Home Campus More than a movie: How International Cinema nights break down barriers

More than a movie: How International Cinema nights break down barriers

International Cinema nights give students the rare opportunity to delight in carefully curated films from around the world. Friday, Oct. 7, students watched Grave of the Fireflies in the Jacob Spori building.

“I went into the movie expecting it to be sad, but that did not prepare me for the emotional rollercoaster that is Grave of the Fireflies,” said Zyan Gonzalez, a senior studying communication. “I think I’ll need a few weeks to recover fully.”

When students take their seats in Spori 035, they are preparing for an experience that, as attendees have claimed in the past, may very well change their whole worldview.

The films are selected to facilitate analytical thinking and encourage audiences to reconsider their notions about other cultures.

Before the film begins, students are presented with context and things they may want to look for during their viewing. The real fun begins after the credits roll when the room is filled with conversations about the film.

“I love to hear the reactions,” said Michael Cornick, who has been on the film selection committee since 2013. “It is a very visual medium, but it’s also a very aural experience for the audience. You hear them laughing, you hear them crying, people cheering and people scared or troubled. In the end, the lights come on and people have shed tears or they’re thinking. They’re in silence or everybody’s in discussion mode about it. I think that’s my favorite part of it; hearing what they went through, and then hearing them say they want to come back.”

There can be a bit of hesitation when it comes to seeing international films because they may be unfamiliar to people, and some are afraid they won’t be able to understand. This tends to be due to the language barrier or subject matter.

“The storylines are much more pure, much more universal than people realize,” Cornick said. “It really doesn’t matter the culture, the time period or the language. You’re actually going to connect with these people and it almost always changes people’s opinions.”

Image from Nosferatu, a German film.
Image from Nosferatu, a German film. Photo credit: Amberleigh Broker

The next film will be Nosferatu, a German silent film made in 1922. It is the perfect way to ease into international cinema and get into the Halloween spirit, as it is based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Another one of the upcoming films this semester, Ballad of a Soldier, makes an appearance on Cornick’s personal favorite film list he shares with his students.

“You can’t wait for these gems to come to you,” Cornick said. “You have to go find them.”

For more information on times and upcoming films, you can refer to this list.

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