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Nanovic Institute presents European films

Becca Saunders | Wednesday, March 2, 2005

As South Bend winter continues into March, Notre Dame students will not need to look far to find an entertaining and culturally expanding activity. In fact, one only needs to look as far as the Browning Cinema in the DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts to discover a world of cinema waiting to be viewed.The Browning Cinema shows films of various genres throughout the year, but many of the Thursday night slots of this semester are dedicated to showing films that are part of the 2004-2005 Nanovic Institute series of contemporary film called “European Cinemas, European Histories.” Prior to their 7 p.m. showings, the films are generally introduced by a different person with some sort of relationship to the subject of the film or to the film itself. Shown as part of ND Cinema, the films of various languages and genres provide a glimpse into the world beyond snowy South Bend and the United States.Two films that were part of the “European Cinemas, European Histories” have already come and gone. The French “L’Auberge espagnole” (2002) and the Irish “Bloody Sunday” (2002) were shown earlier this semester, but the majority of the program has yet to be shown.The next film will be shown Thursday at 7 and 10 p.m. The Spanish film is called “La Mala educacion/Bad Education” (2004) and was directed by Pedro Almodovar. The 7 p.m. showing will be introduced by Professor Marvin D’Lugo from Clark University. The plot of the movie revolves around two boys, Ignacio and Enrique, in the early 1960s. According to the International Movie Database Web Site synopsis, they “discover love, movies and fear in a Christian school. Father Manolo, the school principal and literature teacher, both witnesses and takes part in these discoveries.” The film continues based around the same three men as they again cross each other’s paths in the late 1970s and in 1980, changing “the life and death of some of them.” A promising film from a world renowned director, “La Mala educacion/Bad Education” is a must-see film according to many film critics. “Rosenstrasse” (Germany 2003) is the next film showing in the Nanovic Institute series on March 17 at 7 and 10 p.m. Directed by Margarethe von Trotta, “Rosenstrasse” will be introduced by Nathan Stoltzfus from Florida State University at the 7 p.m. showing. In a review of “Rosenstrasse,” Jeremy Fox of pajiba.com describes early 1943 Berlin, when “the German government seized thousands of Berlin Jews who previously had been allowed their freedom because they were married to Gentiles. The Nazis held them in the former office of the Authority for the Welfare of the Jewish Community at 2-4 Rosenstrasse, planning to deport them to concentration camps. Their families began to assemble in the street in front of the building, more each day, and after months of peaceful but increasingly verbal protest, those held inside were set free.” The story is based around the story of protestor Lena Fischer and is primarily told through her flashbacks to the successful protesting of 1943.On March 31 the Nanovic Institute will be showing “Captains of April” (Portugal 2000) which was directed by Maria de Medeiros. Robert Fishman from the department of sociology will introduce the 7 p.m. screening. The Nanovic Institute Web site explains that the film “isn’t a documentary about the 1974 revolution in Portugal. But it gives us and idea of how it was like. The heroic actions of Captain Salgueiro Maja aren’t exaggerations and the film is also a tribute for his deeds.” The final film of the Nanovic Institute film series will show on April 7. “Soldiers of Salamina” (Spain 2003) was directed by David Trueba and is a story of a young novelist in Spain. The Nanovic Institute Web site summarizes the plot about the young novelist “who has lost her inspiration” and thus “investigates a true story from the end of the Civil War involving the infamous writer and ideological fascist, Rafael Sanchez Mazas. She discovers that he escaped from mass execution with the help of an anonymous young solider. The novelist gradually pieces together this story, riddled with contradictions and enigmatic characters. Unwittingly, as her search progresses, it is not only about finding the truth that she is after, but finding herself as well.” “European Cinemas, European Histories” constitutes quite a lineup for this spring and offers a handful of quality films from around the world that have gained notice and acclaim. The Nanovic Institute series of contemporary foreign films will provide a unique form of entertainment for any student willing to commit a Thursday night to broadening his or her cinematic horizons.