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SMC Cinema Festival brings global perspective

Taylor Couillard-Rodak | Sunday, February 19, 2012

The World Cinema Festival at Saint Mary’s College will morph culture and cinema into five nights of intercultural communication this week.

Mana Derakhshani, associate director of the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL), said there is a focus on internationalization on campus.

 Cinema is one of the ways that we get to learn about other cultures and the world,” she said.

The festival consists of five nights of award-winning films shown at 7 p.m. in Vander Vennet Theater.

The week kicks off today with a showing of “Monsoon Wedding.” According to a College press release, the movie, directed by Mira Nair, is a story highlighting modern Indian culture with an emphasis on female rights. It focuses on the events surrounding an arranged marriage.

Derakhshani said the main character must make a tough choice between following tradition and following her heart.

“It is very much about the changing society and different generations,” she said. “It weighs tradition against the expectations of the young people of India.”

“In the Mood for Love,” will be shown Tuesday.

Set in Hong Kong and directed by Kar Wai Wong, “In the Mood for Love” is the story of a married man and married woman who move into neighboring apartments and bond over suspicion of their respective spouses’ affairs, according to the press release.

Derakhshani said she recommends this film to anyone interested in East Asian culture.

On Wednesday night, the festival will feature “Biutiful.” Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, it tells the story of a man who can see his own death and makes choices accordingly.

Derakhshani said “Biutiful” is the most graphic film of the festival.

“It is a dose of reality and one of the darkest films,” she said. “It will be one of the hardest films to watch.”

“Copie Conforme” will show on Thursday. Directed by Abbas Kiarostami, an Iranian director, this film is set in Italy and tells the story of a British writer who encounters a French woman and the adventures they have together.

Derakhshani said it is the most diverse film of the festival.

“It brings together several different cultures,” she said. “There is variety with the director and within the cast that brings the film to life.”

“Of Gods and Men” will close the week on Friday. The film, directed by Xavier Beauvois, follows a brotherhood of Trappist monks during the Algerian Civil War. It chronicles the months leading up to their martyrdom.

Derakhshani said it is a good film to show people the reality of a region that is not commonly known.

“This is a part of the world where the relationship between the Middle East and Europe is very tense, and [it is] an area that we tend not to be aware of,” Derakhshani said.

Derakhshani said students, especially those unfamiliar with foreign films, should be aware that these films differ from the films of Hollywood.

“In general, American cinema likes very neat, tied-up endings,” she said. “All the threads of the stories are tied beautifully. Foreign films are sometimes just a slice of life. There is no plot or, if there is, it does not get resolved. It is about that particular perspective — that window into life. They have a lesson or a message.”