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Religion, Culture and Tradition

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DAUGHTER OF KELTOUM (La Fille de Keltoum)
Director: Mehdi Charef
Algeria   |   2001   |   106 minutes
Arabic and French, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis A young woman, Rallia, raised in Switzerland, travels to an isolated and barren Berber settlement located in the rocky Atlas Mountains of Algeria. Rallia's journey is one of multi-tiered discovery in terms of her relationship to her extended family, traditional Berber culture, and her desperate need to locate her biological mother. Through her eyes, the viewer is immersed in a world virtually untouched by contemporary society, one that still clings to tribal mores and strict religious codes of conduct. Mehdi Charef skillfully captures the windswept vistas of a faraway mountain range with wide camera angles that frame the harsh environs and the desperate daily search for water, the responsibility of the resilient women of the Berber tribe.

About the Director Mehdi Charef was born in 1952 in Maghnia, Algeria, where he lived until his family left in the early 1960s to live in France, where he was trained as a mechanic and worked in a factory. In 1983, his first novel Le Thé au Harem d'Archimíde ("Tea in the Harem") was published. The book was soon optioned by filmmaker Constantin Costa-Gavras and made into a film, winning a Cesar, the Jean Vigo and SOS Racisme prizes, the Silver Hugo in Chicago, and the Special Jury Prize at the Madrid International Film Festival. Charef's films, La Maison d'Alexina (1999) and Pigeon vole (1996), were adapted from his novels of the same name. Medhi Charef currently lives in France and continues his work as a novelist and filmmaker.

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Featured in the Global Lens 2005 film series.


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THE KITE (Le Cerf-Volant)
Director: Randa Chahal Sabbag
Lebanon   |   2003   |   80 minutes
Arabic, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Lebanon’s official submission to the 2003 Academy Awards

Synopsis In director Randa Chahal Sabbag's fairytale for troubled times, sixteen-year old Lamia must cross a border checkpoint between Lebanon and Israel to marry a man she has never met. Neither she nor her betrothed are eager to consummate a marriage to a stranger matter further complicated by Lamia's surprising admission that she is in love with the Israeli soldier guarding the border. Sabbag's enchanting drama about marriage and tradition is underscored by delicate symbolism and artful references to politics of Lebanon's territories that have been annexed.

About the Director Randa Chahal Sabbag was born in Tripoli, Lebanon. She studied film at the University of Vincennes and the School of Louis Lumiére in France. She directed numerous documentaries, short films, and television programs before her first feature film, Sand Screens (1991). Her second feature film, A Civilized People (1998), a black comedy about the Lebanese Civil War, was censored in Lebanon. She refused to make edits to her film that the Ministry of Interior's military censors proposed, which resulted in her being vilified in the press and her family receiving death threats. In 2004, she was awarded with the nation's highest honor, a Chevalier of the Order of the Cedar, for her contributions to Lebanon. The Kite is her third feature film.

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Featured in the Global Lens 2008 film series.

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THE NIGHT OF TRUTH (La Nuit de la Verite)
Director: Fanta Régina Nacro
Burkina Faso   |   2004   |   100 minutes
French, Mooré and Dioula, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis Mirroring the political strife and genocide in contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa, this film opens as preparations are being made to end a decade of civil war in a fictitious country. A peace agreement is about to be signed and celebrated in a night of reconciliation with a laying down of arms. As the powerful drumming begins, both rebels and government forces gather, bringing with them years of rage, grief, hope, suspicion, and bitterness. In this first feature film, Fanta Régina Nacro boldly presents the sometimes unintentional but inhuman behavior inherent in all people.

About the Director Fanta Régina Nacro studied at INAFEC, the national film school of Burkina Faso, and earned master’s degrees in film and audiovisual studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. She was the first woman in Burkina Faso to direct a film, the short Un Certain Matin (1992). Among her 17 short films are Puk Nini (1995), Le Truk de Konaté (1998), and Bintou (2001). The Night of Truth is her first feature film, and it won the Best Screenplay at the San Sebastian International Film Festival 2004.

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Featured in the Global Lens 2006 film series.

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LET THE WIND BLOW (Hava Aney Dey)
Director: Partho Sen-Gupta
India   |   2004   |   93 minutes
Hindi and English, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopisis At the height of nuclear tensions between India and Pakistan, Arjun and his best friend, Chabia, weigh their options for the future against the reality of life on the streets of Mumbai. Enticed by the promise of wealth and opportunity in the Persian Gulf, Chabia is eager to leave his job as a mechanic. But for Arjun, who must finish college and care for his mother, the decision is not so easy in director Partho Sen-Gupta's gritty, apocalyptic interpretation of Krishna's counsel to Arjuna, from the Bhagavad Gita.

About the Director Partho Sen-Gupta was born in Bombay, India in 1965. He started his career as an art department apprentice in the studios of ‘Bollywood’ in 1982. He is an award-winning production designer and art director, and has worked on numerous Indian and foreign films, television programs and theater productions. In 1993, he was awarded a scholarship to study film direction at La FEMIS, in Paris. He has directed several award-winning short films, which have been official selections at film festivals throughout Europe. In 2005, he was invited by the Cinefondation of the Cannes Film Festival to attend the festival as part of a group of promising young filmmakers. Later that year, he directed the documentary, Shakti Timeless, about the Indo-Western fusion group, Shakti, tracing its history from the '70s to the present. Let the Wind Blow is his first feature film.

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Featured in the Global Lens 2008 film series.

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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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THE FISH FALL IN LOVE (Mahiha Ashegh Mishavand)
Director: Ali Raffi
Iran   |   2006   |   96 minutes
Farsi, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis Atieh's singular passion is food, and her small but popular restaurant on the sleepy Caspian coast is her pride and joy. But when Aziz, her former fiancé, appears after a twenty-year absence, the women believe he has intentions of closing the restaurant, so Atieh prepares his favorite dishes, one after the other, in a desperate effort to convince him otherwise. Loosely based on the Persian fable of Shahrazad and the Thousand Myths (A Thousand and One Nights), director Ali Raffi uses the language of food to paint a richly textured portrait of life and love on the northern coast of Iran.

About the Director Ali Raffi was born in Isfahan, Iran in 1938. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in Sociology, and B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Dramatic Arts from the Sorbonne University. He also holds a Higher Diploma in Film and Stage Direction from the International Theater University in France, and a Diploma of Acting from Charles Dulain in France. He was the head of the City Theater in Tehran from 1975 to 1978, the dean of the Dramatic College from 1977 to 1980, and currently teaches at Tehran University. He has staged numerous theater productions, and has experience as a performer in multiple films and TV programs. The Fish Fall In Love is his first feature film.

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Featured in the Global Lens 2008 film series.


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THE BET COLLECTOR (Kubrador)
Director: Jeffrey Jeturian
Philippines   |   2006   |   98 minutes
Tagalog, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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ON DVD: Spring/Winter 2013


Synopsis Amy, the family matriarch, makes ends meet by running a small convenience store out of her home. But in a struggling economy customers are scarce, and without the help of her husband or pregnant daughter, she is forced to supplement the family income by collecting bets for an illegal numbers game. In this starkly realistic narrative, director Jeffrey Jeturian presents a captivating portrait of a once-proud woman, haunted by memories of a dead son and hounded by the police, and her fragile and lonely life as a kubrador (bet collector) on the streets of Manila.

About the Director Jeffrey Jeturian was born in Manila, Philippines in 1959. He studied Broadcast Communication at the University of the Philippines. After college, he held various positions within the film industry for fifteen years before making his first feature film, Enter Love (1998). His second feature film, Fetch A Pail Of Water (1999), about slum dwellers and their struggle for survival, won the NETPAC Jury Award at the 1st CineManila International Film Festival (Philippines) and a Gold Award at the 2000 Worldfest International Film Festival (USA). His third feature film, Larger Than Life (2000), a satirical take on the state of filmmaking in the Philippines, was an official selection for competition in the Cinema Of the Present program of the 2001 Venice International Film Festival (Italy) and won a Gold Award at the 2002 Worldfest International Film Festival (USA). Jeturian's other previous feature films include Bridal Shower (2004), One Moment More (2004), and Bikini Open (2005). The Bet Collector is his seventh feature film.

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Featured in the Global Lens 2008 film series.

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OPERA JAWA
Director: Garin Nugroho
Indonesia   |   2006   |   120 minutes
Indonesian, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis Setyo and Siti live a peaceful life as husband and wife, selling earthenware in their village. But when Setyo is called away on business, a flirtatious butcher, Ludiro, takes advantage of Siti's loneliness to seduce her. Tempted by song and dance, Siti initially refuses his advances but acquiesces in a moment of weakness, setting the stage for an epic battle between the two men. Located in lush forests and on pristine beaches of Java, director Garin Nugroho bases his deeply imagistic and dazzling visual narrative on the The Abduction of Sita, from the Hindu epic, The Ramayana.

About the Director Garin Nugroho was born in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in 1961. He studied filmmaking at the Institut Kesenian Jakarta, where he later taught filmmaking and was the Dean Assistant of Film Faculty & TV. He has directed numerous award-wining documentaries, short films and music videos. He has also worked as a film critic for Indonesian newspapers, as a Media Coalition Coordinator at the 2004 election, and is currently the director of SET Film Workshop. His feature film Of Love and Eggs (2004) was selected for Global Lens 2007. His other previous feature films include Birdman Tale (2002), And the Moon Dances (1995), Leaf on a Pillow (1998), Letter for an Angel (1994), and Love on a Slice of Bread (1991). Opera Jawa is his seventh 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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GETTING HOME (Luo Ye Gui Gen)
Director: Zhang Yang
China   |   2007   |   101 minutes
Mandarin, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis In this soulful and humane comedy, Zhao, a middle-aged construction worker, struggles to fulfill a dying co-worker's last wish to be buried in China's Three Gorges region. Setting out with his colleague's body in tow, Zhao travels hundreds of miles across extraordinary countryside, encountering a number of colorful adventures and characters– and even discovering love in some unlikely quarters. Director Zhang Yang's humorous and moving tale of friendship offers a powerful, and sometimes slapstick, commentary on the value of community and human connectivity in modern China.

About the Director Zhang Yang was born in Beijing, China in 1967. In 1992, he graduated from the Central Theatre Academy. He then directed a theatrical production of Kiss of the Spider Woman and went on to direct over twenty underground music videos. His first feature film, Spicy Love Soup, swept the domestic Chinese awards and his second feature, Shower, won the FIPRESCI prize at the Toronto International Film Festival. Getting Home is his fifth feature film.Available Screening Formats 35mm, DVD. Digibeta available upon request

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Featured in the Global Lens 2009 film series.

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SONG FROM THE SOUTHERN SEAS (Pesn' Juzhnykh Morej)
Director: Marat Sarulu
Kazakhstan   |   2008   |   80 minutes
Russian, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis Two couples, one Russian and one Kazakh, live side by side in relative harmony in a beautiful yet semi-desolate region of the Great Steppe. But when the fair-skinned Russians give birth to a boy of decidedly darker skin, fifteen years of suspicion and acrimony arises between them, and can only be resolved by an ironic twist of family and fate. At times darkly somber, at other times tender and wistful—and buoyed throughout by a soundtrack of folk-inspired melodies—writer-director Marat Sarulu draws on Kazakhstan's epic history to create a gritty and deeply compassionate tale of humor and cultural insight.


About the Director Marat Sarulu was born in Talas, Soviet Union (now Kyrgyzstan) in 1957. He graduated with a degree in Philology from Kyrgyz National University in Bishkek in 1980 and subsequently studied at the Moscow Cinema Academy. He is co–writer of the internationally successful feature film, Beshkempir and currently works as a writer and director. Song from the Southern Seas is his third feature film.


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Featured in the Global Lens 2009 film series.

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