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The Global Lens series of international films returns Feb. 29

Ana Carbatti plays Iara in Sérgio Bianchi's 2009 film "The Tenants."

Ana Carbatti plays Iara in Sérgio Bianchi's 2009 film "The Tenants."

The Global Lens series of international films returns to Bates College this month starting with a screening of Brazilian director Sérgio Bianchi’s 2009 film The Tenants at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, in Room 104 of the Olin Arts Center, 75 Russell St.

All at 7 p.m., Global Lens screenings take place at Bates Mondays and Wednesdays through April 2. Monday screenings take place in Olin 104, and Wednesday screenings in Olin 105.

Screenings are open to the public at no cost. The series is presented by the Bates College Museum of Art. For more information, please contact 207-786-6158.

Winner of the Best Screenplay award at the 2010 Festival do Rio in Brazil, The Tenants depicts a working-class family whose new next-door neighbors are young criminals. Building tension with stylish sequences that blend reality and fevered imagination, Bianchi’s thriller offers a shrewd portrait of the social and psychological impacts of urban violence. It depicts a city of São Paulo beset — yet also aroused — by a permeating atmosphere of destruction.

Featuring 10 award-winning films in this series, the Global Lens project is designed to promote cross-cultural understanding through cinema. It is produced by the Global Film Initiative, a U.S. nonprofit that supports independent film from Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

GFI awards grants to deserving filmmakers and supports the touring film series, whose other venues include Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

“Global Lens brings the world to Lewiston, giving viewers fresh perspectives on issues that confront people around the globe,” says Anthony Shostak, education curator for the Bates College Museum of Art. “Seeing them with other members of the community, as opposed to sitting at home, provides an expanded opportunity to discuss these issues.”

Here’s the schedule for the remaining winter-spring Global Lens screenings:

  • Feb. 29: Dooman River depicts intensifying tensions between illegal North Korean immigrants and rural villagers on the Chinese side of the frozen river-border through the eyes of 12-year-old Chang-ho. While Chang-ho and his community are initially sympathetic toward refugees, mounting suspicion leaves Chang-ho torn between compassion and conflict. Directed by Chinese director Zhang Lu, the intricately detailed film has won multiple awards including the Jury Prize, Paris Cinema International Film Festival. (China, 2009, 89 min.)
  • March 5: Soul of Sand is a suspenseful and eccentric thriller, directed and written by New Delhi native Sidharth Srinivasan, that explores the dark intersection between Indian modernity and tradition. A powerless watchman who guards an abandoned mine reluctantly helps his landlord’s daughter and her lower-caste lover escape when she is offered to her father’s business partner as his wife. When a masked killer is dispatched to hunt the pair down, all are immersed in a visually striking world of danger, honor and hierarchy. (India, 2010, 98 min.)
  • March 7: Opera Jawa blends images of contemporary Indonesia with traditional Javanese dance, music and myth to tell the tale of Seyto and Siti — a husband and wife content until the local butcher seduces Siti. This sets the stage for an epic battle in lush forests and pristine beaches, based on “The Abduction of Sita” from the Hindu epic “The Ramayana.” Directed by Indonesian Garin Nugroho. (Indonesia, 2006, 120 min.)
  • March 12: Belvedere, set in a refugee camp after 15 years of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, paints a rich and uncommon portrait of the aftermath of war. Ruveyda is a widow who takes solace in routine: caring for her extended family and searching for the remains of her husband and son. But she is tested when her nephew is selected to participate in a reality show in a former enemy enclave. Directed by Ahmed Imamovic, the film explores themes of patience, faith, love and forgiveness. (Bosnia-Herzegovina, 2010, 90 min.)
  • March 14: The Light Thief is a contemporary tale of good and evil set in a wind-swept valley in Kyrgyzstan. Director Aktan Arym Kubat plays Mr. Light, a humble, trusting and compassionate village electrician who strikes a suspicious deal with a wealthy developer. With the dream of supplying wind-generated electricity to the valley and employment to his destitute neighbors, Mr. Light embodies goodwill and decency in a corrupt and changing world. (Kyrgyzstan, 2010, 80 min.)
  • March 19: Street Days uses humor and gritty realism to explore desperation, decline and moral dilemmas in modern Georgia. Checkie, a middle-aged and unemployed heroin addict, is blackmailed by corrupt policemen into introducing the son of their wealthy enemy to drugs. Making increasingly bad decisions, Checkie reunites with his wife to face his deteriorating options before a penultimate choice. Directed by Levan Koghuashvili. (Georgia, 2010, 86 min.)
  • March 21: The White Meadows a blend of fable and political critique set on the shores of a salt lake, follows Rahmat, a boatman who listens to people’s sorrows and collects their tears in vials to pour into the sea. But he remains powerless against a community that, in misguided attempts to appease the gods, inflicts multiple brutalities. Director Mohammad Rasoulof’s mesmerizing and surreal film won the AsiaAfrica Special Jury Prize and the Muhr AsiaAfrica Award for Best Director at the Dubai International Film Festival. (Iran, 2009, 93 min.)
  • March 26: The Invisible Eye explores surveillance, repression and insurrection during the 1980s military regime in Argentina. An assistant teacher at an elite Buenos Aires private school, the lonely and obedient María Teresa adopts the school’s totalitarian oversight policies. But she soon finds herself amidst a breakdown in structure and discipline at the school that mirrors the rebellion outside. Directed by Diego Lerman. (Argentina, 2010, 95 min.)
  • April 2: A Useful Life is a universally appealing tribute to the soul of cinema, set in Uruguay and filmed in black and white. When a local cinema closes due to dwindling support, loyal employee Jorge is forced to find a new passion and navigate his world beyond the screen. Director Federico Veiroj received an award for Best Director at the Valdivia International Film Festival. (Uruguay, 2010, 63 min.)


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