Through a much sought-after grant, the Scranton community will have the opportunity to enjoy five Spanish-language films during the 2012-2013 academic year.
Pragda, an independent cultural initiative, selected The University of Scranton from a highly competitive pool of institutions vying to be a film location site. All films in this Spanish Film Club series, which is free and open to the public, are recent and will be shown with English subtitles at 7 p.m. in the Pearn Auditorium of Brennan Hall.
The theme for the fall semester lineup relates to issues of human rights and social justice.
“The Cinema Hold Up” (2011), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, is acclaimed as a vibrant, authentic and wonderfully observed portrait of the tempo and texture of today’s Mexican youth culture. The film follows four teenage friends in a gritty Mexico City neighborhood. With no direction, the four eventually concoct a plan to rob the local multiplex. The film uses mostly non-professional actors. This original comedy moves at a deliberate pace to allow the audience to get inside the daily rhythms of the subjects and their community. The feature film-directing debut of Iria Gómez Concheiro, “The Cinema Hold Up” will be screened on Thursday, Sept. 20.
On the subject of issues relating to this film, this year’s book for incoming University of Scranton students is “Tattoos on the Heart.” The author, Greg Boyle, S.J., runs Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, Calif., that helps young people move out of gangs into a more productive life. He will speak on campus Monday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m.
“Post Mortem” (2010) takes place in the midst of the 1973 Pinochet coup in Santiago, Chile, and chronicles an apolitical 55-year-old named Mario who writes autopsy reports at the local military hospital. He is shaken out of his state of apathy when the brother and father of Nancy, a neighbor about whom he fantasizes, are arrested by the Allende regime. The film follows Mario as he searches for Nancy through a surreal Santiago and gives witness to how easy it is for ordinary people to sleepwalk into a climate of atrocity. “Post Mortem,” directed by Pablo Larraín, is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 15.
During the spring semester, the Spanish Film Club series continues with a focus on the impact of food and water on issues of sustainability, economics and class struggle.
“From the Land to Your Table” (2009) is a documentary that captures the conditions and cultural diversity of produce markets throughout Iberoamérica. Presented in Spanish, Portuguese, Galician and Aymara, the film is the work of directors from seven countries – Alejo Hoijman (Argentina), Marcos Loayza (Bolivia), Josué Méndez (Peru), Carolina Navas Gutiérrez (Colombia), Paola Vieira (Brazil), Alejandra Szeplaki (Venezuela) and Jorge Coira (Spain). Each segment retains its own unique style and tone, leading the viewer through diverse economic systems and life stories. “From the Land to Your Table” will be shown on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013.
“Even the Rain” (2010), a film within a film, was nominated as Spain’s entry for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. A Spanish film crew come to Bolivia to make a revisionist epic about the 16th century conquest of Latin America. When riots break out in Cochabamba, protesting excessive fees for water, film production is interrupted and the convictions of the crew members are challenged. The film explores the effects of Spanish imperialism, which still resonates in the continued struggle against oppression by indigenous people. “Even the Rain,” directed by Icíar Bollaín, is scheduled for Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
“I Travel Because I Have To” (2009) is a first-person travelogue of José Renato, a 35-year-old geologist, who is on a field trip to an isolated region of Brazil to assess possible routes for a water canal from the region’s only voluminous river. For many inhabitants, the canal will be a lifeline, the chance for a future and a source of hope. However, for those living on the canal’s direct course, it means only requisitions, departure and loss. Although the film never shows José, it provides a photographic record of the landscapes through which he travels and the people he encounters. “I Travel Because I Have To,” directed by Karim Aïnouz and Marcelo Gomes, will be screened on Thursday, April 25, 2013.
The Spanish Film Club series was made possible with the support of Pragda, the Secretary of State for Culture of Spain, and its Program for Cultural Cooperation with United States’ Universities. The Spanish Film Club series is cosponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Education for Justice Office at The University of Scranton. For more information, contact Linda Ledford Miller, Ph.D., professor can chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures, at (570) 941-6160 or Linda.firstname.lastname@example.org.