The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Asian Festival Brings Bollywood to ND

Tessa DeMers | Thursday, March 1, 2012

Showcasing the creativity of contemporary Asian filmmaking, Notre Dame’s annual Asian Film Festival will bring four contemporary Indian films to Browning Cinema at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC) this weekend.

Even if you’ve never seen any Asian cinema, this is a wonderful opportunity to see a few critically acclaimed films.

Brian McLaughlin, a visiting professor in the Department of Film, Television and Theatre, is a loyal advocate of the film festival and believes that film is a wonderful and easily accessible window into the complexities of different cultures around the world.

“The world is so connected — culturally, economically and politically — that a thorough understanding of international cultures is vital to personal and professional success,” McLaughlin said.

“Students from every field of study will gain global exposure from these films that will add to their intellectual growth and better connect them to the rest of the world.”

This year, Ted Barron, the senior associate director of DPAC, made the decision to bring the series of Indian films to the screen.

“For seven years, we’ve focused on East Asia: Chinese, Japanese and Korean films. This year there was a lot of excitement for featuring ‘Bollywood’ films,” says Sharon Schierling, associate director of the Kellogg Institute.

McLaughlin believes this to be a “natural progression.” He also believes it necessary to realize how big of an impact Indian filmmaking has on the world.

“India produces about twice as many films as Hollywood every year and has a greater worldwide audience,” McLaughlin said. “Their cultural impact is huge and is something Americans should understand.”

More incentive to focus on India this year comes from growing interest in India among the Notre Dame community.

“This is not surprising given that India’s economic and political role in the world is attracting greater attention,” said Jonathan Noble, director of the Center for Asian Studies.

“The films selected all reflect important contemporary issues in India. We hope that the film festival will encourage greater intellectual engagement with issues related to India within a comparative and global context.”

These films showcase stories that have captured audiences all over the world, and now they are being made available to the Notre Dame community.

There is an assorted selection of films to be showcased, and no matter your story or your background, there’s sure to be a film in the festival that creates a connection with the audience.

“We think we’ve selected a lineup that will appeal to diverse audiences,” Schierling sayid.

McLaughlin recognizes the intrinsic value in these wonderful experiences offered by the Browning Cinema.

“The benefit is not only a couple hours of enjoyment, but also a deeper appreciation of the craft of moviemaking and of film tradition,” McLaughlin said.

The films that make up the festival encompass a thriller, a drama, a coming of age film and even a Bollywood musical.

“No One Killed Jessica” (2011)

Friday, March 2, 6:30 p.m.

This is a non-fiction thriller about the murder of supermodel Jessica Lall, and the subsequent search for her killer by a reporter and the victim’s sister.

Despite the fact that the murder happened in a populated area surrounded by 300 witnesses, they all claim to have seen nothing. These two women take on the masses to find justice.

“Mumbai Diaries” (2010)

Friday, March 2, 9:30 p.m.

This film shows the intersection of the lives of four people: a painter, an aspiring actor (currently a washer), a journalist and a banker turned photographer. The film follows the progression of their relationships and shows how their lives are changed by the presence of one another. Will it be for better or for worse?

“Udaan” (2010)

Saturday, March 3, 3:00 p.m.

This is the heartwarming coming of age story of a hard working boy, recently out of boarding school, who has a hard time choosing between following his dreams or doing what his parents wish him to do.

Sound familiar?

If you’re struggling with this question, perhaps this film will give you some insight on what to do.

“3 Idiots” (2009)

Saturday, March 3, 8:00 p.m.

This film tells the story of the reunion of three best friends who were engineers in college together at the equivalent of an Ivy League school and their subsequent recollections and flashbacks of their collegiate antics and a long-forgotten bet. They go in search for another friend, and discover a few secrets along the way.

For more information or to get tickets, visit http://performingarts.nd.edu or call 574-631-2800.

For trailers for the films to be showcased, visit http://kellogg.nd.edu/asianfilm.

Contact Tessa DeMers at