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Film series highlights social justice issues

On August 28, 2012

  • A still from the film, “Chico and Rita,” which was shown as part of the Beyond the Borders Film series this past Sunday. photo courtesy of

Linda Elman, associate professor of Spanish, was studying filmmaker Icíar Bollaín on her sabbatical when she learned of the Spanish Film Club, an organization that allows universities to apply for grants to host film festivals. Elman applied for and won a grant from Pragda Films, with support from the Secretary of State for Culture of Spain.
The grant allows for a series of five films to be shown at DePauw this semester. Elman, the series coordinator, and other modern language department members chose films related to courses offered this semester for Beyond the Borders. "An effort was made to have an interdisciplinary focus... and to reach out to various departments and organizations," Elman said.
The first Spanish film in the series, "Chico and Rita," was shown this Sunday. "Chico and Rita" is the story of a love that transcends greed, racism and a city lost to time. The movie is set in various backgrounds of 1948 Havana, Cuba, Las Vegas and New York. The 90-minute film was nominated last year in the Best Animated Feature category at the academy awards. While it did not win, it was the first Spanish film to be nominated in that category.
"Chico and Rita" is visually exciting and the music is wonderful," Elman said.
The Beyond the Borders films cover a diverse range of subject matter. For example, the next film, "The Death of Pinochet" (La Muerte de Pinochet), directed by Bettina Perut and Ivan Osnovikoff will be shown Sept. 9. The film covers the political upheaval and violence Chile faced after the death of their country's general in 2006.
"All these films deal with very human dilemmas and conditions: youth unemployment, racism, individual freedom, family dynamics, ethical questions and political oppression," Elman said.
The opening film was supplemented by live music in the lobby of the Pulliam Center before the show. However, viewers should not expect that before the other movies in the series.
The variance in film genres allows for a different experience at every event throughout the series.
"Students and others can expect to be entertained, to become more aware of important social justice issues...and to see first rate films for free," Elman said.
Members of DePauw's Committee for Latino Concerns were among Monday's viewing audience, including senior Vanessa Bernal. "It helps students get a view at films, not just American," said Bernal. Bernal said the film shown on Monday was interesting since it was a cartoon, but it was also a great discussion starter since it involved music and Latin America.
Senior Jorden Giger also attended the film screening and enjoyed the different cultural perspective that Beyond the Borders offered the audience.
"We often don't see the Afro-Latino experience in film in the U.S. To me, that was the best part about it," Giger said.
Additionally, Giger liked getting to see the Afro-Latino influence on various types of music and sounds, such as jazz and bee-bop.
According to Giger, the rest of the audience seemed pretty engaged throughout the film and the discussion panel afterward.
"There were a lot of [Latino] artists brought up that I wasn't familiar with...I enjoyed that a lot," Giger said.
All screenings are followed by a discussion with faculty and students.
On-campus sponsors include the School of Music, Film Studies, The Prindle Institute for Ethics, Committee for Latino Concerns, Sigma Delta Pi, and the modern languages department. More information and show times can be found at
"The Death of Pinochet" (La Muerte de Pinochet), directed by Bettina Perut and IvanOsnovikoff, will be shown on Sunday, Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. in Watson Forum.

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