International Cinema shows “ABC Africa” and other emotional films


    By Shelisa Payne

    The BYU International Cinema, located at the Varsity Theatre, brings to students the opportunity to see three unique films this week.

    ?Simply put, these are three great films,? said Anne Thomas, the secretary of International Cinema.

    The films this week are the heart-wrenching films ?ABC Africa,? new to the International Cinema this week, the award winning and highly requested film ?Microcosmos? and the charming German film ?Gute Reise.?

    ABC Africa

    Recording the tears and laughter, music and silence, life and death, this documentary attests to Africa?s resilience in the face of so much suffering and disease. Captured are the faces of thousands of children whose parents have died of AIDS.

    This documentary is an account of the AIDS-stricken Uganda and the group of women who helped care for 1.5 million orphans.

    Highly proclaimed Iranian director, Abbas Kiarostami and his assistant traveled to Kampala, Uganda at the request of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

    This film is a timely subject in the Persian language said Travis Anderson, director of the International cinema. ?Plus, [Kiarostami] is probably on of the top ten filmmakers in the world.?

    The director said the most powerful photography was of the children. He said the children loved the camera and would swarm around singing and dancing for them.

    For ten days, the crew, using two digital, handheld cameras, captured intimate, honest moments with a few of the millions of Ugandan orphans and AIDS patients, and show gritty, unconventional views of the war-torn country.


    ?It?s ?Jurassic Park? in your own backyard,? wrote Roger Ebert in a Chicago Sun-Times film review of ?Microcosmos.? Ebert said the battle between two beetles looks as gargantuan as the battling dinosaurs in ?Jurassic Park.?

    ?This is one of the parental favorites,? Anderson said.

    He said this film is shown in the Varsity Theatre every couple of years due to its popularity for families and its award-winning cinematography.

    The immense and fascinating world of bugs is explored in the film ?Microcosmos? directed by French biologist Claude Nuridsany and Marie Perennou. The focus of the documentary is a day in a French countryside meadow.

    This film shows thousands of insects ? beetles, ants, wasps, dragonflies, butterflies, snails, mosquitoes, and dozens of other bugs ? and tells their life stories.

    ??Microcosmos? is an amazing film that allows us to peer deeply into the insect world and marvel at creatures we casually condemn to squishing,? Ebert wrote.

    The reason to see this film is because of the technical mastery of the cinematography. The makers took three years to design their close-up cameras and magnifying glasses to capture the insects with incredible detail.

    They used slow motion and time-lapse photography to slow down or speed up processes like bees collecting nectar, snails mating, spiders wrapping their catch, caterpillars becoming butterflies and more.

    ?What ?Winged Migration? did for birds and ?Atlantis? did for life under the sea, ?Microcosmos? does for the insect world,? film critic Steven Greydanus said.

    With the exception of an introduction and conclusion, there is no human voice or character in the film, just the sound of nature.

    ?The images are so arresting that no running commentary is needed, just as a symphony needs no lyrics,? Greydanus said.

    Gute Reise

    ?Gute Reise? translated to ?Good Journey? is a German satire of a train ride where a traveler breaks down the barriers of social classes with his contagious passion for food. This film creates a fairy-tale world set off against a real background.

    Anderson said this is a fun film for chosen for it?s German origin.

    The story begins when a traveler arrives just in time to hop on to the departing train. The full compartment of travelers curiously watched this merry traveler take a virtually endless amount of food out of his ?magic bag.?

    ?One can never eat enough,? he said to the puzzled travelers.

    As he ate, he offered clever reasoning using medical and economical arguments to convince his disbelieving audience.

    Through his example, the traveler motivated others to join his luncheon by appealing to their secret physical and intellectual desires. The urge to eat became contagious and eventually the entire train car turns into a kitchen while the travelers eat and drink ? a perpetual festival takes place. The social barriers break down and the ?eating ideology? spreads. It got to the point where nobody cared that the conductor had disconnected the wagon somewhere out in the flatlands.

    ?It?s as if [the traveler] is relieving the people he meets of a great part of their inhibitions, their mutual mistrust, freeing them from their own limitations and their lethargy,? said Joerg Becker, a German film critic.

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