Albanian film ‘Amnesty’ opens autumn series of Global Lens screenings

Luli Bitri plays Elsa in the Global Lens film presentation “Amnesty.”

The Global Lens 2012 film series, a showcase of 10 award-winning international features, returns to Bates College in weekly screenings at 6 p.m. Mondays starting Sept. 17 in Room 104 of the Olin Arts Center, 75 Russell St.

Admission is $5. For a complete schedule of films, visit or call 207-786-8212. The series is sponsored by the Bates College Museum of Art.

Opening the series is Amnesty, made in 2011 by Albanian director Bujar Alimani. In the film, a new law allowing conjugal visits in Albanian prisons presents the opportunity for a sympathetic affair between a man and woman visiting their incarcerated spouses — until a prisoner amnesty threatens their fragile new bond (83 min.).

The 2012 series comprises films from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Rwanda and Turkey, as well as Albania. “Our community grows more diverse each year, and providing films from around the world helps everyone understand the similarities of the human condition and the particular challenges people face in various countries and cultures,” says Anthony Shostak, curator of education for the museum and coordinator of Global Lens at Bates.

“The lineup this year is really going to surprise audiences,” says Susan Weeks Coulter, chair of the Global Film Initiative Board of Directors. “The cinematics are strong, the tone is fresh and the stories are thought-provoking and unlike anything we’ve seen before.

“We’re thrilled to be screening them at the Bates College Museum of Art.”

This is is the fifth series of Global Lens films that the Bates museum has presented. Here’s the remainder of the autumn 2012 schedule:

  • Sept. 24: Craft (dir. Gustavo Pizzi, Brazil, 2010, 85 min.) — A struggling actress and celebrity impersonator lands an audition and what may be her “big break” after an inspired director recasts his film around her socially marginalized life as an underrated artist in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Oct. 1: Fat, Bald, Short Man (dir. Carlos Osuna, Colombia, 2011 91 min.) — The prospects for a lonely middle-aged notary unexpectedly change after he joins a self-improvement group and his charismatic new boss — and strangely affable doppelgänger — takes an interest in his life.
  • Oct. 8: The Finger (dir. Sergio Teubal, Argentina, 2011, 93 min.) — In the face of electoral fraud and intimidation, the severed finger of a respected local leader points the way forward for independent-minded citizens and their town’s quest for democracy after dictatorship.
  • Oct. 15: Grey Matter (dir. Kivu Ruhorahoza, Rwanda, 2011, 100 min.) — After government officials decline to support his project, a determined filmmaker enlists the support of a loan shark to finance his trenchant drama about the aftermath and impact of genocide on a brother and sister.
  • Oct. 29: Mourning (dir. Morteza Farshbaf, Iran, 2011, 85 min.) — In the wake of his parents’ disappearance, a young boy is placed in the care of his deaf aunt and uncle who, during a road trip to Tehran, engage in a silent but apparently not-so-secret debate about the child’s future.
  • Nov. 5: Pegasus (dir. Mohamed Mouftakir, Morocco, 2010, 104 min. — A young woman, traumatized by her dictatorial father’s insistence she be raised as a boy, finds herself the unwitting patient of a psychiatrist intent on learning the truth behind the girl’s story.
  • Nov. 12: The Prize (dir. Paula Markovitch, Argentina/Mexico, 2011, 99 min.) — A political activist’s life-in-hiding on an isolated stretch of Argentina’s coastline is jeopardized after her 7-year-old daughter is selected to participate in a local school’s patriotic essay contest.
  • Nov. 26: Qarantina (dir. Oday Rasheed, Iraq, 2010, 90 min.) — A sullen assassin, living above a dysfunctional family in Baghdad, captures the attention of the household’s unhappy mother, setting a dangerous stage for confrontation with the family’s lecherous father.
  • Dec. 3: Toll Booth (dir. Tolga Karaçelik, Turkey, 2010, 96 min. — An aging toll booth attendant, straining under the weight of a domineering father and suffocating work routine, finally begins to crack when faced with the emotional pressure of an unexpected romance.

The Global Film Initiative is a U.S.-based international arts organization specializing in the support of independent film from Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Founded in 2002 to promote cross-cultural understanding through the language of cinema, the initiative awards numerous grants to deserving filmmakers from around the world each year, and supports a touring film series entitled Global Lens.

Learn more.


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