007
(China, 2004. Dir. Chaun Lu; in Mandarin/Tebetan with subtitles. 90 mins.)
Kekexili, the largest animal reserve in China, is home to the rare Tibetan antelope. Prized for its skin that is used in making luxurious, albeit illegal, shahtoosh scarves, the antelope's numbers have been dwindling drastically in the past 20 years because of poachers. In the 1990s local Tibetans formed a volunteer patrol to try to stop the illegal poaching—sometimes at the cost of their own lives. Mountain Patrol: Kekexili is a thrilling drama that chronicles the life-and-death struggle between these volunteers and the poachers, and takes place in the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) high Kekexili on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.
“There are times when a movie looks a lot better on screen than it sounds from a description, and Kekexili: Mountain Patrol is an example. A synopsis of the movie makes it sound like a dull, quasi-documentary conservationist picture when, in reality, it's a gritty, tightly paced film that pits man against man and man against nature.” James Berardinelli, ReelViews
Jesus Camp, Jan. 30 and Feb 1
(USA, 2006. Dir. Heidi Ewing; in English. 84 mins.)
A large number of evangelical organizations across America believe a spiritual renewal is occurring in the United States, and that Christian youth should lead the front in this endeavor. Jesus Camp follows the experiences of several young people as they go to an extremist evangelical camp. There they are exposed to religious war dances, cardboard cutouts of George W. Bush, and plastic fetus dolls all as tools to win back America for Jesus.
“Often funny, but also a scary, sobering inside look at the attempts of an increasingly powerful group to erode the separation of church and state.” Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
Children of Heaven, Feb. 6 and 8
(Iran, 1997. Dir. Majid Majidi. in Persian. 89 mins.)
In this simple family drama from Iran, two children invent an intricate plan to conceal the loss of a pair of shoes. Ali and his sister Zhara are living in a poor neighborhood. Their mother is suffering from illness and their father is overworked and underpaid. When Ali is sent out to pick up his sister's shoes, a blind street peddler accidentally swipes them. Afraid that he will get a beating if his parents find out, he and Zhara concoct a plan to solve their problem.
“Children of Heaven is about a home without unhappiness. About a brother and sister who love one another, instead of fighting. About situations any child can identify with. In this film from Iran, I found a sweetness and innocence that shames the land of Mutant Turtles, Power Rangers and violent video games. Why do we teach our kids to see through things, before they even learn to see them?” Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
The Science of Sleep, Feb. 13 and 15
(France, 2006. Dir. Michel Gondry. in English/French with subtitles. 105 mins.)
Largely set in the very active subconscious mind of Stephane (Gael Garcia Bernal), the movie bounces back and forth between his vivid dreams and mundane real life, which involves living in a Parisian apartment owned by his mother and working at an office with a strange crew of characters, including the crass Guy. When Stephane meets Stephanie, a shy neighbor from next door, the two form an unusual friendship, one that may or may not lead to romance.
“Sweet, crazy, and tinged with sadness, Michel Gondry's new feature The Science of Sleep is a wondrous concoction.” J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Babel, Feb. 27 and March 1
(Mexico, 2006. Dir. Alejandro G. Inarritu. English/Spanish with subtitles. 142 mins.)
Alejandro González Iñárritu’s third film, much like Amores Perros and 21 Grams, interweaves three separate stories to powerful and devastating effect. Starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Gael Garcia Bernal and taking place on three separate continents, the director combines stories of fate, hope and tragedy to complete his very personal trilogy about human relationships and the way in which we treat each other.
“The director interweaves his stories like a symphonic composer, teasing out suspense here, adding foreboding there, bringing in a surge of crushing pathos, but then providing a blessed note of hope and reconciliation.” Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
The US vs. John Lennon, March 6 and 8
(USA, 2006. Dir. David Leaf. in English 96 mins.)
This documentary portrays the most controversial period of John Lennon’s life, his political activism in context of '60s/70s pop culture. Simultaneously, it investigates Lennon’s claim of being the harassed victim of the Nixon administration. It is a great opportunity to see rare archival footage of Lennon speaking his mind and playing some of his more edgy, solo, politically-motivated work. Other interviews are with Mario Cuomo, Gore Vidal, Walter Cronkite, Angela Davis, and even G. Gordon Liddy.
“At a time when the country is engaged in fresh debates about the fragile relationship between privacy and national security, this particular chapter seems worth revisiting.” Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
13 Tzameti, March 13 and 15
(France, 2005. Dir. Gela Babluani. in French with subtitles. 86 mins.)
Twenty-two-year-old Sebastien leads an impoverished life with his immigrant family constantly struggling to support them. While repairing the roof of a neighbor's house, he overhears a conversation about an expected package which promises to make the household rich. Sensing the opportunity of a lifetime, Sebastien intercepts the package which contains a series of specific instructions. Ultimately, he comes face to face with a ring of clandestine gamblers placing bets on the outcome of a multi-player, high stakes tournament of Russian roulette. Sebastien is gradually sucked into a malicious game where contestants play for the very highest stakes and come the end credits, the audience’s fingernails will be firmly embedded in their armrests.
“An impressive debut by Georgian film-maker Gela Babluani - this is a beautifully shot, intensely gripping thriller that starts builds to a terrifically tense climax.” Matthew Turner, View London
Only Human, March 20 and 22
(Spain, 2004. Dir. Dominic Harari. in Spanish/Hebrew/Arabic with subtitles. 85 mins.)
Fiancés Leni and Rafi are in love; the kind of hormonal, shout-it-from-the-rooftops love that ignores politics and religion; the trembly kneed, sweaty-palmed infatuation that doesn't care that they are a Spanish Jew and a Palestinian. Until, that is, Rafi meets Leni's family on one eventful Madrid evening and total pandemonium ensues. Only Human is an energetic, colourful comedy that attempts, in its own small way, to figure out why people find it so hard to live in harmony.
“A spirited Spanish farce replete with gross misunderstandings, eccentric characters, unfortunate coincidences and hastily constructed cover stories…” Steve Rose, Guardian/Observer
Ushpizin, March 27 and 29
(Israel, 2004. Dir. Giddi Dar. in Hebrew. 90 mins.)
A heartwarming and humorous Israeli drama set in the customarily closed world of ultra-Orthodox Jews, Ushpizin is the story of Moshe and Malli, a married couple, who are suffering through a financial crisis. Naturally they pray for help, but instead of a miracle, two suspicious strangers with criminal pasts appear on their doorstep. The couple believes their guests were sent to them by God as a test of faith. The film is reportedly the first made by members of the Israeli ultra-Orthodox community.
“Does what the best movies can do: take viewers to what might be unfamiliar places, into a culture with unique customs and traditions, and show, through drama and comedy, how the fundamental truths of the human experience need no translation.” Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer