Film series: Contemporary World Cinema
Cornell Cinema regularly premieres award-winning international films that otherwise wouldn’t screen in Ithaca, and this Fall’s selection, with films from Argentina, Finland, Germany, Mexico, Nigeria, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, UK (Scotland), features nine theatrical premieres (Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson’s About Endlessness was offered virtually by Cinemapolis, but to fully appreciate it, it’s got to be seen on the big screen!). Andersson describes the film as “a collection of short, short poems about existence,” and you can learn more about the filmmaker and the making of the film by watching Being a Human Person, a portrait of Andersson and his process, showing in conjunction with About Endlessness.
Other films from northern Europe include Zaida Bergroth’s Tove, a biopic that explores the unconventional life of bisexual Swedish-speaking Finnish visual artist & author Tove Jansson (1914 – 2001), widely known for her beloved books and comic strip featuring the Moomins. In European folklore, Undines are water nymphs that can live as humans if they fall in love with a man but must kill that man if he is deceitful. Preeminent German filmmaker Christian Petzold’s latest film, Undine, uses the tale as inspiration to create a Hitchcockian and fantastical romance. Limbo, another fish out of water story, by British director Ben Sharrock, is set on a remote Scottish island, where a group of refugees await word on their asylum claims. Both poignant and wry, the film focuses on a young Syrian musician and the surreal quality of his liminal life.
Much further south, two residents of Lagos, Nigeria, dream of starting new lives in Europe, but the harsh economic realities of their everyday existence present obstacles that are all too familiar. An extraordinary debut feature from twin brothers Arie and Chuko Esiri, Eyimofe (This is My Desire), is “teeming with raw, unbridled energy…offer[ing] a sumptuous, keen-eyed look at modern Lagosian life.” (Variety)
Argentinian director Matías Piñeiro’s latest post-modern spin on Shakespeare, Isabella, and Alexis Gambis’ Son of Monarchs, about a Mexican biologist living in New York who returns to his hometown in the majestic monarch butterfly forests of Michoacán, are both being shown as part of the Latin American/Caribbean Mini-Fest.
Prolific South Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo, known for his improvisational style, creates another breezy, minimal realist piece with The Woman Who Ran, which the New York Times called “Elegant, dryly funny and quietly moving.”
Finally, French director Oliver Laxe’s Fire Will Come, set in his ancestral home of Galicia, a remote region of Spain, screens as part of Spain: Inside/Out, and was shot on 16mm film stock, as were Tove and Eyimofe, adding a depth and richness to the cinematography that is palpaple. Enjoy!