Dr. Wilson extrapolates the border separating the Dominican Republic and Haiti on their shared island, the site of the documentary Death by a Thousand Cuts (2016), into a theme by which to understand the film and all of the separations it depicts.
Dr. Riep, who studies representations of disability in literature and visual arts, discusses common misconceptions about people with autism and how many of those erroneous ideas are turned into on-screen stereotypes. He then, with praise, points to how The Reason I Jump (2020) fights against those stereotypes and tries to provide audiences with an experiential, empathy-building opportunity.
Professor of Scandinavian Studies, Dr. Julie Allen begins by explaining why the Scandinavian countries have continually topped international surveys on happiness. She then connects those reasons to the unique twisting of disaster movie conventions in the pan-Nordic film Breaking Surface (2020).
Director of BYU Global Women’s Studies, Dr. Valerie Hegstrom outlines the perceived choice women are faced with between family and career. Not only is this choice not a simple binary, but it inordinately affects women especially in China as represented in the documentary Leftover Women (2019).
IC co-director Douglas J. Weatherford examines the presence of Peruvian poet César Vallejo in Roy Andersson’s critically acclaimed film, Songs from the Second Floor (2000, Sweden). Weatherford suggests that Vallejo’s anguished poetry can be felt throughout this experimental film and that both filmmaker and poet create an “Hagiography of the Ordinary,” or a celebration of everyday people overwhelmed by the absurd nature of everyday life.
North Korea has continually baffled Americans for the duration of its existence. To help form a clearer understanding of the so-called “hermit kingdom,” Dr. Kirk Larsen gives a succinct overview of some of the myths we hear and offers a more complete picture of North Korea. After addressing these myths, viewers of Assassins (2020) can better form their own opinions based on the film’s evidence.
The International Cinema Studies class held a Q&A with Marianna Yarovskaya and Paul Gregory, director and producer, respectively, of Women of the Gulag (2018). In this Q&A they discuss the film’s placement on the Academy Awards shortlist and the lessons we can learn from the gulags’ history and erasure.
This conversation, a part of BYU Department of History’s celebration of Black History Month, between Dr. Matthew Mason and Dr. Richard Bell (University of Maryland) touches on Bell’s work on using microhistories to illustrate larger political forces in the world, especially in the case of what he calls the “reverse underground railroad.”
Dr. Daryl Lee outlines the history of French colonization and the aesthetics of orientalism that built to the war of independence recreated in The Battle of Algiers. This innovative film used a documentary style to depict recent events, even casting actual participants as themselves, and presents a visceral engagement with the goals and methods of both parties.
Italian director Federico Fellini’s unique outlook on comedy, dream, and autobiography is on full display in 8 ½ (1963). Dr. Marie Orton uses relatable stories and references to illustrate Fellini’s filmmaking philosophy of infusing his own personal life into his work and the relentless torment of creativity in life.