International Film Festival

The World Languages and Literatures 6th Annual International Film Festival, RESISTANCE, will take place from February 16 - March 25, 2021

Because of COVID-19, this year’s festival will be virtual

The list of tentative dates and films are below. Films marked with an asterisk are scheduled to be live-streamed at 7 pm. All other titles can be viewed throughout the festival via streaming links provided to registrants. Register using the links below to access the films and attend the introductions (pre-recorded or live Zoom presentations at 7 pm CT unless otherwise noted). Check back here for updates throughout the festival.

Week 1

They Fought for Their Country (Soviet Union, 1975). In Russian with English subtitles. Director Sergei Bondarchuk sets his classic war film in July 1942, when exhausted Russian troops vow to prevent the advancing German army from taking Stalingrad. Introduction by Ben Feinstein (Russian Club):

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A Man Escaped (France, 1956). In French with English subtitles. A captured French Resistance fighter during WWII engineers a daunting escape from a Nazi prison in France, in this awarded Robert Bresson’s film. Introduction by Prof. Rachel Ney: 

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The Official Story (Argentina, 1985). In Spanish with English subtitles. Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, Luis Puenzo’s movie focuses on the final months of Argentina Military Dictatorship in 1983, when a high-school teacher is determined to find out who the mother of her adopted daughter is. Introduction by Prof. Ruben Sanchez-Godoy:

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Week 2

Tuesday, February 23: Rome, Open City (Italy, 1945). In Italian with English subtitles. Roberto Rossellini’s iconic film, Rome, Open City depicts the Nazi occupation of Rome in 1944 when the Resistance leader is chased by the Nazis as he seeks refuge and a way to escape. Introduction by Prof. Daniele Forlino:

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*Wednesday, February 24: The Exterminating Angel (Mexico, 1962). In Spanish with English subtitles. Luis Buñuel’s daring surrealistic masterpiece is “a mordant view of human nature”, where the guests at an upper-class dinner party find themselves inexplicably unable to leave.

Introduction and conversation with Carlos García Campillo (Mexican filmmaker and producer) and Prof. Talia Weltman-Cisneros.

The film was live streamed but can also be viewed directly at this link:  You will need to log in with your SMU credentials to access the film.


 *Thursday, February 25: Red Sorghum (China, 1988). In Mandarin with English subtitles. The directorial debut of internationally acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yimou, the film is the tale of a young widow who is forced to run a winery to make a living while contending with bandits, her drunkard lover, and the invading Japanese army. Introduction by Prof. Xiao Hu:
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Week 3

 *Tuesday, March 2: The Battle of Algiers (Algeria and Italy, 1966). In Arabic and French, with English subtitles. One of the most influential political films in history, Gillo Pontecorvo’s masterpiece re-creates how fear and violence escalated as the people of Algiers fought for independence from the French government in the 1950s.
Presentation by Edwige Tamalet Talbayev (Associate Professor of French; Director, Middle East and North African Studies; Interim Director of Graduate Studies, Tulane University), moderated by Prof. Maxime Foerster: 
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Wednesday, March 3: Death of a Cyclist (Spain and Italy, 1955). In Spanish with English subtitles. A couple having an affair strike a bicyclist with their car and do not offer aid out of fear of their relationship being exposed. Juan Antonio Bardem’s thriller and charged melodrama is a direct attack con 1950s Spanish society under Franco’s rule. Introduction by Prof. Constantin Icleanu:
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Thursday, March 4: The White Rose (West Germany, 1982). In German with English subtitles. During WWII, a group of students at Munich University begin to question the decisions of Germany’s Nazi government. The students form a resistance cell which they name the White Rose. Introduction by Prof. Stephen Grollman.
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Week 4

*Special Event* Tuesday, March 9, 7 pm: SMU Film Vault Virtual Tour and Q&A

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Wednesday, March 10: Fate of a Man (The Soviet Union, 1959). In Russian with English subtitles. A Soviet soldier has been separated with his family by WWII. Suffering in Nazi captivity, he dreams of meeting his darlings after the victory. But cruel fate turned out otherwise. The film was Sergei Bonbarchuk’s directorial debut. Introduction by Ben Feinstein (Vice-President of Russian Club): 


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Thursday, March 11: The Strategy of the Snail (Colombia, 1993). In Spanish with English subtitles. A group of tenants who share an old house in Bogota fear impending eviction when the owner tries to reclaim the building in this awarded comedy-drama directed by Sergio Cabrera.
Presenter: Prof. María del Pilar Melgarejo.
Moderator: Prof. Renata Égüez
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Week 5

Tuesday, March 16: Entranced Earth (Brazil, 1970). In Portuguese with English subtitles. In the fictional Latin American country of El Dorado, a poet tries to effect political change by influencing powerful men in this Cinema Novo drama film, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Glauber Rocha.  
Presenter: Dr. Addy Tolliver

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*Thursday, March 18 at 6:30 pm: Soy Cuba (Cuba and the Soviet Union, 1964). In Spanish with English subtitles. Considered an anti-American propaganda film, made as a Cuban-Soviet co-production, I am Cuba has been snatched from oblivion, restored and released in the US as a presentation of Martin Scorsese and Francis Coppola. The film is a study in contrasts set in and around Havana that explores Cuba’s 1959 revolution.
Presenter: Prof. Jorge Marturano (Associate Professor of the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at UCLA: Cuban & Latin American Studies)
Moderator: Prof. Talia Weltman-Cisneros
Register for the 6:30 pm Presentation and Screening 

Closing Night March 25, 2021

Garm Hawa (India, 1974). In Urdu and Hindi, with English subtitles. In post-partition India, a Muslim business man and his family struggle for their rights in a country which was once their own.
Guest Speaker: Dr. Sadaf Jaffer. Dr. Jaffer is a scholar, activist, and researcher of South Asian, Islamic, and Asian American Studies who serves on the advisory board of Inspiring South Asian American Women (ISAAW) and “ARTE: Art and Resistance through Education.” Dr. Jaffer, who has a degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University, is the first South Asian woman to serve as mayor of a municipality in NJ, and the first Muslim woman to serve as mayor of a municipality in the US.
Moderator: Dr. Rachel Ball-Phillips
Register here

The festival is free but registration is required and limited to members of the SMU community (students, staff, faculty). Zoom registration information will be posted here in advance.

Titles marked with an asterisk indicate that the film may be live-streamed; links to on-demand viewings will be provided to all SMU registrants for all remaining titles.

The World Languages and Literatures International Film Festival is made possible thanks to the generous support of its 2021 sponsors: SMU Libraries, Residence Life and Student Housing, SMU Russian Club, SMU Italian Club, SMU French Club, SMU Spanish Club, SMU German Club, SMU LULAC, SMU Association of Brazilian and Portuguese Speakers, WLL Chinese Area Endowment, Indian Student Association, Muslim Student Association.