The Division of Student Affairs at the University of Illinois at Springfield is sponsoring an Independent and Foreign Film Series on Friday nights this spring. All films will begin at 7 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium, located on level one of Brookens Library on the UIS campus. Admission is free and the public is welcome to attend.
January 26 – Fast Food Nation (USA 2006) Though not a documentary, this "complex and compelling" movie examines the American fast food phenomenon and the toll it takes on the humans who produce it and the animals who are, literally, its raw materials. While critical opinion was divided, most agreed that director Richard Linklater created a bold work that takes on the fast-food industry, corporate malfeasance, animal rights, workplace safety, and the plight of immigrant workers, among other things. Cast members include Greg Kinnear, Bruce Willis, and Ethan Hawke. Rated R.
February 2 – Cache (France, 2005) Georges, the host of a TV literary review, begins to receive mysterious packages containing videos of himself with his family – shot secretly from the street – and drawings that are obscure yet alarming. While the sender remains anonymous, the tapes gradually become more personal, suggesting that he or she may have known Georges for some time. Though the situation is distinctly menacing, since no direct threat has been made, the police refuse to help. Rated R.
February 9 – The Science of Sleep (France, 2006) After the death of his father, shy, insecure Stéphane moves to Paris to be closer to his mother. He finds a boring job and falls in love with a charming neighbor. But winning the young woman isn't easy, and the only solution Stéphane can find to help him through his difficulties is to escape into a dream world. Rated R.
February 16 – Bad Education (Spain, 2004) Enrique, a young film director, is visited by a mysterious man who claims to be his old school friend Ignacio. The stranger hands Enrique a screenplay he's written based on their boyhood experiences and offers it to him as his next film. The only thing "Ignacio" asks in return is to play the lead. Enrique agrees, only to become obsessed with discovering the stranger's real identity. Rated R.
February 23 – A Scanner Darkly (USA, 2006) In a not-too-distant future, Los Angeles undercover narcotics agent Bob Arctor is leading a double life. While he continues reporting to his superiors, he has also effectively abandoned his normal existence for life as a user and dealer of "D," a dangerous and ultra-addictive drug. This adaptation of the novel by Philip K. Dick stars Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., and Winona Ryder. Rated R.
March 2 – After Life (Japan, 1998) At a way-station between Heaven and Earth, celestial guides have less than a week to help the newly dead sift through their memories for one defining moment to take with them. The story centers on the grudging respect that develops between Watanabe, an undistinguished old man coming to terms with his uneventful life, and Mochizuki, the young guide assigned to help him. This film is not rated.
March 9 – Swades (India, 2004) Set in modern India, this film tells the story of Mohan, a bright young project manager for NASA, who returns to India on a quest to find his childhood nanny. The contrast between the high tech world of NASA and the developing world Mohan finds in India becomes symbolic of the journey taken by everyone who goes in search of that "metaphysical and elusive place called '‘home.'" This film is not rated.
March 16 – Hawaii, Oslo (Norway, 2004) An odd assortment of people cross paths during the hottest day of the year in Oslo, Norway. Frode and Milla are expectant parents of a baby doctors say will not live long. Bobbie-Pop is a faded singer who tries to commit suicide. Leon, an institutionalized kleptomaniac, is looking for Asa, whom he has been engaged to marry for 10 years. Vidar, Leon's best friend, can see things no one else can see, and may be able to save everyone except himself. This film is not rated.
March 30 – Iraq in Fragments (England, 2006) Filmmaker James Longley made this "graceful, intelligent, and perceptive" documentary between 2002 and 2005. As Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish Iraqis speak of a world pulled apart, the chaos they describe is counter-pointed by Longley's calm, almost poetic cinematography. Iraq in Fragments has been hailed as "the least violent yet perhaps most disquieting" of all the documentaries to come out of the war. This film is not rated.
April 6 – Vodka Lemon (Armenia, 2003) In this comedy/romance set in a remote village in Armenia, a truck stop sells nothing but vodka, the locals long for the good old days of the USSR, the snow is as deep as the villagers' problems, and a lonely widower finds love while visiting his wife's grave. This film is not rated.
April 13 – Capote (USA, 2005) The film covers the years author Truman Capote spent researching the story that became the basis for his book In Cold Blood, and his relationship with Perry Smith and Dick Hickok, two convicted murderers who were the subject of the book. Phillip Seymour Hoffman won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Capote. Rated R.
April 20 – Wordplay (USA, 2006) This smart and funny documentary focuses on the man whose name is, to many, synonymous with crossword puzzles -- New York Times puzzle editor/NPR puzzle master Will Shortz. The film treats viewers to a trip to the 28th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, where Shortz has godlike status, and introduces some of his brilliant, often hilarious contributors as well as a few famous crossword addicts, including Bill Clinton and Jon Stewart. (Sponsored by UIS' Brookens Library in conjunction with National Library Week.) Rated PG.
For more information about any of these films, contact the UIS Office of Student Life at 206-6665.