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Jul 8 2013

This year’s ICA Summer Film Festival, “Enacting Change: Stories of Courage and Resistance,” will feature films from around the world that depict inspiring stories of individuals who challenge the status quo and face adversity with bravery. 

Stanford’s Division of International, Comparative and Area Studies (ICA), which hosts the festival, has expanded the event to Cubberley Auditorium (485 Lasuen Mall), located on Stanford’s campus.  The festival’s offerings have expanded accordingly as well, with seven internationally renowned films representing nine countries and co-sponsored by a number of Stanford’s international programs and centers.

The festival offers Bay Area residents a chance to see international films that have received worldwide acclaim.  Starting July 3rd and running through August 14th, the Wednesday evening screenings will kick off with Volker Schlöndorff’s “Strike,” a docudrama about a nearly illiterate woman who becomes one of the founders of Poland’s Solidarity union.  The complex comedic drama “Repentance” will be shown the following week, and this feature-length satirical attack on Stalinism directed by Tengiz Abuladze revolves around the corpse of the mayor of a small Georgian town that just keeps turning up even after it has been buried.

The fantastic “Life, Above All,” showing on the festival’s third week is a touching drama about the enduring strength of a young girl as she struggles to save her family from prejudiced neighbors.  Continuing in the spirit of standing up to social injustice is “No,” directed by Pablo Larraín.  This Academy Award-nominated film follows a young ad executive’s campaign to defeat Augusto Pinochet during Chile’s 1988 referendum.

Those who enjoyed Stanford Professor Adam Johnson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Orphan Master’s Son, about life north of the Demilitarized Zone in Korea, will want to see “Seeking Haven,” a documentary by Hein S. Seok, which tells the story of Kim Young-soon, who escaped from North Korea to China and spent five years living in an underground haven before embarking on an eight-day trek to reach South Korea.

In August, director and Stanford lecturer Bahram Beyzaie will screen and discuss his debut film, “Downpour.”  This prize-winning film follows a young and humble teacher who arrives in Tehran for a new job in pre-revolutionary Iran.  Iranian Studies Director Abbas Milani will lead a discussion with Beyzaie following the screening.

“Well Done Abba!” will conclude the festival, and, like many of the other featured works, it is about fighting the powers that be.  This political satire directed by Shyam Benegal involves the hilarious mishaps and travails a Muslim chauffeur in Mumbai faces as he risks his job to find a groom for his daughter.

The screenings are Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m starting July 3rd and running through August 14th.  A Stanford affiliate will introduce each film and lead a post-show discussion.  The event is free and open to the public.  For descriptions and dates when each film will be shown, please visit