Passport to Global Cinema: Contemporary International Films

Date Film Time
4/26 Nairobi Half Life 7:00 PM
5/1 Present Tense 7:00 PM
5/17 Sharqiya 7:00 PM
6/7 Pieta 7:00 PM

Join us for an ongoing series of screenings showcasing some of the best new films from around the world. This yearlong film series is part of Northwestern’s Global Languages Initiative, which was created to emphasize the need for global fluency in the 21st century, to celebrate linguistic diversity, and to promote cultural literacy.

We kick off the series this spring with the brand new film Nairobi Half Life, about a young man who leaves his rural village to pursue his dreams of becoming an actor in the Kenyan capital. Also screening is Present Tense about a young divorcée in Istanbul who longs to leave her unfulfilling life in Turkey behind and start anew in the U.S. In May we’ll present Sharqiya, an Israeli film about a young Bedouin man that highlights the struggles of a community on the margins. Finally, we end the series with Pieta, the latest film from Korean provocateur Kim Ki-duk about a loan shark’s henchman and the mysterious woman who appears one day claiming to be his mother.

Co-presented with the Global Languages Initiative, Northwestern University.

Special support provided by 

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Nairobi Half Life

Friday, April 26, 2013 7:00 PM
(David ‘Tosh’ Gitonga, 2012, Kenya/Germany, video, 96 min)

The directorial debut of Kenyan filmmaker Gitonga, Nairobi Half Life follows Mwas, a young man who leaves his rural village to pursue his dreams of becoming an actor in Nairobi. There he is robbed, jailed, and falls in with a gang of criminals. Mwas, still set on an acting career, must find a way to balance these two worlds. Part of an initiative to train promising young filmmakers, and co-produced by German director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run), Gitonga’s film is an impressive combination of drama and comedy and features a stunning—and award winning—performance by Joseph Wairimu as the driven Mwas.

IN PERSON: David ‘Tosh’ Gitonga

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Present Tense

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 7:00 PM
(Belmin Söylemez, 2012, Turkey, video, 110 min)

Mina is a young divorcée who longs to leave her unfulfilling life in Turkey behind and start anew in the U.S. In need of money and a visa, and unable to find something better, she bluffs her way into a fortune-telling job at a café and soon develops a following—her insights into other people’s problems are more acute than into her own. Mina’s dreams are unfocused and her hopes of a better future are pinned to her vague and perhaps unrealistic goal. Present Tense is a quiet, restrained film that taps into feelings of uncertainty that crosses all cultural boundaries.

IN PERSON: Writer/director Belmin Söylemez and writer/producer Hasmet Topaloglu

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Sharqiya

Friday, May 17, 2013 7:00 PM
(Ami Livne, 2012, Israel/France/Germany, video, 85 min.)

Like many fringe members of Israeli society, the Bedouins lead a tenuous and uncertain life. Ami Livne’s debut film Sharqiya dramatizes this existence through the story of Kamel, who lives with his brother and sister-in-law in a small “unrecognized” village and works a mundane job as a security guard at a bus station. One day Kamel (who had served in the Israeli military) and his family receive notification that their home is to be demolished. Unable to convince the authorities otherwise, Kamel devises a desperate plan to save their humble lodgings.

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[+Watch Trailer]

Pieta

Friday, June 7, 2013 7:00 PM
(Kim Ki-duk, 2012, South Korea, video, 104 min.)

The latest film by South Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk (The Isle, 3-Iron) is the provocative and disturbing story of a loan shark’s henchman and the mysterious woman who appears one day claiming to be his mother. This new relationship between the two slowly develops—by turns emotionally complex, violent, and shockingly sexual—and begins to take on religious overtones. Kim’s filmmaking frequently combines serious, artistic sensibilities and over-the-top excesses. It’s a film with a raw power that will both trouble and transfix. Winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

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[+Watch Trailer]