Berks to host Global Cinema Series

This spring, as part of the global studies degree program's Global Oscar Comes to Berks, Penn State Berks will present four films nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards: "Kon-Tiki" on Thursday, Jan. 23; "War Witch" on Thursday, Feb. 20; "Amour" on Thursday, March 20; and "No," on Thursday, April 24; all at 6 p.m. in Room 121 of the Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building. All four films are free and open to the public.

"Kon-Tiki" is a 2012 Norwegian film about the 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition led by Thor Heyerdahl. Against popular theory, Heyerdahl believed that people from South America migrated to Polynesia during pre-Columbian times, based on similarities between statues found in South America and the Polynesian Moai. Though he could neither swim nor sail, Heyerdahl built a balsawood raft similar to those used by the indigenous people to make the 4,300 nautical-mile journey across the Pacific from Peru to Polynesia. He and his crew of five men spent three months aboard the primitive vessel named for the Inca god of sun and storm, Kon-Tiki, encountering storms, sharks and other oceanic perils along the way.

"War Witch," a 2012 Canadian drama, tells the story of a 12-year-old girl named Komona, who was abducted during a civil war in sub-Saharan Africa to become a child soldier. Komona is given a choice between watching her parents die a painful death at the hands of her captors or shooting them herself. With tears in her eyes, she chooses the latter. She is then taken up river, along with her other captors, to begin training. Facing beatings and near-starvation, Komona’s one salvation is her imagination. Her captors believe her to have magical powers after she ingests a hallucinogen found in sap and has visions that foretell of impending danger to their army. Her supernatural gifts earn her the title of “war witch.”

"Amour" is a 2012 co-production between French, German and Austrian companies, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards. This French language film tells the story of Anne and her husband Georges, both retired piano teachers. Anne suffers several strokes as Georges becomes her caretaker and keeps his promise not to place her in a nursing facility.

"No," a 2012 Chilean drama, is based on the unpublished play El Plebiscito, written by Antonio Skármeta. The setting is 1980s Chile, when advertising tactics came to be widely used in political campaigns. The country is being asked by the government to vote on whether the current dictator should be re-elected for another eight years in power or whether there should be a democratic presidential election in the following year. A successful advertising executive is approached by the “No” side to lead their campaign. He agrees, behind his supervisor’s back, and develops an unorthodox marketing strategy that is ultimately parodied by the “Yes” campaign with his boss as their campaign adviser.

For more information about the Global Cinema Series, contact Kirk Shaffer, associate professor of Latin American Studies, at 610-396-6258, or via email at KRS14@psu.edu.

Contacts: 

Dr. Kirwin R. Shaffer

Work Phone: 
610-396-6258

Dr. Kirwin R. Shaffer, Associate Professor of Latin American Studies at Penn State Berks

Last Updated January 22, 2014