Programmed by Shanice Casimiro
Regardless of the integral role immigrants and refugees play in shaping our global society, they have time and again been the victims of xenophobia and political scapegoating. This series presents the nuanced experiences of a few of these brave individuals as they traverse foreign lands for a chance at better, safer, freer lives. Through artistic exploration of the characters' personal histories one can appreciate why immigration is crucial and should be embraced. Films screened include Ousmane Sembéne's Black Girl, Andrew Ahn's Spa Night, and Gregory Nava's El Norte.
This series is supported by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Center for East Asian Studies, and the France Chicago Center
(Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974) · Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is both an homage to Douglas Sirk's classic melodrama, All That Heaven Allows, and a uniquely stirring sociopolitical commentary on West Germany. Ali is a Moroccan migrant worker who begins a passionate relationship with Emmi, an elderly German widow, much to the disgust of neighbors, friends, and family. Fassbinder does not shy away from portraying the ugly side of German society, and even cast himself as Emmi's xenophobic son.
runtime: 94m format: 35mm
(Philippe Falardeau, 2011) · Bashir Lazhar, a native of Algeria, steps in as a substitute at a Montreal elementary school after tragedy befalls the staff. His students at first are reluctant to accept his strict teaching style but learn to embrace his contagious enthusiasm. Monsieur Lazhar, a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards, is a lesson in cultural exchange and coping with grief, and exposes the bureaucracy that immigrants and refugees face.
runtime: 94m format: 35mm
(Jan Troell, 1972) · In Jan Troell's monumental sequel to The Emigrants, Karl-Oskar (Max von Sydow), his wife Kristina (Liv Ullman), and their friends and family attempt to build a new life from scratch in the open wilderness of Minnesota, amidst the bloody Dakota War of 1862. Before long feelings of isolation, nostalgia for Sweden, and seductive rumors of the California Gold Rush creep in and threaten to tear the family apart.
runtime: 205m format: Bluray
(Ousmane Sembène, 1966) · Sembène delivers one of the most compelling studies of post-colonialism in this seminal work. After the initial luster of living in France and working as a governess wears off, Diouana realizes her French employers envision a much more servile role for her than they had promised. Their abusive demands and racism propel her into fatal despair. Black Girl will be preceded by Sembène's debut, ""Borom Sarret,"" a portrait of a cart driver's marginalization.
runtime: 85m format: DCP
(Gregory Nava, 1983) · Siblings Rosa and Enrique escape civil war-torn Guatemala and embark on an arduous journey towards "el Norte," an idealized United States, "where all the people, even the poor, have their own cars." Though they may have expected ethnic discrimination and lack of opportunities in Mexico and Guatemala, they are hit with a reality shock when they reach their destination and find that they again are "just a pair of strong arms."
runtime: 141m format: 35mm
(Andrea Segre, 2011) · Chioggia, a small Italian fishing village, is the backdrop for this moving tale of an unlikely friendship between a Chinese bartender named Shun Li (Zhao Tao) and a Slavic fisherman and amateur poet named Bepi (Rade Šerbedžija). Through Qu Yuan's poetry, they discover a shared history of hardship, endurance, and hope. Segre's Italy is far from glamorous: it is one in economic decline, mired in prejudice, and slow to accept its growing immigrant population.
runtime: 102m format: 35mm
(Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, 2007) · Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical saga from her foundational experiences in Iran during the Islamic Revolution and Iran-Iraq War to her coming-of-age in the Austrian punk scene and ultimate attempt at self-discovery in France. The film's simple black-and-white illustrations allow its important themes—of staying true to oneself, never forgetting where one came from, and speaking up against injustice—to stand at the forefront of the story.
runtime: 96m format: 35mm
(Cherien Dabis, 2009) · A Palestinian mother and son win a green card lottery to move to the United States, where they eventually settle in with family in an Illinois suburb. Their otherwise joyous arrival is marred by negativity once they realize that many Americans are not willing to welcome Arabs of any faith in a post-9/11 world. But the mother's unshakable determination to provide a better life for her son allows her to find comedy and optimism in all situations.
runtime: 97m format: 35mm
(Jacques Audiard, 2015) · Winner of the Palme d'Or, Dheepan follows a Tamil Tiger soldier and two refugees as they pretend to be a family unit to flee devastated Sri Lanka and secure political asylum in France. Upon arrival, they are placed as caretakers in an immigrant housing project unexpectedly engulfed in extreme violence. Featuring exceptional lead performances, Dheepan is a thrilling, heart-rending work by one of France's most celebrated modern filmmakers.
runtime: 115m format: DCP
(Andrew Ahn, 2016) · David Cho (Joe Seo, in a remarkable breakthrough performance) is an introverted, closeted Korean-American teenager, who finds solace and intrigue in an L.A. spa. Developed in the Sundance Institute's Screenwriting Lab, Andrew Ahn's debut feature explores the complexities of cultural identity in first-generation Americans, queer sexual awakening, and disillusionment with the American Dream, culminating in a truly heart-breaking final scene.
runtime: 93m format: DCP