Modern Foreign Languages
Film Series
Fall 2006


September 29: Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) - France

This is a wonderful adaptation of the French masterpiece by Edmond Rostand, strikingly performed and beautifully filmed.  This romantic tragedy is set in early-mid 17th century France during the reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XIV: the same time period as Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers. Cyrano de Bergerac (Gerard Depardieu) is a musketeer in the regiment of Gascogne. Cyrano possesses all of the noble qualities the human spirit could be endowed with: courage, strength, prowess, sensibility, a great mind and wit. Despite all of these great qualities, Cyrano's main weakness is his own distorted self-perception regarding his oversized nose. Madly in love with Roxanne, but being too afraid of the rejection his nose might bring, Cyrano's loses his courage every time he is approached by her. Cyrano's frustrated love soon finds a window when Roxanne tells him about her love for a new cadet in his regiment: Christian De Neuvillette, a young and handsome musketeer. As much as Cyrano fears the effect of his oversized nose, Christian fears strong-minded women like Roxanne due to his unfortunate lack of wit. So, Cyrano becomes Christian's mind, voice and pen, while Christian becomes Cyrano's missing looks. Everything about this production works marvelously, and it's by far the best Cyrano on screen.  (Introduced by Professor Lúcia Flórido)


October 20: Der Untergang (Downfall) (2004) - Germany

The riveting subject of Downfall is nothing less than the disintegration of Adolf Hitler in mind, body, and soul. A 2005 Academy Award nominee for best foreign language film, this German historical drama stars Bruno Ganz as Hitler, whose psychic meltdown is depicted in sobering detail, suggesting a fallen, pathetic dictator on the verge on insanity, resorting to suicide (along with Eva Braun and Joseph and Magda Goebbels) as his Nazi empire burns amidst chaos in the spring of1945. While staging most of the film in the claustrophobic bunker where Hitler spent his final days, director Oliver Hirschbiegel (Das Experiment) dares to show the human side of der Fuehrer, as opposed to the pure embodiment of evil so familiar from many other Nazi-era dramas. However, this balanced portrayal does not inspire sympathy. We simply see the complexity of Hitler's character in the greater context of his inevitable downfall, and a more realistic (and therefore more horrifying) biographical portrait of madness on both epic and intimate scales.  (Introduced by Professor Charles Hammond)


November 17: Flores de otro mundo (Flowers from Another World) (1999) - Spain

In the dreary Spanish town of Santa Eulalia, some local males arrange for a visit of some single women who are interested in meeting them. The men’s goals are marriage, the survival of the town, and an end to their loneliness. Three of them—a shy farmer, a wealthy middle-aged builder, and a horticulturalist—begin relationships with three of the women: Patricia, a mother from the Dominican Republic working illegally in Spain; Marirrosi, a nurse from the Basque Country; and Milady, a young Cuban recently arrived from Havana. The contrast between the small town, practical-minded men and their exotic women (the “flowers from another world”) leads to problems seen in many other marriages; yet the relationships also raise issues of injustice, racism, cultural conflict and immigration. Based on a true story, Flores de otro mundo is a poignant comedy-drama co-written by the director, Icíar Bollaín, and the novelist Julio Llamazares. Adult language and situations. (Introduced by Professor Daniel Nappo)


December 1: Grave of the Fireflies (1988) - Japan

Isao Takahata's powerful antiwar film has been praised by critics wherever it has been screened around the world. When their mother is killed in the firebombing of Tokyo near the end of World War II, teenage Seita and his little sister Setsuko are left on their own; their father is away, serving in the Imperial Navy. The two children initially stay with an aunt, but she has little affection for them and resents the time and money they require. The two children set up housekeeping in a cave by a stream, but their meager resources are quickly exhausted, and Seita is reduced to stealing to feed his sister. The strength of Grave of the Fireflies lies in Takahata's evenhanded portrayal of the characters. The sympathetic doctor, the greedy aunt and the disinterested cousins all know there is little they can do for Seita and Setsuko. Their resources—like those of their country—are already overtaxed, and anything they spare endangers their own survival. No mention is made of Japan's role in the war as an aggressor, but the depiction of the needless suffering endured by its victims transcends national and ideological boundaries.  (Introduced by Ms. Kyoko Hammond, Instructor of Japanese)


**OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC**             **FREE ADMISSION**
**ALL SHOWINGS AT 7:00 pm on THE UT-MARTIN CAMPUS IN THE WATKINS AUDITORIUM, UC**

**ALL FILMS IN ORIGINAL FOREIGN LANGUAGE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES**

THE MFL FOREIGN FILM SERIES IS FUNDED BY THE SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES & FINE ARTS AND
THE STUDENT ACTIVITIES COUNCIL