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ICA 2011 Film Festival

2011 ICA Summer Film Festival—A World of Laughter

June 23—September 15, 2011

“Life literally abounds in comedy if you just look around you.”

—Mel Brooks

The ability to make someone laugh with you, to share a moment of unabashed mirth, is a wonderful gift.  When people share a genuine laugh, barriers of language, class, gender, and religion can be erased instantaneously, if only for a moment.  This laughter may stem from the absurd or slapstick, the cutting or insightful, but it always disarms the viewer and includes them in the fun.  This year, the Division of International, Comparative, and Area Studies brings you six films from around the globe whose directors apply this gift of laughter to a variety of subjects and situations.  Travel the world with us to experience the humor that infects us all, to share a good laugh, and to be reminded that wherever we are, there is always something to make us smile.

Thursday, 6/23/2011                         7:00 p.m.

Building 200, Room 002

White Wedding, South Africa, 2009, PG-13

93 mins. (English/Zulu/Xhosa/Afrikaans with English subtitles)

The loyal, committed and very decent Elvis (Kenneth Nkosi) leaves Johannesburg on Tuesday en route to pick up his best friend and best man Tumi (Rapulana Seiphemo) in Durban. The two will then journey on to Cape Town to begin rehearsals for Elvis’s wedding to the beautiful Ayanda (Zandile Msutwana) at an upmarket hotel in glamorous palm-fringed Camps Bay under the cloak of Table Mountain.  But things don’t go according to plan. Tumi, a serial flirt, has a spat with his girlfriend that leads to his car being rendered unusable; eventually the duo get on their way but Tumi’s short-cuts don’t end up making up for lost time.  As Tumi and Elvis struggle to find their way through the Eastern Cape they are picked up by Rose (Jodie Whittaker), a young English doctor who fled the altar after discovering her fiancée was serially unfaithful to her. Now there’s an unlikely trio on the road, with romantic sparks igniting between the flirtatious Tumi and their spirited British companion. Who knows if they’ll make it on time, whether the wedding will be delayed or cancelled or come perilously close to not even happening if Ayanda ditches dependable Elvis for dashing Tony, the township boy turned flashy entrepreneur.  “White Wedding” is an appealing, feel-good movie about love, commitment, intimacy and friendship and the host of maddening obstacles that can get in the way of a happy ending. Uplifting and at times uproarious this is a movie that affirms the dream that romance can overcome any obstacle.

Sponsored by the Center for African Studies

Introduction by Laura Hubbard, Associate Director, Center for African Studies

Free and open to the public


Thursday, 7/14/2011                         7:00 p.m.

Building 200, Room 002

Raise the Castle, Japan, 2005, not rated

60 mins. (Japanese with English subtitles)

A cross between Kurosawa and Python!  The samurai lord, Ondaiji, travels 400 years to fulfill his dream of raising a castle.  He finds an understanding professor, dim town officials, a mysterious old lady, and happy-go-lucky tramps who suggest the best material for the castle is cardboard!

Sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies                          

Introduction by John Groschwitz, Associate Director, Center for East Asian Studies

Free and open to the public


Thursday, 7/28/2011                         7:00 p.m.

Building 200, Room 002

Peculiarities of the National Hunt, Russia, 1995, not rated

93 mins. (French/German/English/Finnish/Russian with English subtitles)

A Finn preparing a work on Russian hunting traditions and customs comes to Russia to collect materials and is invited to take part in a hunting party. His flamboyant companions include an Army general, with more than a passing resemblance to Aleksander Lebed, a police detective, local forest ranger (a devotee of Zen Buddhism) and some big-city types from St. Petersburg. Inevitably, their good intentions soon give way to endless drinking, visits to local farm girls and much else besides.

Sponsored by the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies

Introduction by Tom Roberts, Introduction to the Humanities Fellow

Free and open to the public


Thursday, 8/11/2011                         7:00 p.m.

Building 200, Room 002

Nora's Will, Mexico, 2008, not rated 92 mins. (Spanish/Hebrew with English subtitles)

This story begins when Jose finds out that Nora, the woman he'd been married to for 30 years and then divorced, has committed suicide. The rabbi explains to Jose that due to the celebration of the Passover festivities, together with a few other factors, if Nora is not buried that same day, they will have to wait almost five days to be able to carry out the burial. It turns out that before she died, Nora devised a Machiavellian plan in order for him to take care of her funeral. But she missed something, a mysterious photograph left under the bed will lead to an unexpected outcome which will remind us that sometimes the greatest love stories are hidden in the smallest places.

Sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies

Introduction by Adan Griego, Curator, Latin American/Iberian Collections, Stanford Libraries

Free and open to the public


Thursday, 8/18/2011                         7:00 p.m.

Building 200, Room 002

Kebab Connection, Germany, 2004, not rated

96 mins. (German/Greek/Turkish with English subtitles)

In Hamburg, Ibrahim "Ibo" Secmez, of Turkish descent, wants to direct the first German kung-fu movie. For now, he makes commercials for his uncle's kebab restaurant. Titzie, an aspiring actress and Ibo's German girlfriend, finds she's pregnant. Ibo is uncertain about fatherhood - compounded by his father's disowning him for getting a German girl pregnant - so Titzie sends him packing. He makes attempts at getting it right, but as the birth approaches, he's still not ready. In the background are three thugs in search of good tripe soup and a Capulet-Montegue feud between the kebab joint and a Greek taverna across the street. Can Ibo be the glove upon that hand?

Sponsored by the Abbasi Program Islamic Studies and the Mediterranean Studies Forum

Introduction by Burcu Karahan, Lecturer, Department of Comparative Literature

Free and open to the public


Thursday, 9/15/2011                         7:00 p.m. 

Building 200, Room 002

Bheja Fry, India, 2007, not rated

95 mins. (Hindi with English subtitles)

Ranjeet Thadani lives a wealthy lifestyle in Mumbai along with his wife, Sheetal, who is a singer, while he manages Soundtrack Industries. At the request of his friend, Jagdish Verma, he decides to invite a singer and Libran, Bharat Bhushan, to his residence for dinner, as well as listen to him sing. Ranjeet, suffering from back pain, does not realize that Bharat is also an Income-Tax Inspector, and upon arrival at Ranjeet's residence, will virtually and hilariously turn his life upside down.

Sponsored by the Center for South Asia

Introduction by Sangeeta Mediratta, Associate Director, Center for South Asia