International Film Series

Spring 2015

January 17, 2015


MY FUHRER, dir. Levy, 2007, Germany

Wednesday, April 1, 6:30pm, CLO 110

Presented by PUC German Instructor, Anna Pajak

 “Maybe German writer-director Dani Levy (Go for Zucker) figured that, by turning the Teutonic tyrant into a comic caricature, we might somehow get closer to understanding the cosmic why behind the Third Reich. Whatever the reasons, this farce about a Jewish actor (The Lives of Others’ Mühe) who’s forced to coach the Führer (Schneider) for one last speech doesn’t deal in absolutes. It merely takes a long-verboten subject and serves the nightmare as a source for belittling humor, something that’s still no small feat.”

                                                                                                                       -David Fear, Time Out New York

THE LIVES OF OTHERS, dir. Henckel-Donnersmarck, 2006, Germany

Wednesday, March 25, 6:30pm, CLO110

Presented by PUC German Instructor, Anna Pajak

 ” ‘The Lives of Others’… is a magnificent tribute to the human soul…’The Lives of Others’ is that rare thing: a best foreign language Oscar-winner that fully deserves its prize…Where Wolfgang Becker’s Goodbye, Lenin! (2003) played the recent past for sardonic laughs, here the dominant mood is one of tragedy. The only people who do not suffer from the Stasi’s [the Former East German]surveillance network – around 200,000 agents and informers in a population of only 16 million – are those who sanction the suffering from the top rungs of the party leadership… Beautifully acted, and making equal demands on our intelligence and on our hearts, it is a significant act of historical reckoning.It demands that we do not forget the dystopias tolerated under the guise of creating utopias…Whether in the people who live under brutal regimes, or even in those who have hitherto helped to perpetuate them, there is always the potential for tiny acts of rebellion, a resistance whose consequences may be mighty. “

                                                                                                            –David Gritten, The Telegraph



GOODBYE LENIN, dir. Becker, 2004, Germany

Wednesday, March 18, 6:30pm, CLO 110

Presented by PUC German Instructor, Anna Pajak

 “East Berlin, 1989. In the final days before the fall of the Berlin Wall, there are riots against the regime. A loyal communist named Christiane (Katrin Sass) sees her son, Alex (Daniel Bruhl), beaten by the police on television, suffers an attack of some sort and lapses into a coma. During the months she is unconscious, the wall falls, Germany is reunified and the world as she knew it disappears. When she miraculously regains consciousness, the doctors advise, as doctors always do in the movies, ‘the slightest shock could kill her.’.. What to do? After her husband abandoned her (for another woman, she told her children), the German Democratic Republic became her life. To learn that it has failed ignominiously would surely kill her, and so Alex decides to create a fictional world for her in which Eric Honecker is still in office, consumer shortages are still the rule and the state television still sings the praises of the regime.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                          -Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

THE EDUKATORS, dir. Weingartner, 2004, Germany

Wednesday, March 4, 6:30pm, CLO 110

Presented by  PUC German Instructor, Anna Pajak

, G”This…talky, suspenseful, and remarkably provocative movie plonks us down with a trio of young Berliners who strenuously want to change the world. They’re not exactly sure how to go about it, though, so they engage in mildly socialist pranks designed to unsettle the bourgeoisie. Before Hans Weingartner’s film ends, they’ve become much more unsettled than their targets…the movie turns into a deceptively bucolic showdown between sold-out ’60s radicalism and its antiglobalist children…There’s an evenhanded humanism flowing through  ‘The Edukators’ that may strike doctrinaire viewers on either side of the divide as mushy, but it’s tough enough for the rest of us to chew on for a long time.”

                                                                                                                                                                                — Ty Burr, The Boston Globe


BIRDMAN, dir. Inarritu, 2014, USA

Wednesday, February 25, 6:30pm, CLO 110

“’Birdman’is a tour de force, a heady mix of dark comedy and psychic meltdown with energy vibrating from every frame. Writer/director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“Babel”), star Michael Keaton (in a bravura performance) and a terrific supporting cast deliver a movie unlike anything we’ve seen before… there’s no arguing with the jaw-dropping creativity on display — technical, dramatic and thespian…’Birdman’ is so breathlessly inventive that it takes a while for us to realize that it’s more an intellectual experience than an emotional one.”

                                              — Robert W. Butler, The Kansas City Star


IDA, dir. Pawlikowski, 2014, Poland

Wednesday,  February 18,  6:30pm, CLO 110

” This haunting Polish film… has been nominated for a foreign-language Oscar and for its exquisite, boxy, black-and-white cinematography. Ida is an art film in the finest sense of the term — it is austere technique counterbalanced by emotions that bleed. Director and co-writer Paweł Pawlikowski sets his tale in 1962, when convent-raised Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska), 18, is about to take her final vows. That’s when she learns she has an aunt, Wanda (Agneta Kulesza), a boozy, chain-smoking judge known for her hard line against enemies of Communism. Wanda is Jewish, as is Anna. It was Wanda who abandoned her niece, born Ida Lebenstein, and participated in the judicial terrors of the time. It takes a scant 80 minutes for Pawlikowski to let his story of saint and sinner unfold on the faces of his two remarkable actresses. No spoilers here, only my advice to ….let yourself be enveloped by a modern cinema classic.”
                                                                                        — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone



SUBWAY, dir. Besson, 1985, France

Monday, February 9, 6:30pm, Porter 108

“Safecracker Lambert hides in the Parisian Métro from a wealthy businessman’s wife (Adjani), with whom he has fallen in love; from her husband’s thugs; and from the Métro police. He becomes part of a strange netherworld of eccentric social misfits, all living outside the law. Setting the movie in this unfamiliar but realistic world is intriguing enough, and Besson handles the action with consummate mastery… Adjani once again proves herself not only one of the most versatile actresses in European cinema, but also the most beautiful.”

                                                                               –Geoff Andrew, Time Out London


MONSIEUR LAZHAR, dir. Labardeau, 2012, France

Wednesday, February 11, 6:30pm, CLO110

 “In Montreal, an elementary school teacher dies abruptly. Having learned of the incident in the newspaper, Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag), a 55-year-old Algerian immigrant, goes to the school to offer his services as a substitute teacher. Quickly hired to replace the deceased, he finds himself in an establishment in crisis, while going through his own personal tragedy. The cultural gap between Bachir and his class is made immediately apparent when he gives them a dictation exercise that is beyond their reach. Little by little, Bachir learns to better know this group of shaken but endearing kids…While the class goes through the healing process, nobody in the school is aware of Bachir’s painful past.”
                                                                                                       –Rotten Tomatoes




BOYHOOD, dir. Linklater, 2014, USA

Wednesday, February 4, 6:30pm, CLO 110

“Filmed over 12 consecutive years, ‘Boyhood’ centers on Mason (Ellar Coltrane), who’s 6 when the story opens and 18 when it ends… The realism is jolting, and so brilliantly realized and understated that it would be easy to overlook. In ‘Boyhood,’ Mr. Linklater’s inspired idea of showing the very thing that most movies either ignore or awkwardly elide — the passage of time — is its impressive, headline-making conceit… What emerged from those dozen years is a series of meticulously textured and structured scenes set to the rhythm of life.”
–Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

read more ... Spring 2015

Club Cinema, presented by the French Club at PUC

October 30, 2014

MODERN LIFE (La Vie Moderne)

Raymond Depardon, France, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 6:30pm, CLO110

“This poised and poignant latest from filmmaker Raymond Depardon is the (possible) final chapter in a trio of documentaries about the demise of tradition in the French countryside. Not the sexiest of topics, for sure, but one which draws fascinating and subtle insight from individuals whose cherished way of life is slipping away…The director traverses the twisted hillside passes of the Cévennes region of southern France, reconvenes with various farmworkers he’s ‘earned the trust of’ over the years and casually chats to them about their lives..He simply and sensitively asks questions…Depardon’s palpable sense of respect for his subjects lends the film a geniality that would otherwise have been hard to fabricate.”

–David Jenkins, Time Out London



Nicolas Philibert, France, 2003

Tuesday, November 18, 6:30pm, CLO110

“Director Nicolas Philibert lets his camera become a silent student in the classroom…the film is entirely made up of impromptu moments with the students. The children — about a dozen of them, ranging from preschoolers to preteens — occasionally seem distracted, smiling toothily at the camera. But for the most part, they’re natural and charming, intent on their teacher’s face, puzzling through the process of learning…  Each scene is about more than it seems on the surface; you wonder what these children will remember from those days — not the camera, but the moment when the multiplication table made sense, or the day Monsieur Lopez taught them to flip a perfect crepe.”

–Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times



Agnes Varda, France, 2001

Tuesday, November 11, 7:00pm, CLO110

“The ‘gleaners’ in the title are all manner of folk who gather up castoffs, oddments, and curios from dumps and harvests, and Varda explicitly links them to the gatherers in paintings by Millet and Jules Breton… Varda is open to the surprise of the dailiness that surrounds her; every story, every whim takes her down another byway…For her, life is an accumulation of possibilities. ‘A clock without hands is my kind of thing,’ she tells us…and indeed it is. There’s a timelessness, an immanence to what she shows us… Using a digital video camera, Varda films her present-day gleaners in urban and rural France as they forage and lollygag…her ostensible subject is an excuse for a larger one: how improvisation and art are inextricably linked.”

– Peter Rainer, New York Magazine 



Laurent Cantet, France, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 6:30pm, CLO110

“Laurent Cantet’s film won the Gold Palm at Cannes, and the French best picture Lumiere Award…The Class, an Oscar-nominated French film about a Paris middle school, should be required viewing for anybody considering a career in teaching. The problems seen here — class time wasted on discipline; parents in denial; frustrated teachers — seem endemic and universal. Any hope of ‘inspiring’ those one or two children a year who let you see the light flash on contrasts with the sobering reality of how frustrating the work can be…The genius of the film is its focus on the classroom and the teacher’s lounge.”

–Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel


read more ... Club Cinema, presented by the French Club at PUC

Club Cinema, presented by PUC’s Spanish Club

September 25, 2014


Marcel Rasquin, Venezuela, 2010

Thursday, October 30, 6:30pm, CLO110

 “The heartfelt first feature from the Venezuelan filmmaker Marcel Rasquin, follows two soccer-playing boys whose striking talents offer escape from the slums of Caracas… this confident movie, alternately volatile and tender, coats its clichés in winningly natural performances and Enrique Aular’s kinetic photography. Game sequences hurtle forward in breathless bursts of motion, and scenes between the boys and their loving single mother…are handled with warm authenticity.”

–Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times



Benito Zambrano, Spain, 2005

Thursday, October 23, 6:30pm, CLO110

“Understanding that the energy and passion of Cuba is shown best through its music, [Benito Zambrano] has created a format to show the new Cuban music scene – an energetic mix of samba, salsa and blues…Through the personal story of struggling musicians Ruy and Tito, the difficult issues of emigration, family, separating and the different responsibilites of men and women are explored. Zambrano has painted a fresh picture of the real Cuba, one that is often easily stereotyped. A touching story with almost two hours of great music – Cuba libre!! 

–Patricia Ritz,



Gary Alazraki, Mexico, 2013

Thursday, October 16, 6:30pm, CLO110

 “Class-clash comedy, Nosotros los Nobles [We Are The Nobles], riffs on the cunning scheme of a Mexico  City millionaire who strips his kids of all their luxuries by staging a fake police raid, forcing them to drive buses, wait cantina tables and other humiliations conducive to heartwarming life lessons… directly inspired by Luis Buñuel’s 1949 comedy El Gran Calavera (The Great Madcap), which also features a modern-day Croesus reassessing his life.”

– Phil Hoad, The Guardian



Juan Jose Campanella, Argentina, 2009

Wednesday, October 8, 6:30pm, CLO110

“Juan José Campanella’s mesmerizing thriller…”The Secret in Their Eyes”,  which won the Academy Award for best foreign-language film earlier (2010)… keeps us wondering, switching back and forth from flashbacks to present, filtering its story through a character’s eyes. The crime haunting Esposito is a brutal 1974 rape and murder…Everyone’s eyes have secrets in this story; you’ll watch them closely, barely daring to blink… the filmmaking is so skilled.”

–Moira Macdonad, Seattle Times



Alberto Rodriguez, Spain, 2012

Thursday, October 2, 6:30pm. CLO110

“Finally. An action film that’s more about the characters than the chase … even though the chase is damn good. Lensed by cinematographer Alex Catalán (who received the Tribeca Special Jury Mention for his work), there’s not one shake in this smooth action-cam as it thrillingly follows the ethically challenged police force of Unit 7… An insightful tale about a character’s dance to the dark side is timeless. Beautifully shot, well-acted, with a fascinating story that blends action and character together in a deft duet.”

–Kimberly Gadette,


read more ... Club Cinema, presented by PUC's Spanish Club

Four From ’14

August 24, 2014


Rithy Panh, Cambodia, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 6:30pm, CLO110

“Part memoir and part documentary, the Oscar-nominated “The Missing Picture” engages with the past, not by confronting it, but by backing away. In doing so, it presents a view of history that is as devastatingly personal as it is profound. In 1975, when the Cambodian-born, French-educated filmmaker Rithy Panh was 13, he and his family were deported from their home in Phnom Penh to labor camps by the Communist Khmer Rouge, who had just taken over the country. “The Missing Picture” is based on his memories of the deprivation and death that followed. Combining archival footage with new scenes using crudely hand-carved, hand-painted clay figurines, Panh tells the story in a manner that feels simultaneously detached and uncomfortably intimate…It’s frankly amazing how much poignancy he is able to wring out of simple models.”

– Michael O’Sullivan, The Washington Post




Jonathan Glazer, UK, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 6:30pm, CLO110

“In Under the Skin, a deeply creepy and mysterious noir from filmmaker Jonathan Glazer, Scarlett Johansson is this quite literal femme fatale, robotic, hypnotic, trolling Scotland – cities, villages, the cold rocky shores – for prey. Who she is and where she’s from are questions that get answered, to a degree, as she moves through her nights and days… Under the Skin definitely gets under your skin. If you want spooky, allegory-free sci-fi, the film works that way – an alien among us, trying to come to terms with this odd new context, and with her increasingly empathic urges. (The more she lingers, and commingles, the less sure she is of her own being.).”
–Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer



read more ... Four From '14