Ashland University Foreign Language Department to Host Spanish Language Film Festival

Ashland University Foreign Language Department to Host Spanish Language Film Festival

8/20/14 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s Foreign Language Department has received a grant to host a Spanish Language Film Festival on the AU campus during the month of September. The Spanish films with English subtitles will be held Sept. 4, 10, 15, 23 and 29 at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

The festival, which is titled “Celebrating the New Wave of Ibero American Cinema,” is made possible by a grant from Pragda and its Spanish Film Club, as well as support from The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Spain, and SPAIN arts & culture.

The festival is held in collaboration with AU departments of Foreign Language, English, History and Political Science, Global Education, The Center for Nonviolence, AU Core, Philosophy Club and Phi Sigma Iota.

The first film, titled “Post Mortem,” will be presented Thursday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium. Filmmaker Pablo Larraín first broke onto the international film scene when Tony Manero premiered at the Cannes Directors´ Fortnight. This Chilean director has now followed up with visceral Post Mortem. Mario Cornejo is going about his daily business of writing autopsy reports at the military hospital in Santiago, when the Pinochet coup d´état shakes this heretofore apolitical character out of his state of apathy. This passionately executed film by Larraín has met with brilliant reviews, competing at the Venice Film Festival and nabbing second place at the Havana Film Festival´s Coral Awards. Post Mortem is neither a reconstruction of the Pinochet days, nor an angry denunciation of the period. Instead, Larraín offers a borderline-surreal –Lynchian–black comedy to show, among other things, how easy it is for ordinary people to sleepwalk into a climate of atrocity, either as victims, collaborators, or as both. As in his first film, Larraín invests his characters with metaphoric undertones, suffusing the city of Santiago with a surreal visual texture that evokes the nightmarish landscape it was rapidly becoming.

The second film, titled “Even the Rain,” (También la Lluvia) will be held Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m. in Ronk Lecture Hall in the Schar College of Education. Filmmaker Sebastián (Gael García Bernal) and his cynical producer Costa (Luis Tosar) arrive in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to make a film about Columbus’s voyage to the New World and the subjugation of the indigenous population. Just as filming begins, the natives face a crisis when the government privatizes the water company and prices skyrocket. Daily protests erupt and the local man cast as a rebellious sixteenth century Taino chief, also becomes a leader in the water hike protests. Spanish submission for the 2012 Best Foreign-Language Academy Award.

“The Return” (El Regreso) by filmmaker Hernán Jiménez is the third film and will be held Monday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium. “The Return” is the story of a delightful and life-changing journey back to Costa Rica. After living 10 years in New York, 30 year-old Antonio returns to San José where he is forced to deal with the realities he ran away from. He is welcomed by his intense sister, Amanda--whose husband recently abandoned her--and their young son Inti--who is apprehensive about Antonio’s presence. When things take an unexpected turn, Antonio is forced to remain home far longer than he had anticipated.

The fourth film, titled “Who Is Dayani Cristal?,” (¿Quién es Dayani Cristal?) will be held Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. in the 2014 Ronk Lecture Hall in the Schar College of Education. Deep in the sun-blistered Sonora desert beneath a cicada tree, Arizona border police discover a decomposing male body. Lifting a tattered T-shirt they expose a tattoo that reads “Dayani Cristal.” Who is this person? What brought him here? How did he die? And who—or what—is Dayani Cristal? Following a team of dedicated forensic anthropologists from the Pima County Morgue in Arizona, director Marc Silver seeks to answer these questions and give this anonymous man an identity. As the forensic investigation unfolds, Mexican actor and activist Gael Garcia Bernal retraces this man’s steps along the migrant trail in Central America. In an effort to understand what it must have felt like to make this final journey, he embeds himself among migrant travelers on their own mission to cross the border. He experiences first-hand the dangers they face and learns of their motivations, hopes and fears. As we travel north, these voices from the other side of the border wall give us a rare insight into the human stories, which are so often ignored in the immigration debate. Winner of the Sundance 2013 Cinematography award and nominated in the World Documentary Competition, “Who Is Dayani Cristal?” shows how one life becomes testimony to the tragic results of the U.S. war on immigration.

The fifth and final film, titled “Chinese Take-Away” (Un Cuento Chino) will be held Monday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium. Argentina's national treasure, Ricardo Darín, plays Roberto, a gruff, anti-social loner who lords over his tiny hardware shop in Buenos Aires with a meticulous sense of control and routine, barely allowing for the slightest of customer foibles. After a chance encounter with Jun, a Chinese man who has arrived in Argentina looking for his only living relative, Roberto takes him in. Their unusual cohabitation helps Roberto bring an end to his loneliness, but not without revealing to the impassive Jun that destiny's intersections are many and they can even divulge the film's surreal opening sequence: a brindled cow falling from the sky.

Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###