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Life Itself

Foreign Film Series

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Films are shown in the Student Center Cinema
Thursday 7:30pm   |   Friday 7:30pm   |  
Saturday 5pm & 8pm   |   Sunday 2pm & 5pm

For our 33rd consecutive season we have assembled 14 internationally acclaimed films from thirteen different countries. The selections in the 2014–2015 series have been recognized by critics as some of the best cinema the world has to offer, collecting prizes from international film festivals and award competitions such as the U.S. Academy Awards, Cannes Film Festival, César Awards, Berlin International Film Festival, and the Asian-Pacific Film Festival. Included in this year's program is the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film.

As an entertainment value, the UW-Parkside Foreign Film Series remains a bargain that cannot be beat! For less than $2 per film, our patrons have six show time options, including a liberal switching policy; 3 free guest passes; and full-length reviews.

Order your season tickets as soon as possible! Our most popular show times, Thursday 7:30 p.m., Friday 7:30 p.m., and Saturday 5:00 p.m. have sold out for a number of years running.

We encourage you to order your tickets online: Buy Foreign Films Series Tickets.

Alternatively, you can fill out an order form and mail it to: UW-Parkside Ranger Card Office, P.O. Box 2000, Kenosha, WI 53141-2000; or you can call 262-595-2307.

We will mail your tickets to you, or if you order late, we will hold your tickets at the box office.

See you at the movies!

UW-Parkside Foreign Film Series Committee
Norm Cloutier (FFS Director, Professor of Economics)
Donald Kummings (Emeritus Professor of English)

 

2014-2015 Films 

Submarine – September 11-14

Ayoade’s film debut is filled with dry humor, inventive visual wit and great performances. The film follows 15-year-old Oliver, a somewhat delusional teenager who believes he is a literary genius. In actuality, he is a social outcast who gets bullied at school and doesn’t know how to talk to girls. Oliver has a playful, innocent obsession with losing his virginity and a general inquisitiveness about sexuality that compels him to monitor the love life of his parents, both marital and otherwise. The film and its excellent young actors astutely capture the experience of being a young man in something resembling love, and trying to negotiate those tricky waters for the first time. Both men and women will find Submarine so knowing and so evocative that it brings all of those awkward teenage moments back to us in a flood of anxiety, regret and excitement. 2011 British Independent Film Awards: Best Screenplay. (UK, 2010) Director: Richard Ayoade. English language. 97 min REVIEW

The Broken Circle Breakdown – September 25-28

An intensely moving portrait of a relationship from beginning to end, propelled by a soundtrack of foot-stomping bluegrass, The Broken Circle Breakdown is a romantic melodrama of the highest order. Didier is a tall, handsome, soft-spoken bluegrass musician who loves America, the land of the fresh start. He falls in love with Elise at first sight. They bond over their shared enthusiasm for American music and culture, and dive headfirst into a sweeping romance that plays out on and off stage.  Their daughter Maybelle is born and their little threesome blooms among a warm group of extended family and friends—but when an unexpected tragedy hits their new family, everything they know and love is tested. 2013 Tribeca Film Festival: Best Actress, Best Screenplay. (Belgium, 2012) Director: Felix Van Groeningen. Flemish and English languages. 111 min REVIEW

The Past – October 9-12

Director Farhadi follows his Academy Award Oscar, A Separation (2011), with another brilliant drama concerning fracturing families. The Past begins as a seemingly straightforward family melodrama and stealthily evolves into a kind of thriller. After a four-year separation, Ahmad has returned to Paris in order to arrange the final settlements of a divorce from Marie. What appears at first as an amicable and honest process ends up to be anything but. It’s rare to see so many characters, including children, afforded so many nuances. We see the best and worst and the just-muddling-through in-between of everyone involved, and our understanding of them shifts, along with our sympathies, as more pieces of the puzzle fall into place. 2013 Cannes Film Festival: Best Actress. (France/Iran, 2013) Director: Asghar Farhadi. French, Persian languages. 130 min REVIEW

Blancanieves – October 23-26

In this enchanting film, one of the last films Roger Ebert championed before his death, director Pablo Berger gives us a unique take on the Snow White fairy tale. Carmen, the daughter of a famed matador, flees her wicked stepmother to join a band of bullfighting dwarfs. The storyline effectively captures the dark Gothic feel of the original Snow White, yet contains plenty of excitement and good cheer along the way. The film was shot in black-and-white and with silent dialogue replaced by intertitles. The result is a gorgeously rendered fable speaking against vanity, greed and selfishness. 2013 Goya Awards: Best Film, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay. (Spain/France/Belgium, 2012) Director: Pablo Berger. Spanish language. 104 min REVIEW

The Hunt – November 6-9

In this engrossing drama, the life of a 40-year-old kindergarten teacher, Lucas, is upended after the young daughter of his best friend falsely accuses him of sexual impropriety. A strength of the film is that almost no one is treated wholly unsympathetically, particularly the child at the heart of the storm, for whom both the film and Lucas retain sympathy. The “wrong man” storyline is universal, for all have that secret fear, but it takes on a new meaning when those throwing stones feel just as betrayed. The great and painful irony is that the community prides itself on believing and listening to children, but adults often dismiss this child when she tries to clarify the truth. By then, they can only hear the yammering of their darkest imaginings. 2012 Cannes Film Festival: Best Actor, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. (Denmark, 2012) Director: Thomas Vinterberg. Danish, English, and Polish languages. 115 min REVIEW

Gloria – November 13-16

Gloria is a formerly wed, 50-ish office worker in Santiago who laughs easily, wails along to the sappy love songs on her car radio. The trouble is, most people—including her adult son and daughter—are either too busy or don't bother to notice that there is a vibrant human being standing before them who aches for intimate contact. Promise and possibility appear in the guise of Rodolfo, a well-into-middle-aged man she meets at a club. Gloria, keenly observed, plays like a short story; there is no sweeping narrative arc, no momentous triumph or calamity. Rather, this is a quiet, understated, expertly acted and thoroughly satisfying moviegoing experience. 2013 Berlin International Film Festival: Best Actress. (Chile, 2013) Director: Sebastián Lelio. Spanish and English languages. 110 min REVIEW

Wadjda – December 4-7

This is the story of Wadjda, a schoolgirl in Riyadh who enters a contest in the hope of winning money to buy a bicycle. Just as Wadjda must find workarounds against the oppression she endures in Saudi Arabia, the film’s writer/director, Haifaa Al-Mansour, did the same as she reportedly had to direct some of the scenes by telephone due to the country’s restriction on women interacting with men in public. Al-Mansour has an eye for cruel irony as in Wadjda’s entry into the Koran recitation contest—memorizing the very instrument of her oppression in order to buy something it forbids to her. 2012 Venice Film Festival: Best Film. (Saudi Arabia/Germany, 2012) Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour. Arabic language. 98 min REVIEW

Gabrielle – January 22-25

Gabrielle is a young woman with Williams syndrome, a genetic condition that is characterized by life-threatening cardiovascular disease and developmental delays, but often is accompanied by striking verbal abilities, affinity for music, and a joy for life. Since Gabrielle met her boyfriend, Martin, at the recreation center where they are choir members, they have been inseparable. However, because they are "different," their families are fearful of their relationship. Gabrielle is a sweet love story and tale of finding one’s self-confidence through independence. The honesty of the film is refreshing as it allows the audience to inhabit the mindset and joie de vivre of its radiant character as she blossoms. 2014 Genie Awards: Best Motion Picture, Best Actress. (Canada, 2013) Director: Louise Archambault. French, English languages. 104 min REVIEW

Two Lives – February 5-8

Europe 1990, the Berlin wall has just crumbled. Katrine, raised in East Germany, now living in Norway for 20 years, is a war child, the result of a love relationship between a Norwegian woman and a German occupation soldier during World War II. When a lawyer asks her and her mother (Liv Ullman) to serve as witnesses in a trial against the Norwegian state on behalf of the war children, a web of concealment and secrets is unveiled that threatens to destroy everything Katrine holds dear. Her precarious situation is slowly revealed in parallel with the issues of identity and acceptance that plagued Germany in its reunification; her struggle between duty and desire, though presented as an intimate family story, reflects the state of the fractured country trying to reform. 2012 Biberach Film Festival: Best Film. (Germany/Norway, 2012) Directors: Georg Maas and Judith Kaufmann. German, Norwegian, English, Russian, Danish languages. 97 min REVIEW

Le Week-end – February 19-22

This is a very witty and insightful comedy/drama about the challenges of a long-lived marriage.  A British couple in their sixties, Meg and Nick return to Paris many years after their honeymoon there in an attempt to revive their marriage which is in dire need of rejuvenation. Not far beneath their paper-thin brave faces they find one another infuriating. They have reached the point at which, to paraphrase the poet Philip Larkin, it becomes increasingly “more difficult to find words at once true and kind.” There are plenty of ways we can identify with these characters as they deal with high expectations, power plays, bad habits, the same old recriminations, and sexual issues. 2013 British Independent Film Awards: Best Actress. (UK, 2013) Director: Roger Michell. English language. 93 min REVIEW

Like Father, Like Son – March 5-8

Ryota is a workaholic architect who has always believed that when it comes to success in life what matters most is nature, not nurture. Then one day, Ryota and his wife get an unexpected phone call from the hospital explaining that their 6-year-old son, Keita, is not 'their' son—the hospital gave them the wrong baby. Seeing his wife’s devotion to Keita even after learning his origin, and communicating with the rough lower-class yet caring family that has raised his biological son for the last six years, Ryota starts to question his beliefs and the way he has raised Keita. This film is not about what makes a child truly one’s child but what makes a parent. 2013 Asia-Pacific Film Festival: Best Film, Best Director. (Japan, 2013) Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda. Japanese language. 121 min REVIEW

Land Ho! – March 19-22

This is a bawdy road-trip comedy as well as a candid exploration of aging, loneliness, and friendship. Feeling disenchanted with life after retirement, Mitch, a brassy former surgeon, convinces his mild-mannered ex-brother-in-law, Colin, to holiday with him in Iceland. The pair set off through Reykjavik ice bars, trendy spas, and adventurous restaurants in an attempt to reclaim their youth, but they quickly discover that you can’t escape yourself, no matter how far you travel. Iceland's vast and haunting landscapes—moss-coated cliffs, fog-shrouded mountains, geothermal pools, and otherworldly Northern Lights—form a primordial Eden and the perfect backdrop for Mitch and Colin's adventures. (Iceland, 2014) Directors: Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens. English language. 95 min REVIEW

The Great Beauty – April 9-12

Arguably one of the most striking evocations of a city ever filmed, The Great Beauty is a vibrant and breathtaking cinematic feast for the senses that captures Rome in a style reminiscent and in celebration of the great Fellini. The film’s central character is journalist Jep Gambardell, who has been a permanent fixture in the city's literary and social circles. On his sixty-fifth birthday Jep finds himself unexpectedly taking stock of his life. Jep is flooded with memories of the past and ponders the promise of what may remain. He turns his cutting wit on himself and his contemporaries, and looks past the extravagant nightclubs, parties, and cafés to find Rome in all its glory: a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty. 2014 USA Academy Awards: Best Foreign Language Film. (Italy, 2013) Director: Paolo Sorrentino.  Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese languages. 142 min REVIEW

The Lunchbox (Dabba) – May 7-10

A solitary widower with a standoffish demeanor, Saajan is a Scrooge-like character contemplating retirement. On the other side of town, Ila decides to start preparing extra-special lunches for her cold and emotionally distant spouse at work, hoping it might kick-start his interest. However, the lunch couriers make a mistake, and rather than delivering to her hubby, the lunchbox goes to Saajan. So starts an unlikely communication via lunchbox notes between Saajan and Ila. The film relates a Hindi saying: Sometimes even a wrong train can get you to the right destination. Indeed. It seems true for both the film’s protagonists and its viewers, as this wholesome treat follows an uncharted path, steers clear of the clichés, and has us arrive at an uncertain yet pleasantly satisfying journey’s end. 2013 Asia-Pacific Film Festival: Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, Outstanding Achievement. (India, 2013) Director: Ritesh Batra. Hindi, English languages. 104 min REVIEW

900 Wood Road · P.O. Box 2000 · Kenosha, WI 53141-2000 P 262-595-2345

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