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International Cinema: November 2022 Films Recap

IC closes out fall 2022 by showing films about Brazil, Uruguay, and the World Cup.

Each week, the College of Humanities’ International Cinema shows films from across the globe, highlighting different world cultures and film techniques. The free showings allow students to familiarize themselves with media they never would have been exposed to otherwise. This November, Assistant Professor Patrícia Baialuna de Andrade (Literature and Violence) presented on the film The Year My Parents Went on Vacation, Professor Doug Weatherford (Latin American Film) introduced audiences to Whisky, and Associate Professor Bob Hudson (French Literature, Film, and Cuisine) discussed the history of soccer in cinema.

Photo by Anika Mikkelson

November 2: The Year My Parents Went on Vacation

On March 19, 1964, hundreds of thousands of Brazilians walked in the March of the Family with God for Freedom. Ironically, this movement aiming to protect democracy and freedom ended with dictatorship and family separation. Native Brazilian and professor of Portuguese, de Andrade presented on how this movement affected Brazil and is depicted in the film The Year My Parents Went on Vacation.

The film is set in 1970 and explores the story of Mauro, a young Brazilian boy and avid soccer player. Mauro’s politically active parents run away from the oppressive Brazilian government, leaving Mauro at his Jewish grandfather’s home in São Paulo. Mauro’s new Jewish community adopts and raises him while his parents are gone.

The film portrays war and civil unrest through the eyes of a child. Although the dictatorship is barely mentioned in Mauro’s narration of the story, it motivates the entire plot. Andrade explained that Mauro no longer cares only about soccer, but also worries the oppressive government will never let him see his family again.

November 16: Whisky

Doug Weatherford’s presentation of the Uruguayan film Whisky highlights the fictional experience of a Jewish man returning to Uruguay from Brazil to place a headstone on his mother’s grave.

In addition to being one of the few films produced by Uruguay, the film uses unique camera techniques to convey lo uruguayo, or elements specific to Uruguay.

Weatherford explained that during the movie the camera never pans, and the cinematographer never uses a handheld camera. Camera shots frequently cut off characters’ body parts, highlighting the main character’s fragmented and stagnant life. “That’s not an accident. It’s not bad filmmaking,” Weatherford said.

The stagnancy and immobility of the camera enrich the narrative by showing what is real and false in the characters’ relationships. Weatherford explained that the idea of nothing moving expresses characters’ feelings of urban angst, not knowing their places in life, or getting stuck in a rut.

November 30: Soccer in Cinema

The world’s favorite sport, soccer, is a major topic in pop culture that transcends geographic boundaries. In light of the World Cup, Bob Hudson introduced a survey of soccer throughout cinema’s existence.

The inventors of cinématographe, the Lumière brothers, created a video of a soccer match titled Football in 1897. Their primitive camera functioned as both a film developer and a projector. Unfortunately, the inventors did not know how to pan the camera, so the shots remain stationary.

The Winning Goal is another influential film in soccer cinema history because it made the transition from silent film to sound. The film features Jack Cock, an Everton soccer player who then went to Chelsea.

More recently, documentaries or biopics featured the life story behind legendary soccer players, like Pelé: Birth of a Legend or Maradona, the Hand of God.

In addition to popular US soccer shows like Ted Lasso, soccer cinema has spread to countries like China with Shaolin Soccer and Iran with the film Offside.

Stay updated on the upcoming winter 2023 showings and lectures by visiting the International Cinema website.