"Zama" (2017) centers on a Spanish colonial administrator who was born in South America. The title character waits for a letter from the Spanish king that would grant him a transfer from the small town in which he is stagnating to Buenos Aires. Zama’s situation is delicate, and he must ensure that nothing interferes with his transfer. He is forced to submissively accept every task entrusted to him by successive Governors, who come and go as he stays behind. When Zama finally realizes that no letter is coming, he joins a party of soldiers in pursuing a dangerous bandit. Based Antonio Di Benedetto’s 1956 novel of the same name, "Zama" has been described as “beautiful, hypnotic, mysterious and elliptical.”
Eloi Grasset (Spanish and Portuguese, UCSB) joined moderator Cristina Venegas (Film and Media Studies, UCSB) for a post-screening discussion.
Shot over five years by exiled Iraqi director Kasim Abid, documentary "Life After the Fall" (2008) is the story of one Iraqi family after Saddam Hussein’s fall. As the film unfolds they move from celebrating the fall to struggling against growing despair as the country falls apart and violence moves ever closer. As the coalition forces and insurgents move in, the family falls farther apart. The film won awards from the Munich International Documentary Film Festival, the Arab Film Festival Rotterdam, the Arab Film Festival California and the Gulf Film Festival.
The film was followed by a panel discussion on “Storytelling from Iraq,” with novelist Sinan Antoon and journalist Leila Fadel, moderated by Mona Damluji (Film & Media Studies, UCSB).
Written and directed by Wes Anderson, The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) is a hilarious, touching and brilliantly stylized study of melancholy and redemption. Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) and his wife Etheline (Angelica Huston) have three prodigiously-talented children: math genius Chas (Ben Stiller), playwright Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), and tennis star Richie (Luke Wilson). But when Royal abandons his family, all memory of the brilliance of the young Tenenbaums is subsequently forgotten over the course of two decades of betrayal, failure, and disaster. The Royal Tenenbaums is the story of the family’s sudden, unexpected reunion when Royal reappears, claiming to have a terminal illness, and ultimately reconciles with his family.
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow joined Pollock Theater Director Matt Ryan for a post-screening discussion.
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"The Adventures of Prince Achmed" (Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed, 1926) is one of the best known films that uses a silhouette animation technique, in which cutout figures come to life through the remarkable color prismatic manipulation of light. The story of the film is based on the “Tale of the Magic Horse” from The Arabian Nights. It features an evil sorcerer who tricks Prince Achmed into mounting a magical flying horse that kidnaps its rider by flight to a faraway land. But the prince foils the evil plan and soars headlong into a series of wondrous adventures, joining forces with Aladdin and the Witch of the Flaming Mountains, doing battle with the evil sorcerer’s army of monsters and demons, and falling in love with the beautiful Princess Pari Banu.
Novelist, critic and cultural historian Marina Warner joined moderator Peter Bloom (Film and Media Studies, UCSB) for a post-screening discussion.
In this final installment of his trilogy of Shakespeare adaptations, Vishal Bhardwaj reimagines Shakespeare’s Hamlet as a contemporary crime drama. Haider, a young student and poet, returns home to Kashmir on receiving news of his father’s disappearance. Not only does he learn that security forces have detained his father on charges of harboring militants, but that his mother is having an affair with her brother-in-law. Haider’s discovery that his treacherous uncle was actually responsible for his father’s gruesome murder propels him into a quest for vengeance.
Priya Jaikumar (Cinema and Media Studies, USC) joined moderator Bhaskar Sarkar (Film and Media Studies, UCSB) for a post-screening discussion.