Film Fest fancies foreign input

International Teaching Assistants give campus a taste of their country through film as the Allegheny’s Annual International Film Festival continues through next week, hosted by the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. Each year the department showcases international films from various countries; there are two different film lineups for each semester.

This semester’s portion of the festival differs from last’s in that last semester, films were shown at the Academy Theatre in Meadville.

This semester, films have been shown every Wednesday since February 2 in Vukovich 102.

Spanish, German, French and Chinese films are featured.

“This is a more informal event than the one [held during the fall semester] in downtown Meadville,” Spanish TA Marta González-Ravina said. “It is supposed to be more fun and entertaining, mostly [for] the TAs and the students, but also for teachers and everyone.”

This semester, International TAs selected which films will be shown.

“This year, unlike others, we have decided to do a ‘TA’s Picks festival; to have our visiting native language TAs pick and present their favorite movies to the campus,” said Spanish Professor Barbara Riess, who helped organize the festival.

Chinese TA Tiancheng Zhao believes that the TAs’s film choices provide the festival with a younger perspective that is unique from festivals of past years.

“[The TAs] do have different angles of view on choosing movies compared with language teachers,” Zhao said. “As young people, we might prefer movies full of power and passion.”

Zhao said power and passion were his reasons for choosing “Infernal Affairs,” which will close the festival next Wednesday, February 23 at 7:30 p.m.

Zhao added that in 2006 director Martin Scorsese purchased the film’s script and used it to produce the Oscar-winning American film “The Departed.”

“I think we can see an interesting contrast between how an American director and a Chinese director expressed the same story,” Zhao said.

French TA Maxime Bey-Rozet selected “OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, a parody of the James Bond series.

“The main character is basically a mass of typical French flaws, such as misogyny and chauvinism,” Bey-Rozet said. “Most of the film is set in Egypt, but my choice had nothing to do with the revolutions going on there currently.”

González-Ravina said deciding on a movie was difficult. Eventually, she ended up selecting “The Girl of Your Dreams,” an old favorite starring Penelope Cruz.

“[The movie] deals with a lot of history from [Spain’s] past that not many people know about,” González-Ravina said. “In 1939, we had a dictatorship, and that dictator had a good relationship with [Fascist leaders] Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy, so, it gives another perspective on Spain’s position at that time. It’s also a fun movie, although it includes a bit of drama.”

German TA Katja Hechler said she selected the 1997 German comedy “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” precisely for the levity of the film.

The film’s title comes from the Bob Dylan song of the same name, which is covered in the movie.

Hechler thought the movie would be entertaining and easy for students to understand. “I guess that when people are thinking about Germany, the first things which come to mind are World War II, maybe beer and Lederhosen,” Hechler said. “I wanted to show a German comedy to show that Germans are not all diligent, on time, strict or angry.”