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Cynthia Thompson

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This Year



UIS hosts fall Independent and Foreign Film Series

September 17, 2003

SPRINGFIELD - The Office of Student Life at the University of Illinois at Springfield is hosting the Fall 2003 Independent and Foreign Film Series, on Friday evenings (except October 17) now through November 14. All films are free and open to the public and are shown at 7 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium, lower level of Brookens Library, on the UIS campus.

Upcoming films are:
September 19. A Mighty Wind is the latest "mockumentary" from the creators of the 1984 classic Here's Spinal Tap. This time writer/director Christopher Guest focuses on a group of aging folk singers who reunite for a tribute show. The film features impressive musical numbers and "achingly funny" performances by Guest; Michael McKean; Catherine O'Hara; Harry Shearer; Parker Posey; Fred Willard; and Eugene Levy, who co-wrote the script. (USA, 2003, 92 minutes.)

September 26. Farewell My Concubine tells a complex tale of passion and political intrigue set against war and upheaval in 20th century China. The story follows the relationship between two male opera stars in old Beijing whose deep and long-standing friendship becomes threatened by a young prostitute. Concubine received top honors at the Cannes Film Festival. (China, 1993, 157 minutes. Chinese with English subtitles.)

October 3. Unknown Pleasures moves to the present-day with a look at the coming of age of China's "birth control generation." Unemployed and restless, best friends Xiao Ji and Bin Bin are caught in their country's widening gap between rich and poor. Desperate to escape their bleak existence, the two young men set off on a half-baked plan to rob a bank. Although the film is an examination of disillusioned youth, director Jia Zhang-ke nevertheless manages to find a good deal of humor in the friends' situation. (France/Japan/South Korea, 2002, 113 minutes. Mandarin with English subtitles.)

October 10. Songs from the Second Floor presents Roy Andersson's surreal look at a bleak post-modern world inhabited by puffy, unhealthy-looking characters who suffer perpetual bad luck as they wander aimlessly through daily routines that often end in injury, drunkenness, or death. Songs from the Second Floor has been hailed as a "compelling" film that confronts the viewer's own ideas and attitudes about self and the social order. (Sweden, 99 minutes.)

There is no film on Friday, October 17; however on Thursday, October 23, The Lost Film Series presents an often-overlooked perspective by challenging the biased views expressed by corporate-owned news and profit-driven Hollywood. Short selections ranging from engaging documentaries to powerful narratives and absurd comedies deal with timely issues such as globalization, foreign policy, censorship, racism, and homophobia.

October 24. Garage Days tells the story of an Australian garage band whose members are willing to do just about anything to make it to the top, or at least to get on stage. A comic chain of events involving blackmail and brute force shows the band that real life can sometimes be just as exciting as the rock-star life they've been dreaming of. Directed by Alex Proyas (Dark City, The Crow). (Australia, 2002, 105 minutes.)

October 31. A ghost story for Halloween, The Devil's Backbone is a brooding tale of an orphanage haunted by the spirit of a boy killed during the Spanish Civil War. As the ghost makes contact with a new arrival, the truth behind the boy's death comes to light. This film by director Guillermo del Toro (Chronos and Mimic) has been called "subtly disturbing" and "creepy." (Mexico/Spain, 2001, 110 minutes. Spanish with English subtitles.)

November 7. Winged Migration is an extraordinary documentary about the flight of birds that has fascinated and amazed viewers, even those not especially interested in the subject. Producer/director Jacques Perrin and his crew spent four years filming and assembling footage and the end result is "a real knockout" that presents countless species of birds in flight from a vantage point that seems to be only inches away. (France, 85 minutes.)

November 14. Life is Beautiful, Roberto Benigni's celebrated film, blends a sentimental and humorous portrait of family life with the horrors of the Holocaust. When an Italian family is sent to a concentration camp, the father tries to spare his young son by convincing him it's all an elaborate game. The film received Academy Awards for Best Actor (Benigni) and Best Foreign Language Film. (Italy, 118 minutes, Italian with English subtitles.)

Student Life is also hosting a Children's Film Series this fall. Free and open to the public, all films will be shown Sundays at 3 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium. Films are The Wizard of Oz (September 21), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (October 12), and E.T. (November 16).

For more information, contact Student Life at 206-6665.