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Festival promotes diversity through foreign films

| Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Cinema from all over the world came to Saint Mary’s on Monday at its annual World Cinema Festival.

The Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) puts on the festival, which screens an international film each night of the festival’s run. The World Cinema continues through Thursday.

“It’s just another one of our initiatives for internationalization on campus, bringing the world to Saint Mary’s and to the community,” Mana Derakhshani, director of CWIL, said. “We have people from the South Bend community who come.”

CWIL hosts the festival because it furthers their mission, Julie Storme, World Cinema Festival organizer and associate director of CWIL, said.

“That’s what CWIL is about,” Storme said. “It’s about intercultural women’s leadership, so it’s very much in the spirit of our office.”

The process for selecting the four films involves taking into account several factors of both the production and subject matter of the film, Storme said.

“We try to look for fairly recent films by women directors and/or a film focused on an issue of particular interest to women,” she said. “We don’t always find four films that fit into the category because we also try to distribute them in different regions around the world, and we try to vary them each year.”

In selecting Monday’s film, “Nora’s Will”, Storme said she decided she wanted to include a Mexican film because the festival had never featured one before.

“I was committed to getting a Mexican film this year,” Storme said.

“Nora’s Will” is not only a Mexican film, but also touches on themes that are not traditionally thought of, Storme said. 

“It’s just a great film by a woman director,” Storme said. “It also is focused on a Jewish family in Mexico, and most people do not think about Jewish traditions in Mexico so that seemed like a good way to expand people’s horizons.”

Tuesday’s film, “Hannah Arendt,”was chosen because the director, Margarethe Von Trotta, has visited Saint Mary’s in the past, Storme said.

“[Trotta] was here last year, so we thought it would be appropriate to show one of her films,” Storme said. “It’s a very powerful film, about both a very important woman thinker.”

The films to be screened on Wednesday and Thursday are “Desert Flower” and “Wolf Totem,” respectively.

“[Students should go] to learn how life is different in other places, to learn about what the world thinks about things and issues that they might not know about,” Storme said. “Also at a women’s college, to appreciate the contribution that women have made to cinema in the world.”

Storme said the World Cinema Festival allows for a widening of cultural knowledge.

“We live in a world where we come in increasing contact with one another, [and] I feel it is our responsibility to know about the world,” Storme said.

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About Jordan Cockrum

Jordan Cockrum is a junior at Saint Mary's studying Communications and Humanistic Studies.

Contact Jordan