Special Showing

Let the Fire Burn

Wednesday, February 10 at 7pm

This film is shown as part of the Davis Center Social Change Film Series. This series is sponsored by the Williams College Davis Center.

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Let the Fire Burn

Winner of Best Editing in a Documentary Feature and Special Jury Mention for Best New Documentary Director at the Tribeca Film Festival.

On May 13, 1985, a longtime feud between the city of Philadelphia and controversial radical urban group MOVE came to a deadly climax. By order of local authorities, police dropped military-grade explosives onto a MOVE-occupied rowhouse. TV cameras captured the conflagration that quickly escalated—and resulted in the tragic deaths of eleven people (including five children) and the destruction of 61 homes. It was only later discovered that authorities decided to “...let the fire burn.” Using only archival news coverage and interviews, first-time filmmaker Osder has brought to life one of the most tumultuous and largely forgotten clashes between government and citizens in modern American history.

  • Director: Jason Osder
  • Runtime: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Genre: Documentary

“Has the force of a courtroom thriller... ripples with moral complexity.”

– Screen International

This film is shown as part of the Davis Center Social Change Film Series. This series is sponsored by the Williams College Davis Center.

Special Showing

Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts 2016

Saturday, February 13 and 14

See all of this year's Oscar-nominated Animated Shorts!

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Oscar Nominated Shorts - Animation

Sanjay’s Super Team – dir. Sanjay Patel, USA, 7 minutes
In the new short film from Pixar Animation Studios, accomplished artist Sanjay Patel, uses his own experience to tell the story of a young, first-generation Indian-American boy whose love for western pop-culture comes into conflict with his father’s traditions. Sanjay is absorbed in the world of cartoons and comics, while his father tries to draw him into the traditions of his Hindu practice. Tedium and reluctance quickly turn into an awe-inspiring adventure as the boy embarks on a journey he never imagined, returning with a new perspective that they can both embrace.

World of Tomorrow – dir. Don Hertzfeldt, USA, 17 minutes
A little girl named Emily is taken on a fantastical tour of her distant future by a surprising visitor who reveals unnerving secrets about humanity's fate.

Bear Story – dir. Gabriel Osorio, Chile, 11 minutes
Every day, a melancholy old bear takes a mechanical diorama that he has created out to his street corner. For a coin, passersby can look into the peephole of his invention, which tells the story of a circus bear who longs to escape and return to the family from which he was taken.

We Can’t Live Without Cosmos – dir. Konstantin Bronzit, Russia, 16 minutes
Two best friends have dreamed since childhood of becoming cosmonauts, and together they endure the rigors of training and public scrutiny, and make the sacrifices necessary to achieve their shared goal.

Prologue – dir. Richard Williams, UK, 6 minutes
Clocking in at six minutes, PROLOGUE describes an incident in the Spartan-Athenian wars of 2,400 years ago. In it, a small girl bears witness as warriors battle to death. The dialog-free project utilizes natural sounds to complement the intense animation (entirely animated by Richard Williams himself). Williams - who is best known for his work as animation director on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, his unfinished feature “The Thief and the Cobbler” and Academy Award-winning “A Christmas Carol" adaptation - has worked on PROLOGUE for many years in between other projects. It was finally completed this year at the Aardman Studios in Bristol, U.K.

ADDITIONAL FILM: If I Was God – dir. Cordell Baker, Canada, 9 minutes
While dissecting a frog in Biology class, a 12-year-old boy who senses the approaching power of adulthood speculates about what he would do if he were God. This darkly whimsical, semi-autobiographical 3D animated short was directed by two-time Oscar®-nominated animator and long-time NFB filmmaker Cordell Barker.

ADDITIONAL FILM: The Short Story of a Fox and a Mouse – France, 7 minutes
A hungry grey fox sets out for a morning hunt, hoping to find a tasty rodent to snack on. But the mouse he finds is no ordinary mouse...

ADDITIONAL FILM: The Loneliest Spotlight – dir. Bill Plympton, USA, 6 minutes
The life and times of a neglected stoplight, voiced by Patton Oswalt.

ADDITIONAL FILM: Catch It – France, 5 minutes
A group of meerkats takes care of its beloved and unique fruit near their burrow, but a vulture intends to disturb their peace of mind. A chase begins in the savannah.

  • Rating: All ages (with the exception of PROLOGUE)
  • Runtime: 1 hour 26 minutes
  • Genre: Animation

Film Series

French Film Festival

Mondays, February 15 through 29

Recent French and Francophone film presented by the Center for Foreign Languages. All films are in French with English subtitles. Admission is Free.

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Camille Claudel 1915

Starring: Juliette Binoche

Protege and former lover to Rodin, Camille Claudel awaits a visit from her brother after her family commits her to an asylum in the South of France in the winter of 1915.

  • Director: Bruno Dumont
  • Runtime: 1 hour 37 minutes
  • Genre: Drama

“A passionate dialogue between science (Mr. Dumont) and art (Ms. Binoche), in which art comes out ahead.”

– New York Times

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Abuse of Weakness/ Abus de faiblesse

Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Kool Shen, Laurence Ursino

Inspired by director Catherine Breillat’s (FAT GIRL, ROMANCE) true life experiences, her latest film, ABUSE OF WEAKNESS, is an exploration of power and sex. Isabelle Huppert (THE PIANO TEACHER, 8 WOMEN) stars as Maud, a strong willed filmmaker who suffers a stroke. Bedridden, but determined to pursue her latest film project, she sees Vilko (Kool Shen), a con man who swindles celebrities, on a TV talk show. Interested in him for her new film, the two meet and Maud soon finds herself falling for Vilko’s manipulative charm as their parasitic relationship hurdles out of control.

  • Director: Catherine Breillat
  • Runtime: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Genre: Drama

“Huppert gives a virtuoso performance here — not only because she deftly meets the extreme physical challenges of her role, but by playing Maud with unabashed humor and heart.”

– Indiewire

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Girlhood/ Bande de filles

Starring: Karidja Touré, Assa Sylla, Lindsay Karamoh

Preceeded at 6:15pm by La noiraude, a 30 minute short.

Fed up with her abusive family situation, lack of school prospects and the “boys’ law” in the neighborhood, Marieme starts a new life after meeting a group of three free-spirited girls. She changes her name, her style, drops out of school and starts stealing to be accepted into the gang. When her home situation becomes unbearable, Marieme seeks solace in an older man who promises her money and protection. Realizing this sort of lifestyle will never result in the freedom and independence she truly desires, she finally decides to take matters into her own hands.

  • Director: Céline Sciamma
  • Runtime: 1 hour 53 minutes
  • Genre: Drama

“Girlhood's non-patronising and credible representation of class, race and gender is a rare and perceptive illustration of the intricacies of social inequality.”

– CineVue

This film festival is presented and sponsored by the Williams College Department of Romance Languages and the Center for Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. The Tournées Festival was made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, the Centre National de la Cinématographie et de l’Image Animée, and the Franco-American Cultural Fund.

Special Showing

Kevin B. Lee and the Video Essay

Saturday, February 27 at 1pm

Williams’ graduate Kevin B. Lee (English ’97) has been described as the “king of the video essay” by the New York Times. Riding the new wave of personalized media enabled by digital technology and social media, video essays are an interactive phenomenon that is part film criticism, part fan letter and remarkably creative. Lee will screen several video essays, including his own acclaimed Transformers: The Premake, which has screened at film festivals worldwide, and discuss the history and mission of this emerging genre.

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Kevin B. Lee and the Video Essay

Riding the new wave of personalized media enabled by digital technology and social media, video essays are an interactive phenomenon that is part film criticism, part fan letter and remarkably creative. Lee will screen several video essays, including his own acclaimed Transformers: The Premake, which has screened at film festivals worldwide, and discuss the history and mission of this emerging genre.

Co-Presented by Williams College Alumni Relations

Special Showing

The Dream of Shahrazad

Wednesday, March 9 at 7pm

This installment of the Davis Center Social Change Film Series is a documentary about the Egyptian revolution. Admission is free.

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The Dream of Shahrazad

This documentary locates political expression before, during and after the Egyptian revolution – and also within recent times in Turkey and Lebanon. Using the metaphor of Shahrazad, the princess in the Arabian Nights who saves lives by telling stories to the murderous Sultan Shahriyar, it weaves together a web of music, politics and storytelling to explore the ways in which creativity and political articulation coincide in response to oppression.

  • Director: François Verster
  • Runtime: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Genre: Documentary

“The Dream of Shahrazad isn’t a documentary that reflects on the past or looks forward towards the future; instead, it’s something deeply grounded in the present – and the issues surrounding the imperatives raised through movements such as the Arab Spring.”

– 4:3 Film

The Davis Center Social Justice Film Series is sponsored by the Williams College Davis Center.