Foreign Film Series
The Foreign Film Series provides the Cedarville community an opportunity to view interesting and challenging films from around the world. The series allows viewers to peer into often unfamiliar cultures through the eyes of the cultures themselves.
Tuesday, January 31, 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. BTS 104
Eighteen-year-old Shira (Hada Yaron) is the youngest daughter of the family and is about to be married off to a very promising young man of the same age. On Purim, her twenty-eight-year-old sister, Esther (Renana Raz), dies during childbirth, leaving her husband to care for the child and postponing Shira’s promised match. When the girls’ mother finds out that Yochay may leave the country with her only grandchild, she proposes a match between Shira and the widower, which leaves Shira to choose between her heart’s wish and her family’s wish to keep the child with them.
Director: Rama Burshtein
Performers: Hadas Yaron, Yiftach Klein, Irit Sheleg
Burshtein creates a one-of-a-kind portrait that nonetheless transcends its setting, and even its worldview; the dynamics are global.
John Anderson, Newsday
Burshtein has achieved a gripping film without victims or villains, an ambiguous tragedy drawing on universal themes of love and loss, self-sacrifice and self-preservation.
Peter Keough, Boston Globe
[Burshtein’s] subject is a woman’s right to choose her spouse, and what a weighty, giddy, confusing, clarifying and, ultimately, sacred choice that is.
Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer
A sympathetic, layered portrayal, rich with detail, that earns its more complex and resonant conclusion.
Nell Minow, Chicago Sun-Times
“Fill the Void,” a compelling and skillfully made domestic drama, is a rarity, a film that’s both set within, and emerges from, a devoutly religious world.
Walter V. Addiego, Hearst Newspapers
Both accessible and thrilling.
A.O. Scott, New York Times
A love poem to the ultra-Orthodox world as seen from within.
Ella Taylor, NPR
[A] serious ethical inquiry into matters of women’s choice, both imposed and seized upon. Check it out.
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out
A rare and illuminating glimpse of contemporary Hasidic life against the backdrop of ritual, Purim, marriage, and death.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
An intelligent and moving examination of the possibilities of personal freedom within the strict confines of religion and tradition.
Mark Kermode, Observer
Its last five minutes are so extraordinarily enigmatic, you’re certain the subject of innocence, guilt and attraction has been addressed on a deep level.
Antonia Quirke, Financial Times
In the end, it’s hard to determine whether Burshtein is celebrating or critiquing the insularity and strict traditions of the community that she herself joined in her 20s — but presumably that’s part of the point.
Hannah McGill, The List
Thursday, February 16, 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. BTS 104
From the Academy Award-winning director of “A Separation” comes this mesmerizing thriller about a young woman’s mysterious disappearance. With the return of their close friend Ahmad from Germany, a group of old college friends decides to reunite for a weekend outing by the Caspian Sea. The fun starts right away as they catch on to the plan of Sepideh, who has brought along Elly, her daughter’s kindergarten teacher, in hopes of setting her up with recently divorced Ahmad. But seemingly trivial lies, which start accumulating from the moment the group arrives at the seashore, come back to haunt them when one afternoon Elly suddenly vanishes. Her disappearance sets in motion a series of deceptions and revelations that threaten to shatter everything they hold dear.
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Performers: Golshifteh Farahani, Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti
“About Elly” is a stunning surprise package, profound in utterly unexpected ways.
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
It’s an incisive portrait of a particular society, but it should resonate everywhere.
Walter Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle
Always, murmuring just beneath the surface, there’s a political undercurrent to Farhadi’s films, a gentle whisper of a critique aimed at the weight of Iran’s combined cultural and political intransigence.
Tsirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Inquirer
[A] suspenseful domestic intrigue deeply rooted in traditional Iranian mores and social codes.
J.RS. Jones, Chicago Reader
A fascinating discovery from a filmmaker whose sensitivity to the most confounding motivations is equaled only by his compassion for those who succumb to them.
Ann Hornaday, Washington
“About Elly” is an exploration of human nature and how sometimes, without intending to, we hurt the ones we love most — including ourselves.
Rsene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
A thriller perched right on the fault line between modern thinking and Islamic tradition.
Bob Mondello, NPR
This is clearly the work of a master in the making, an artist on the cusp of greatness. Farhadi may be fixated on fibbers, but there’s almost no one working today who makes films so emotionally honest.
A.A. Dowd, AV Club
You begin to wonder to what extent the film is a critique of an entire society in which the disparity between tradition and modernity is irreconcilable.
Stephen Holden, New York Times
This superb, suspenseful film … opens as a playful comedy of vacationing couples and awkward romance, one that might be set in the French countryside, but by the end has become a moral drama likely to corrode your certainties.
Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
Thursday, March 16, 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. BTS 104
When Kyuta, a young orphan living on the streets of Shibuya, stumbles into a fantastic world of beasts, he’s taken in by Kumatetsu, a gruff, rough-around-the-edges warrior beast who’s been searching for the perfect apprentice. Despite their constant bickering, Kyuta and Kumatetsu begin training together and slowly form a bond as surrogate father and son. But when a deep darkness threatens to throw the human and beast worlds into chaos, the strong bond between this unlikely pair will be put to the ultimate test — a final showdown that will only be won if the two can finally work together using all of their combined strength and courage.
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
“The Boy and the Beast” is surprisingly funny, incredibly poignant and boasts some great lessons: Everybody’s got darkness to control, and family is what you make, not what you’re born into.
Tara Thorne, The Coast
A brilliant, funny morality tale that examines the transformative effects of martial-arts training.
Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Inquirer
“The Boy and the Beast” confirms Mamoru Hosoda’s reputation as one of the most interesting writer–directors working in Japanese animation.
Charles Solomon, Los Angeles Times
The scenes of luminance, slow pans, flashbacks, and action sequences here are masterly. Yet it’s that deep, rancorous affection between adoptive father and surrogate son spurring, charging, stampeding “The Boy and the Beast” along.
Brian Gibson, Vue Weekly
There are images as gorgeous as paintings, including rain-soaked streets and reflections in glass that are seldom even attempted in hand-drawn animation, and even less frequently managed so well.
Chris Knight, National Post
A glorious fantasy.
Jordi Costa, El Pais
A different kind of anime, mature despite its layer of apparent infantilization (in both its visuals and plot).
Quim Casas, Sensacine
The whole thing displays that combination of visual flair and wildly inventive storytelling that distinguishes Japanese animation from the rest of the field.
Sandra Hall, Sydney Morning Herald
“The Boy and the Beast” is one of the best films I have ever seen; animated or otherwise. Mamoru Hosoda has created something truly magical and powerfully significant.
Chris Sawin, Examiner.com
That is the sign of a great storyteller — when they work, not in surprises, but in giving you exactly what you didn’t know you wanted.
Adam Charles, Film School Rejects