CORVALLIS - Political intrigue. Romance. Corruption. History. Murder. Sex. Nostalgia. Heroism. Sentimentality. And, of course, insects.
The 21st annual International Film Series at Oregon State University is offering it all. Opening in October, the series offers a variety of contemporary films about society, relationships and...insects.
The series is sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and the Department of English at OSU. It is designed to bring international and art house films to campus that traditionally have not been readily available in the mid-Willamette Valley.
Leading off the fall term schedule is "The Boxer," another collaboration between director Jim Sheridan and actor Daniel Day-Lewis. The tale of a former boxer and ex-IRA member trying to recover his life after 14 years in prison is the duo's third film together, following "My Left Foot" and "In the Name of the Father." It will be shown Oct. 2-3.
Another film of note is "Oscar and Lucinda," directed by Australian filmmaker Gillian Armstrong. Showing Oct. 9-10, the film stars Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett as two 19th century Australian gamblers and their encounters with life, love and fate.
And then there is "Microcosmos," an extraordinary film by a pair of French biologists, which examines the active insect world. Offered as "a day in the life of a French meadow abuzz," the film became the surprise art house hit of 1996. It will be shown Oct. 23-24.
The series is also offering a classic this term. "The Third Man," Sir Carol Reed's 1949 post-World War II tale of intrigue and corruption, helped usher in the Cold War, the golden age of film noir, and an era of cinematic paranoia. It will conclude the fall term schedule Dec. 4-5, and will be offered for half price "in appreciation of film series patrons," organizers say.
All films will be shown in Gilfillan Auditorium in OSU's Wilkinson Hall for $3, except "The Third Man," offered at half price.
A complete fall term schedule follows:
- Oct. 2-3
"The Boxer," by Jim Sheridan (Ireland, 1997) - The story of a former professional boxer and ex-IRA member who struggles to recover his life after spending 14 years in prison, this film reunites actor Daniel Day-Lewis with filmmaker Jim Sheridan, who previously collaborated on "My Left Foot" and "In the Name of the Father." Friday and Saturday, 7 and 9:30 p.m.
- Oct. 9-10
"Oscar and Lucinda," by Gillian Armstrong (U.S.-Australia, 1997) - A wry, beguiling romantic tale about two 19th century gamblers, played by Cate Blanchett and Ralph Fiennes, the film is a quirky, dazzling period piece about fate, life and love. Friday and Saturday, 7 and 9:30 p.m.
- Oct. 16-17
"Underground," by Emir Kusturica (France-Serbia, 1997) - A thundering epic spanning 60 years of Yugoslavian history, this winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes chronicles an absurd relationship between two buddies while providing a stunning look at life in the former nation. One critic called the genre-bending film a combination of "a bouquet of flowers and a punch in the face." Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. only.
- Oct. 23-24
"Microcosmos," by Marie Perennou and Claude Nuridsany (France, 1996) - A surprise art house hit of 1996, the film documents the world of insects - a day in the life of a French meadow. French biologists Nuridsany and Perennou used sophisticated camera equipment to deftly and entertainingly present the alien world above, below and around us. Friday and Saturday, 7 and 9 p.m.
- Oct. 30-31
"Deep Crimson," by Arturo Ripstein (Mexico, 1997) - This perverse tale of murder and love from Mexico's premier filmmaker centers around an obese, nearly insane nurse who leaves her children to join a balding con man preying on "lonely and desperate spinsters and widows." This portrait of jarring contrasts explores the fine boundary between the grotesque and the sublime. Friday and Saturday, 7 and 9:30 p.m.
- Nov. 6-7
"Kicking and Screaming," by Noah Baumbach (U.S., 1995) - An intelligent look at the post-college, 20-something generation that doesn't degenerate into a mockery of self-absorption, drugs and cheap sex. Friday and Saturday, 7 and 9 p.m.
- Nov. 13-14
"Life is Sweet," by Mike Leigh (Great Britain, 1991) - An early comedic film by the director of "Secrets and Lies," this tale of a working class couple, their twin daughters, and the family's meal-time rituals won best picture award from the National Society of Film Critics. Friday and Saturday, 7 and 9 p.m.
- Nov. 20-21
"Girls Town," by Jim McKay (U.S., 1996) - A direct, honest story about relationships between young women - co-written by the film's young stars - this tale about three teens seeking strength in solidarity and self-discovery after a friend's death earned both the Filmmaker's Trophy and the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Friday and Saturday, 7 and 9:30 p.m.
- Dec. 4-5
"The Third Man," by Sir Carol Reed (Great Britain, 1949) - This story of post-World War II intrigue and corruption was one of the first films to explore the nuances of the Cold War and helped usher in the golden age of film noir and cinematic paranoia. In appreciation for film series patrons, admission to "The Third Man" will be half-price, $1.50. Friday and Saturday, 7 and 9:30 p.m.