Bowdoin’s third annual World Cinema Festival showcased not only innovative and artistic films from around the world, but offered a platform for professors to foster analytical discussions about culture and films. 

The countries represented in this year’s festival include Russia, Germany, Cuba, Mauritania and China. Participating Bowdoin professors chose films to which viewers from both Bowdoin and the Brunswick community could relate.

Each night, the professor who was presenting would introduce the film with contextual information. Once the film was over, the floor was then opened to questions and discussion.
Organized by Visiting Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies Sarah Childress, the festival consisted of five films from a variety of cultures and continents. One film was shown each night in the Beam Classroom of the Visual Arts Center. 

The festival originated as a Spanish and Latin American film festival, but after its first year, Childress decided to expand the festival to be more inclusive and representative of cultures from around the world.

Childress explained that while she cannot choose a favorite, she is most excited for the films “Suite Habana” and “The Assassin.”

The Oscar nominated film “Suite Habana” only uses sound and images to follow the lives of 10 ordinary Cubans during their day-to-day activities. “The Assassin” chronicles the mission of a seventh century Chinese assassin to kill a politician. 

“I have to say I’m really excited about ‘The Assassin’ because Hou Hsiao-hsien hasn’t had a film out in a while and I really admire him. He makes gorgeous films,” she said.

On Monday night, Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian Lindsay Ceballos presented “The Fool (Durak).” Wilder Nicholson ’16 attended the screening and explained that the film’s impact stayed with him for days afterward. 

“It was a great opportunity to get a little insight into a world that I had never seen before,” said Nicholson.

On Tuesday night, Associate Professor of German Birgit Tautz presented “Unveiled (Fremde Haut).”

The film follows a woman who flees to Germany from Iran because her sexual orientation is rejected.Along her journey, she is put into a holding room in the airport because her passport is invalid. While in the holding room, she befriends another refugee whose application goes through. To her unfortunate advantage, this man commits suicide, and so the woman assumes the man’s identity to get into Germany.

“The film was of course made to cast in a very problematic light the intersection between national identity or ethnic identity, political refugees and sexual and gender identity,” said Tautz. “Now, 10 years after it was originally released, it develops a new currency and becomes very topical again.”

Tautz received a grant from the German Embassy to show the film. Each year, the embassy has a particular theme and gives grants for programming. This year, the theme was 25 years of German unity. 

Tautz explained that in the past years of the festival, the departments had chosen to screen more popular, blockbuster films. This year, however, the professors involved decided to choose films that pertain more to the classes they are teaching.

“I’m teaching a first year seminar on German women filmmakers, so I wanted to select a film made by a woman,” she said.

The festival concludes tonight with Hou Hsiao-hsien’s “The Assassin,” which is still in theaters.