One of the biggest societal casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic was moviegoing, where release dates were heavily pushed back, theaters shuttered and any films that were released saw greatly diminished box office grosses. At Eckerd, the popular International Cinema Series, a weekly string of free film screenings in Miller that count for CPS credit, was similarly canceled to the dismay of Triton cinephiles like me. Such a fun event series was always a highlight of my years at Eckerd, and to not experience it my entire junior year was deeply saddening.
However, on Sept. 9, Film Studies and Philosophy professor Nathan Anderson sent out a campus-wide email announcing the return of the International Cinema Series this fall! Screenings will occur at 7:00 PM at Miller every Friday, starting Sept. 17 and ending November 5. This year’s lineup is stacked with recent arthouse gems, foreign features, and films that debuted at festivals, all of which are sure to make for engaging Friday nights as well as the easiest way to get CPS credits. Allow me to preview this year’s selection of films for you:
Sept. 17: “Pig”
Michael Sarnoski’s directorial debut, this tale of a truffle hunter (Nicolas Cage) who seeks revenge on those who kidnapped his beloved foraging pig garnered immense praise upon its July release. Described as a calm, meditative story of vengeance with a powerful yet restrained performance from Cage, fans of moody mysteries and dramas will want to catch this as it opens the International Cinema Series.
Sept. 24: “Weathering With You”
An animated Japanese film about a boy who befriends a weather-controlling girl, this romantic flick is directed by Makoto Shinkai, who also helmed “Your Name,” a previous International Cinema Series feature. Environmental themes blend with tender relationships in a visually-striking story that’s sure to please any anime aficionados.
Oct. 1: “Mandibles”
A French dark comedy about two slackers who find a giant fly in a car trunk and decide to train it, this film is for anyone into the bizarre and surreal. A surefire conversation starter that kicks off October in perfectly macabre fashion, don’t miss what is sure to be the oddest part of the Series. Just don’t recreate it in the pet-friendly dorms.
Oct. 8: “Riders of Justice”
On the heels of Denmark’s Oscar win for Best International Feature Film, star Mads Mikkelsen returns for a gritty thriller where he searches for the person who caused a train crash that killed his wife after a mathematician survivor claims it was no accident. A powerful depiction of loss and reasoning that also critiques toxic masculinity, this is a wrenching experience that manages to excite without spectacular action set pieces, though it's not without its visceral moments.
Oct. 15: “Chungking Express”
Wong Kar-Wai’s modern classic of two policemen’s interwoven lives and romances will probably be familiar to International Cinema students. Lovers of Hong Kong art cinema can get the chance to see this film on the big screen, while anyone new to Kar-Wai’s cinematic trademarks is in for an enthralling, music-fueled experience.
Oct. 22: “Fallen Angels”
Another Wong Kar-Wai production, this time set in the grimy Hong Kong criminal underworld. Contrasting with the previous week’s lighthearted and cheery “Chungking Express”, get ready to dive into a darker, dimmer story that maintains the interconnected-lives-and-love storytelling typical of Kar-Wai’s films, but with more danger and despair.
Oct. 29: “In the Earth”
Just in time for Halloween, horror auteur Ben Wheatley’s timely virus chiller seeps into the International Cinema Series for some well-needed frights. Chronicling a post-apocalyptic world where a scientist’s supply run goes horribly wrong, this Sundance Film Festival entry is sure to provide all the spooky entertainment Eckerd needs to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve.
Nov. 5: “Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes”
Closing out the International Cinema Series is a comedic sci-fi mind-bender about a cafe TV that shows images from two minutes in the future. Shot entirely on an iPhone, a concept born from an acting workshop, this Japanese indie film promises a complex yet hysterical experience and a pleasing end to the Series.