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Bob Dylan Sick of Love? Obviously Not

Observer Scene | Monday, April 5, 2004

Associate Press

When the Nanovic Institute introduced its international film series this year, the organizers wanted to make sure students who came to the festival had a chance to understand the important issues behind the films.The films in this year’s festival were chosen to fit the theme of “Women in European Film-Loss, Identity, Belonging.” This has included several dark films such as the French film “Chaos” about an Algerian prostitute in January and the controversial Irish film” The Magdalene Sisters” about Catholic laundries in February. Algerian playwright Alek Baylee Toumi and Irish Studies professor Luke Gibbons were asked to introduce the two films to provide historical context for the issues involved.This Wednesday for the last film of the series the Institute will present “Lilja 4-Ever,” a Swedish film released in 2003 depicting the struggles of Lilja (Okshana Akinshina), a16-year-old girl living in an unidentified ex-Soviet republic. Her mother abandons her in the slums of the city to move to the United States, and she is forced to move into in a squalid apartment with only her abused 11-year-old friend, Volodya (Artiom Bogucharskij), for care or company. As the two begin to starve, Lilja turns to prostitution as a way to support herself. When Swedish businessman Andrei (Panel Ponomaryov) appears and promises to save Lilja from the slums, her situation appears to be improving, but it is only the beginning of the problems she will face.”Lilja 4-Ever” deals with trafficking of women for prostitution, an issue which has become relevant not only in Europe, but in other parts of the world as well. In Europe women are most often transported from poorer Eastern countries to the more prosperous West, often under false pretences as shown in this film.The movie is the sixth release of director Lukas Moodysson, who has dealt with the issue of terrorism in his latest film known in English as “Terrorists: The Kids They Sentenced.” In a discussion with Amnesty International member Becky Hess Moodysson described some of the effects he hoped his film would have on an international level.”…I hope that the film will spread in Eastern Europe and that that will lead to some young women not traveling to the west,” Moodysson said. “I hope that people in the West will open their eyes and realize that this is the flipside of our rich societies, these are the people we’re stepping on, these are the people we’re exploiting to sustain and expand our welfare.”In preparation for the showing the Nanovic Institutes, the Department of Gender Studies and the Center for Human Rights organized a workshop on human trafficking to help students understand how the issue affects the world today.”We reached out and pulled together different groups to work on this projectbecause it’s obviously a global problem,” Daniel Mattern, series organizer, said.The workshop will include talks by European Commission official Telmo Baltazar and Human Rights Watch member Marina Pisklakova. Baltazar spent eight years working for the Task Force for Justice and Home Affairs, and has been the counselor of the EC delegation to the Unites States dealing with terrorism, border control, immigration and trafficking issues since 2003. Pisklakova has been recognized in her native Russia and around the world for her work as a women’s rights activist, and was honored by the Human Rights Watch as one of the eight most significant human rights activists working today.The two-hour workshop will be held at 4 p.m. on Wednesday in room 125 of the Center for Social Concerns. The film will be shown at 7 p.m. in the Carey Auditorium of Hesburgh Library.