Film Festival to share “Love, or Lack Thereof”

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By Tia Sprengel, Managing Editor

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Illinois Wesleyan University’s Office of Student Activities has collaborated with professors and students alike to host an International Film Festival.

The festival’s three films, following the theme “Love, or Lack Thereof,” will be shown, one each day, throughout the weekend in the Hansen Student Center.

Associate professor of French and Italian Scott Sheridan, coordinator of the International Film Series, said the planning committee had taken this week’s upcoming romantic holiday into consideration when choosing the festival’s theme.

“They thought the theme would be funny.  The idea of ‘love’ or ‘lack thereof’ allowed for a broad interpretation of possible Valentine’s Day films for those who love the holiday and those who hate it,” Sheridan said. “It’s interesting to see how ‘foreign’ films exhibit different cultural perspectives and consequently put a different spin on love than the typical American ‘romantic’ comedy.”

The first film of the series, Love Me If You Dare, is scheduled to air at Hansen tonight at 6:30 p.m. This French film shows the love/hate relationship between best friends Julien and Sophie. As they come to recognize a budding romance, they use outlandish and sometimes reckless dares to divert their attention, which have untold consequences later in their lives. “This ain’t your grandma’s favorite French film,” Sheridan said.

The second film, The Red Violin, will be shown in Hansen tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 11, at 2:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Inspired by the connection between love and music, this film tells the story of a perfect violin passing from owner to owner for over three centuries.

Sheridan recommends students make time to go to at least one of the showings. “It’s one of my personal favorites, and quite frankly, I think it’s one of the most beautiful films ever made.  Period,” Sheridan said.

The third and final film is Moscow Doesn’t Believe in Tears, which will be shown Sunday, Feb. 12, at 2:00 p.m. This film takes a look at the nature of romantic love for three women living behind the Iron Curtain from the late 1950s to the late 1970s. It examines their dreams, aspirations, and eventual disillusionment, showing just how similar love can be even across a harsh divide.

“If we are to believe popular legend, supposedly President Ronald Reagan watched the movie several times to gain a better understanding of ‘the mysterious Russian soul,’ as he prepared to meet with USSR President Gorbachev,” Sheridan said.

Colin Stewart, director of Student Activities and one of the collaborators of the festival, believes seasoned cinema-goers and newcomers to the foreign film scene alike will find an aspect to enjoy. “The films are all very different and hit many different regions around the world. There is something for everyone,” Stewart said.

According to senior Devaki Soman, a member of the IWU International Society, there is a more important aspect to showing foreign films on campus than just entertainment. “It is definitely in your best interest to explore different cultures but also necessary that we do, especially given the society we live in. What better place to delve into this than college? A setting where you’re surrounded by individuals from different cultures and usually interacting with them in some capacity or another,” Soman said.