MoMA and Global Film Initiative Launch New Series for International Films
by Eugene Hernandez
New York's Museum of Modern Art and the Global Film Initiative have announced the formation of a new annual showcase for films from developing countries around the world. Nine films are set to screen during the inaugural Global Lens series, which will debut in November at the MoMA Gramercy theater in Manhattan. In addition, two of the movies will receive one-week runs at the theater.
The inaugural series, set for November 13-30, was unveiled by Mary Lea Bandy, chief curator of MoMA's Department of Film and Media and Susan Weeks Coulter, chairwoman of Global Film Initiative. The movies were chosen in collaboration with Jytte Jensen, associate curator of MoMA's Department of Film and Media. Rashid Masharawi's "Ticket to Jerusalem" and Cláudio Assis' "Mango Yellow," have each been selected to receive the one-week run at the theater.
"I'm delighted to announce the collaboration between MoMA and The Global Film Initiative, two institutions committed to bringing a diverse range of programming from the developing world to the broader public," said Mary Lea Bandy in a prepared statement. "The one-week runs for 'Ticket to Jerusalem' and 'Mango Yellow' are a novel concept for MoMA and we expect that this will enable some truly exceptional films to reach wider audiences."
Global Film Initiative has worked closely with MoMA's Education Department to create study guides and lesson plans to accompany films that are screening in the series. MoMA announced Monday that several hundred high school students will view films from the showcase and participate in classroom lessons based on the materials.
"We at the Initiative believe that the best way to understand other cultures is through the nuance of storytelling. Our films provide insight into human nature and the consequences of human interactions, allowing us a continual comparison and reflection between the characters in the story and our own experience," said Susan Weeks Coulter in a prepared statement. "Global Lens will give Americans exposure to voices from around the world and we are passionate and committed to working with MoMA to bring this program to MoMA Gramercy and to the high school classroom."
Following is a complete list of films set to screen during the first Global Lens series (information provided by MoMA):
"Angel on the Right" (2002). Tajikistan. Directed by Djamshed Usmonov
DESCRIPTION: A tough Tajik gangster returns home from Moscow to see his
dying mother but realizes too late that the town has only lured him back in
hopes of getting its hands on the money he owes them.
"Khorma" (2002). Tunisia. Directed by Jilani Saadi
DESCRIPTION: In a Tunisian village, the seemingly idiotic Khorma is
appointed the town's official announcer of births, deaths and marriages,
until his power begins to corrupt him.
"Mango Yellow" (2002). Brazil. Directed by Cláudio Assis
DESCRIPTION: In the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife the experiences of
a group of larger-than-life characters -- a waiter, a gay chef, a butcher,
and his Evangelical wife -- are followed as they pursue romantic encounters
and misadventures as well as unrealized dreams and illusions.
"Margarette's Feast" (2002). Brazil. Directed by Renato Falcão
DESCRIPTION: In an ode to classic silent films, a working-class everyman in
Brazil escapes from his desperate life through the power of imagination.
"Nothing" (2001). Cuba. Directed by Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti
DESCRIPTION: Carla works in a Cuban post office and, to pass the time,
assumes other people's identities by secretly writing letters on their
behalf and giving meaning to inhibited emotions.
"Rachida" (2002). Algeria. Directed by Yamina Bachir-Chouikh
DESCRIPTION: Rachida is a young, Algerian schoolteacher who flees to another
village after having been shot by terrorists, only to find that terrorism is
unavoidable there too.
"Shadow Kill" (2002). India. Directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan
DESCRIPTION: In pre-independence India, a state-appointed executioner can no
longer bear the guilty solitude of carrying out death sentences that are,
more often than not, the result of politics rather than justice.
"Ticket to Jerusalem" (2002). Palestine. Directed by Rashid Masharawi
DESCRIPTION: A Palestinian film projectionist's perseverance is put to the
test when he tries to organize a film screening in Jerusalem's old city.
"Women's Prison" (2002). Iran. Directed by Manijeh Hekmat
DESCRIPTION: A diverse group of women struggle to survive in a
claustrophobic Iranian prison in three segments set in 1984, 1992 and 2001.