Film series: Contemporary World Cinema

Student working on film projector

image from film THREE SUMMERS

image from the film Three Summers

Cornell Cinema regularly premieres award-winning international films from the film festival circuit that otherwise wouldn’t screen in Ithaca, and even during the pandemic, this Spring is no exception, with films from Romania, Spain, Brazil, Bhutan and Canada in this semester's collection.

A family living freely in the marshlands outside Bucharest is forcibly relocated to the city—and urban life—in Acasa, My Home, an intimate documentary which won a Special Jury Award for Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival. Winner of the Found Footage Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, My Mexican Bretzel, by Spanish filmmaker Nuria Gimenez, is an intriguing travelogue comprised of gorgeous home movie footage by a wealthy couple touring the world from the 1940s into the 1960s. Using text from the wife’s diary, the film unfolds as melodrama, as the narration describes a relationship that doesn’t quite match up with the idyllic locales of their frequent vacations.

Brazilian class comedy Three Summers features the ever-impressive Regina Casé (The Second Mother) in the role of a housekeeper for a set of luxury beachside condos who always has her eye out to take advantage of any opportunity that comes her way. When the property owner is arrested as part of a sprawling corruption crackdown, she knows just what to do to keep her income flowing.

Sing Me a Song is an observational documentary that plays like a coming-of-age drama about a young Bhutanese monk whose plans are upended after the introduction of smart phones and the internet to his remote Himalayan village. Tracking the monk’s romance with a bar singer over WeChat, Sing Me a Song “spins a fascinating tale of romantic melancholy played out against the peaceful, meditative backdrop of the Himalayas.” (LA Times)

Finally, Canadian feature Antigone transposes Sophocles’ Greek tragedy to Montreal, where a straight-A student indicts the government that took her brother’s life, sacrificing her own life in the process. A panel organized by Asst Prof Athena Kirk (Classics) & post doc Mathura Umachandran (Classics) will discuss the film and its relationship to Sophocles' play, current and ancient issues surrounding refugees and migrants, and social justice, on Wednesday May 5th from 4:30-6 PM EST. A webinar link will be provided to all those who sign up to view the film.

Ella Haselswerdt, Assistant Professor, Department of Classics, UCLA
Demetra Kasimis, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Chicago
Katherine Lu Hsu, Assistant Professor, Department of Classics, College of the Holy Cross

Related films

image from the film Three Summers

Three Summers


image from the film My Mexican Bretzel

My Mexican Bretzel


image from the film Acasa, My Home

Acasa, My Home


image from the film Antigone



image from the film Sing Me a Song

Sing Me a Song