World Film Forum to bring classic stories of coming home

October 22, 2013  

Amarcord movie poster

Federico Fellini's "Amarcord" ("I Remember") on Nov. 5 will open the 2013 World Film Forum. (Image provided)
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The World Film Forum is offering stimulating contrasts of tone and mood in three warmly imagined homecomings in free movie presentations on Nov. 5, 12 and 19 at the historic Lafayette Theater.

The Fall 2013 series, "Fantasy & Reality: The Magic of the Movies," will be presented on those Tuesdays with expert introductions and post-screening guided discussions, as well as free popcorn and a cash bar. For each event, doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the introduction will begin at 7 p.m. Programs will end by 9:30 p.m. The two films not in English will have English subtitles.

The series sponsors are the Film and Video Studies Program, the Confucius Institute at Purdue, and the School of Languages and Cultures. The Lafayette Theater is at 600 Main St. in downtown Lafayette.

Antonia Syson, World Film Forum coordinator and assistant professor of classics, says the films bring a sense of wonder to everyday life.

"Our series title pays tribute to the almost magical power of these superb films to conjure new realms of experience for their audience, to use cinematic tricks to transport us into the past or to faraway places," Syson explains. "These films look at basic realities that many of us would recognize: growing up, trying to understand your origins and family, working out what really matters to you. But they enlarge and intensify those realities with elements of fantasy and excess. They show us how to marvel at the little metal pegs that mend a broken bowl, or at a bizarrely located telephone booth."

For more information about the film forum, contact Syson at Following are brief descriptions of each evening and its film. Further details are at

Nov. 5 -- "Amarcord" ("I Remember") directed by Federico Fellini

Doors open: 6:30 p.m. Program: 7-9:30 p.m.

1974, Italy, comedy/drama, 127 minutes, English subtitles. Certificate: R (children under 17 require accompanying parent or adult guardian).
Presenter: Ben Lawton, associate professor of Italian and film and video studies

Federico Fellini is acknowledged as one of the most important directors of all time, thanks to masterpieces such as "La Strada," "La Dolce Vita" and "8½," films in which he revolutionized the language of cinema. The line between fantasy and reality, always blurred in his films, dissolves completely in "Amarcord" (“I Remember” in his native dialect), his dreamlike reinvention of several years of his youth. He compresses into one magical year a series of both humorous and poignant vignettes about coming of age during Mussolini’s Fascist dictatorship in Italy.

Fellini’s personages are never-to-be-forgotten caricatures, types, manifestations of some aspect of the human condition, not characters in any traditional sense. As in all his films, he challenges the myths connected with the traditional vision of the family, church, aristocracy, jet set, and -- here more than elsewhere -- Fascism. The haunting, evocative music is by Nino Rota, of "Godfather" fame.

Nov. 12 -- "I Know Where I'm Going!" directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Doors open: 6:30 p.m. Program: 7-9:30 p.m.

1945, UK, drama/comedy, 88 min., not rated  
Presenter: Antonia Syson, assistant professor of classics

Two travelers heading for different reasons toward the same remote island find themselves confronting forces that are both benevolent and obstructive: the magical power of wishes and curses, the practical constraints of life in wartime, the unpredictable Scottish weather -- and most of all, their own desires.

The film combines location filming on land and sea with cinematic sleight of hand. "I've never seen a picture which smelled of the wind and rain in quite this way nor one which so beautifully exploited the kind of scenery people actually live with," wrote Raymond Chandler in a letter of 1950. Martin Scorsese, describing his lifelong passion for the stunningly gorgeous and innovative films that Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger made together in the '30s and '40s (most famously "The Red Shoes"), has said, "I reached the point of thinking there were no more masterpieces to discover, until I saw 'I Know Where I'm Going!'"

Nov. 19 -- "The Road Home" directed by Yimou Zhang

Doors open: 6:30 p.m. Program: 7-9:30 p.m.

1999, China, drama/romance, 89 min., English subtitles, rated G
Presenters: Wei Hong, professor of Chinese and director of the Confucius Institute at Purdue, with Yuhan Huang and Meng Wang, PhD students in comparative literature

In the award-winning film "The Road Home" (original title: "My Father and My Mother"), a poignant love story from the past gives new meaning to the present.

In a small village in northern China, a young city businessman has returned home to attend his father's funeral. He finds that his mother insists on the traditional burial custom of carrying his father's body back to the village on foot, but there is a problem: due to the village's depopulation, there are not enough men left to walk in the cortège. The energy and will to solve the problem must come from bringing to life again the passionate love and loyalty elicited by the man whose death they are mourning. Director Yimou Zhang shapes this touching film with both steady simplicity and joyful artistry.

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