The Spring 2016 International Film Festival, sponsored by the Lamar University’s French Circle, will take place with a screening each Wednesday in April. The festival opens April 6 with “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” and continues, April 13 with “Where Do We Go Now?,” April 20 with “M,” and concludes April 27 with “Timbuktu.” The films begin at 7 p.m. in 113 Communication Building. Admission is free and open to everyone.

women_on_the_verge_of_a_nervous_breakdown_posterFrench professor Kenneth Rivers, now retired, founded the French Film Festival many years ago. When Caitlin Duerler, instructor of French, took over the event, she decided to change the format.

“This year’s film festival, I wanted to expand more into international film,” she said. “I wanted to give the students more variety than just French films.”

During the planning stages, Duerler said she reached out to several faculty members, including Clinton Rawls and Mahmoud Salimi from communication, and Maria Elena Sandovici from social and behavioral sciences.

“I love to be entertained,” Rawls said. “Film is a way that entertains everyone. These varieties of films are windows into different cultures.”

It was not hard for the group to choose the movies, Sandovici said.

“This film is a little more risqué than others we have seen,” she said. “We have seen everything from the movie about Coco Chanel and her really raunchy sex scenes to a French slasher that was really gruesome with a brilliant twist at the end.”

"Where do we go now"

“Where do we go now”

“Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” is a 1988 Spanish film by Pedro Almodovar.

“This is my favorite movie of all times,” Sandovici said. “It’s crazy, it’s fun, it’s aesthetically pleasing.”

The film features a young Antonio Banderas that stutters over his on-screen crush. Sandovici said the film is a Spanish lesson through a poem.

“It really is a magical film,” she said.

The Lebanese film “Where Do We Go Now?” showcases this peaceful living between Christians and Muslims until a series of slights and misunderstandings stir the pot for the men of the small Lebanese village. The women come together to try to mend the relationships for the men but were unsuccessful. In their final attempts to making the men reconcile their differences, the women make a deep sacrifice in the name of peace.

The German film “M,” set in the final days of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Nazi Germany, centers around Hans Beckert, a serial killer who preys on children and becomes the focus of a massive Berlin police manhunt. Beckert’s crimes are so monstrous that both cop and criminals join forces to chase him down.  He quickly realizes that all parties are on the lookout for him causing him to make a flustered attempt to escape the justice system. This film shows the disadvantages of having the criminals and the cops join the team, blurring the lines and rules of the justice system.



“Timbuktu” is a Mauritania film produced in 2014, and features a family that lives outside the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu. A cattle-herding family of four live peacefully in a dune while the city so close to them is living in turmoil and controlled by the Jihadists. With much of their daily activities banned in the city, the city suffers insane punishment delivered by a daily-improvised court.

Kidane and his family, the cattle-herding family, have been spared that restricted lifestyle until their destiny changes brusquely.

“Spending time with the faculty outside of the classroom creates a good atmosphere for the university,” Sandovici said.  “It gives the student a really nice approach, non awkward approach to hang out with the instructors,” she said.

Duerler said her hope for the festival is to alternate one semester with a French Film Festival and one semester opening up to the international side.

“I want to create a community on campus,” she said. “Lamar is doing a great job with student engagements. I was to set a precedence in the French community and attract more people.”

Sandovici said that film helps viewers gain more empathy to others.

“When you learn more about other places, you become a better human being and helps you become more of a responsible, global citizen,” she said.




“These international films expand our minds and open up the lines of communication, not just between peers but also between students and professors. My hope from this film festival is to create curiosity within people’s mind.”

Allison Pipkins

UP contributor

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