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Films by Region

The Global Lens Series annually features eight to ten narrative feature films from Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East that are presented to audiences in theatrical locations across the United States and Canada.

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BUFFALO BOY
Director: Nguyen-Vô Nghiem-Minh
Vietnam   |   2004   |   102 minutes
Vietnamese, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Vietnam’s official submission to the 2006 Academy Awards

Synopsis Set in the lowlands of southern Vietnam, this powerful coming of age tale is a richly textured and stunningly visual reflection of the rhythms of daily life and culture determined by water. The flooded landscape serves to tell the story of the relationship between a father and son, the cycles of life, and the inescapable flow of all things. When young Kim, out of necessity, joins the nomadic life of the buffalo herders he is exposed to a complex, brutal way of existence. He must find his own way and sense of self in this male world of endurance, betrayal, and uncertainty, which can also offer friendship and independence. Minh Nguyen-Vo presents this mythic tale with indelible images of the majestic and sacred buffalos charging through flood waters contrasted with the solitary rower gliding through the waters, each representing opposite phases of the spiritual and moving journey.

About the Director Nguyen-Vô Nghiem-Minh grew up in a small town in Vietnam during the war. To escape the fighting and atrocities all around, he spent a great deal of time in his youth in the town's one-room movie theater. He studied in France and the U.S., graduating with a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from UCLA. After years of doing research in optics, he decided to concentrate on filmmaking. Buffalo Boy, his first feature, was in Official Competition and won the special prize from the Youth Jury at the 2004 Locarno International Film Festival. 

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Featured in the Global Lens 2005 film series.


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ADRIFT (Choi Voi)
Director: Bui Thac Chuyen
Vietnam   |   2009   |   110 minutes
Vietnamese, with subtitles in English
$24.99
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Synopsis Soon after her wedding, newlywed Duyen’s excitement begins to fade as she realizes her young husband is not only sexually naïve, but overly occupied by his job and doting mother. As her marriage goes unconsummated and her emotional isolation grows, she reaches out to her closest girlfriend, Cam, who secretly desires her, but pushes her into the arms of a dangerous and provocative suitor. The resulting sexual awakening and infidelity puts Duyen in a precarious love triangle, challenging her notions of conventional relationships and also the stability of her new family. Saturated with erotic tension, director Bui Thac Chuyen’s sensuous and absorbing second feature traces the emotional and psychological landscapes of lust and desire, weaving an atmospheric tale of love and life in modern Hanoi.

About the Director Bui Thac Chuyen was born in Hanoi, Vietnam in 1968. He began his film career in 1991 with the short film Eternal Sadness, which won the Golden Swift Wing Prize at the 1st National Viet Nam Festival of Short Movies. His debut feature film, Living in Fear was awarded the Asian New Talent Prize for Best Film in the 2006 Shanghai International Film Festival. Adrift is his second feature film.

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DVD Release Date: January 31, 2012

Featured in the Global Lens 2010 film series.

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A USEFUL LIFE (La Vida Útil)
Director: Federico Veiroj
Uruguay   |   2010   |   63 minutes
Spanish, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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ON DVD: Spring/Winter 2013


Uruguay’s official submission to the 2010 Academy Awards


Synopsis After twenty-five years, Cinemateca Uruguaya’s most devoted employee, Jorge (real-life Uruguayan critic Jorge Jellinek), still finds his inspiration in caring for the films and audiences that grace the seats and screen of his beloved arthouse cinema. But when dwindling attendance and diminishing support force the theater to close its doors, Jorge is sent into a world he knows only through the lens of art—and suddenly forced to discover a new passion that transcends his once-celluloid reality. Stylishly framed in black-and-white with brilliantly understated performances, Federico Veiroj’s sly and loving homage to the soul of cinema is a universally appealing gem and knowing charmer about life after the movies.


About the Director Federico Veiroj was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1976. He received a degree in Social Communication from the Catholic University of Uruguay and began making short films in 1996. His first feature film, Acne, was awarded the Films in Progress TVE Award at the 2007 San Sebastián International Film Festival, premiered at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes and went on to receive the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 AFI Festival in Los Angeles. A Useful Life is his second feature film.


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Featured in the Global Lens 2011 film series.

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WHISKY
Director: Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll
Uruguay   |   2004   |   94 minutes
Spanish, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Uruguay’s official submission to the 2004 Academy Awards

Synopsis An inspired and beautifully assured tragic-comedy about Jacobo, a sixty-year-old owner of a small, outdated sock factory, is illuminated with deadpan, repetitive, and monotonous detail. When his successful younger brother is expected for a visit, Jacobo asks Marta, his humble, loyal assistant, to pose as his wife. The brother, lively, inquisitive, and open, spontaneously suggests a seaside trip during which the three characters begin to reveal themselves in situations where farce, jealousy and betrayal lead to places of no return. Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll have created a sophisticated, quiet film that tells a story through understatement and modest gestures.


About the Director Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll were born in Montevideo, Uruguay, and began working together while studying at La Universidad Catolica del Uruguay. Their feature debut, 25 Watts (2001), won multiple awards, including the VPRO Tiger Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Whisky is their second feature, winning the Prix du Regard Original at the 2004 Festival de Cannes.


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Featured in the Global Lens 2005 film series.

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LEO'S ROOM (El Cuarto De Leo)
Director: Enrique Buchichio
Uruguay   |   2009   |   92 minues
Spanish, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis In the heart of Montevideo, the affable but secretly troubled Leo wraps himself in the comfort of his small rented room, unmotivated to finish his college thesis or find a job, and content with infrequent visits from his girlfriend. After their six-month relationship ends, Leo begins to break out of his shell by cruising the Internet for a new companion, enlisting the aid of a sympathetic therapist along the way. However, it isn’t until he has a chance reunion with a classmate that he is forced to consider the true meaning of his reclusive lifestyle, and a future outside the metaphoric safety of his room. Featuring an affecting soundtrack and an equally endearing cast of characters, director Enrique Buchichio’s affirming drama is a unique vision of isolation and coming-of-age set against a modern tale of romance and friendship.

About the Director Enrique Buchichio was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1973. In 2005, he was selected for the Talent Campus Buenos Aires competition, organized by the Universidad del Cine in cooperation with the Berlinale Talent Campus. In 2007 he released the short Noche Fría. Leo’s Room is his first feature film.

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DVD Release Date: November 8, 2011

Featured in the Global Lens 2010 film series.

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WHAT'S A HUMAN ANYWAY?
Director: Reha Erdem
Turkey   |   2004   |   124 minutes
Turkish, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis Set in an urban apartment building where neighbors, friends, and family are living in close quarters, the film focuses on male protagonists through whom the three phases of stepping into manhood in Turkish society are explored. Ali, suffering from temporary amnesia, is the main focus for the narrative twists in this circus-like environment. But, there is also a little boy who refuses to be circumcised, a young man who refuses to do his military service, and a 30-year-old man refusing to leave home. the nicely paced film with well-written characters is treated to director Reha Erdem's light touch and slyly amusing style without missing the opportunity to illuminate some serious points in a strictly patriarchal society.


About the Director Reha Erdem began his studies in history at Bogazilfi University in Istanbul. In 1983, he went to Paris 8 University to major in Cinema and Modern Art and completed a graduate degree. He directed his first feature film, A Ay (Oh Moon) in 1989. It received awards at the Nantes Film Festival, and was screened at the Locarno, Moscow, Vancouver and Dunkerque Film Festivals. His second feature, Kalf Para Kalf (A Run for Money, 1999) represented Turkey at the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. It was featured at the Tokyo, Munich, London, Oslo, Thessaloniki and Seattle Film Festivals. Erdem was invited to direct Hizmetlfiler (The Maids) by Jean Genet for the Istanbul National Theater in 1991. He directed a short film called Deniz Tlirklisu (The Sea Song), inspired by the poem of famous Turkish poet Yahya Kemal Beyatll. Since 1990, he has directed over a hundred TV commercials. In 1993, he founded Atlantik Film production company with Omer Atay.


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Featured in the Global Lens 2005 film series.


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TOLL BOOTH (Gise Memuru)
Director: Tolga Karaçelik
Turkey   |   2010   |   96 minutes
Turkish, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis A taciturn tollbooth attendant shuffles between a suffocating home life with his ailing father and the monotony of the box where he works. Desperate to resist his father’s attempt to marry him off while determined to prove his worth by fixing his family’s broken-down car, he drives himself toward a nervous breakdown. After a reassignment to a desolate country road, he begins a flirtatious relationship with a woman who drives by each day. But is this salvation for the aging bachelor, or the further unraveling of his mind? An expert cast and keen art direction contribute to this wry, heartbreaking ode to lost dreams in a sleepwalking world.


About the Director Tolga Karaçelik was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1981. After receiving his law degree from Marmara University, he studied film at New York Film Academy. His short film, Rapunzel, received the Audience Award for short films at the SOHO International Film Festival in 2010. He also wrote and directed the music video for Çelik Çomak by the Turkish band Gevende. Toll Booth is his first feature film.


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NOW PLAYING: Check the film calendar for current screenings.


Featured in the Global Lens 2012 film series.

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KHORMA
Director: Jilani Saadi
Tunisia   |   2002   |   90 minutes
Arabic, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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DVDs from the Global Lens Collection can be purchased for home video use directly through our website beginning January 15, 2011 (home viewing only; no other rights, licenses or privileges are included with purchase).  If you would like to purchase or view a DVD immediately, please browse our films on Amazon or Netflix.


Synopsis Jilani Saadi's debut film is set in the arid Tunisian village of Bizerte. With his red-blond hair, green jacket and quirky personal habits, Khorma is the town's kindly joke - a big, well-meaning lug. His guardian is a crafty old Bou Khaleb, the official announcer of births, deaths, and marriages. When the old man mistakenly announces the death of a woman rather than her daughter's marriage, the film immerses us in the often-hilarious power struggles amongst the clerics of the "religion business".


About the Director Born on February 6, 1962, Jilani Saadi comes from Bizerte, a harbor city in northern Tunisia and the setting for his latest film, Khorma. Though both his father and grandfather worked as longshoremen, he immigrated to Paris at the age of 20 in order to study cinematography. Ten years later, Saadi dedicated himself to screenwriting. He directed his first short film, Marchandage Nocturne in 1994, and his second short, Café-Hôtel de l’Avenir, in 1997. Khorma is his first feature film.


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Featured in the Global Lens 2004 film series.

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ANGEL ON THE RIGHT (Farishtay Kitfi Rost)
Director: Djamshed Usmonov
Tajikistan   |   2002   |   90 minutes
Tajik, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis Hamro, an unrepentant prodigal son straight out of a Russian jail, returns to his hometown to help his mother die with dignity. But his debts are many and long overdue, the townspeople are tough as nails, and he gets more than he expected from the quiet village. In this dark comedy, his third feature, writer-director Djamshed Usmonov casts the town's population as its own persuasive self and his own mother and brother as the fractured yet formidable domestic couple.


About the Director Born in Asht, Tajikistan in 1965, Djamshed Usmonov graduated from the Theater Department at Dushanbe Fine Arts School in Tajikistan. He has been working in the film industry since 1986 as a director, producer, screenwriter, and an editor for fiction, animation and documentary films. He worked predominantly at the Tajikfilm Studio in Dushanbe. Djamshed has also appeared as an actor in 1990's "Yellow Grass Time" (dir. Mariam Yussupova, Tajikistan) and 2000's "The Road" (dir. Darezhan Omirbaev, Kazakhstan). He currently lives between Paris, Moscow and Tajikistan.


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Featured in the Global Lens 2004 film series.

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BUNNY CHOW
Director: John Barker
South Africa   |   2006   |   95 minutes
Afrikaans, Tsotsi Taal and English, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis In director John Barker's debut feature, up-and-coming comedians Kags, Joey and Dave make clear that life in the 'new' Johannesburg is not just about hardship and townships. It's also about finding humor in relationships, hanging out with friends and celebrating life on a raucous roadtrip to Oppi Koppi-South Africa's largest music festival. Shot in a cinema vrit style and using the street food 'bunny chow' as a metaphor for contemporary Johannesburg's mix of races, cultures and attitudes, Barker's edgy, urban comedy asks us to envision a nation through the eyes of its future, rather than the tragedy of its past.

About the Director John Barker was born in Durban, South Africa. He studied graphic design at ML Sultan in Durban. After working as a graphic designer in Cape Town, he made a change in career paths and began working in the film industry. He has directed various productions, such as the sketch comedy show, The Pure Monate Show, the South African Music Awards, and South Africa's first mockumentary, Blu Cheez (2002). Bunny Chow is his first feature film.Available Screening Formats 35mm, DVD. Digibeta available upon request

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Featured in the Global Lens 2008 film series.

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Items 1 to 10 of 96 total

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