International Film Series

I-House shows a free film the first and third Fridays of each month. This film series is brought to you by the United Nations Association of Davis. Refreshments are served at 7:30 p.m. Films begin at 8:00 p.m. In addition to our United Nations series, I-House offers a variety of mini film festivals throughout the year.

There is no charge, but donations are welcomed and gratefully accepted to help raise funds for UNA’s Adopt-a-Future campaign in cooperation with UNHCR to build classrooms in refugee camps in Kenya.

Please check the calendar for upcoming films.

In case you missed our movie night, or you have some suggestions for good movies, you can view a list of all movies we have shown so far: UNA IH Int films 1997 through Feb. 2016

Upcoming Film Information:

April 7, 2017  Fill The Void (2012, Israel, directed by Rama Burshtein, 90 min.)

Filmed in Tel Aviv’s ultra Orthodox Hasidic (Haredi) community ruled by religious law, tradition and the rabbi’s word, we enter the household of Aharon (Chayim Sharir) and Rivka (Irit Sheleg) Mendelman and their daughters Esther (Renana Raz) and Shira (Hadas Yaron). Esther, married to Yochay (Yiftach Klein) dies in childbirth; in addition to grieving, the family immediately starts thinking of solutions to the unanticipated dilemma of the baby Mordechai in need of a mother and the widower in need of a wife. When a widow in Belgium appears eager to take on this role, Rivka panics at the thought of losing her first grandchild and begins to urge Shira to marry her brother-in-law. While it is the custom to have their spouses chosen for them, women do have the right to refuse. Shira agonizes over her duty and the close family ties that are critical in her community – but ultimately goes to tell her rabbi that she is ready to marry Yochay. Director Burshtein did not grow up observant, but later became religious and gained the full trust of the Orthodox community. The actors are non-Orthodox Israelis. The film gives us a rare opportunity to observe a Haredi community in amazing detail while also presenting a tribute to the struggles of any family.

Previous Films Information:

March 17, 2017  Our Little Sister (2015, Japan, directed by Hirokazu Koreeda, 128 min.)

This is a film that captures the everyday pleasures and anguishes of family life. Three adult sisters, Sachi (Haruka Ayase), Yoshino (Masami Nagasawa) and Chika (Kaho) live in their grandmother’s seaside house in Kamakura, each with a job and hoping for romance. Their relatives are aunts and uncles; their parents left the family and do not figure prominently. At the funeral for their estranged father they meet teenage stepsister Suzu (Suzu Hirose), about whose existence they did not know. Seeing that Suzu’s circumstances are unhappy, they invite her to join their household. The older sisters enjoy showing Suzu favorite places, looking for shells on the beach, sharing special foods that remind them of past experiences, telling her about selective family history (while Suzu clues them in on their father’s infidelity) and helping her get on a soccer team. There are train rides and many long walks. The film is a series of vignettes rather than a plot-driven story, with happy moments as well as anger and sadness. “It is the kind of movie that encourages viewers to slow down and take stock of their lives’ defining little moments.” (#412)


March 3, 2017  Race (2016, Canada/Germany, directed by Stephen Hopkins, 134 min.)

The son of an Alabama sharecropper, Jesse Owens (Stephan James) got his schooling in Ohio starting at age 9 and early on stood out as an exceptional athlete. His name was James Cleveland Owens, called JC by his family – but a teacher misunderstood it as Jesse and the name stuck. With Larry Snyder (Jason Sudeikis) as a supportive coach, he excelled in track and field at The Ohio State University and despite controversy decided to participate in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Besides elite competition, he also had to face the brutal racial climate in Nazi Germany. He won four gold medals, thus becoming an Olympic legend that countered Hitler’s belief in Aryan supremacy yet did not win recognition from President Roosevelt. This is a film about courage, determination, trust, tolerance and intolerance, and friendship. Jeremy Irons stars as Avery Brundage, William Hurt as Jeremiah Mahoney, Shanice Banton as Jesse’s wife Ruth, Barnaby Metschurat as Joseph Goebbels and Clarice van Houten as Leni Riefenstahl who filmed the Olympics. The Owens family had input into the making of the film. (#411)


February 17, 2017  Chico & Rita (2010, Spain/UK, directed by Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal and Tono Errando, 94 min.)

This adult animated film, full of music and romance, will be shown as a late Valentine (and somewhat of an exception to our usual fare.) It’s a love story about Chico (Eman Xor Oña’s voice), a young piano player in 1940’s Havana and Rita (Limara Meneses’ voice), a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. They meet, fall in love and have great dreams about music careers–but aside from some happy moments, fate brings them heartache and separation. The story is set against backdrops of Havana, New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Paris and features the music of famous jazz and bebop musicians of the period. Betrayed by his friend Ramón (voiced by Mario Guerra), Chico is deported to Cuba, by then under Castro’s rule and forbidden to play “capitalist” music. Through a coincidence, he is discovered by a tourist many decades later, revives his music career and ultimately is reunited with Rita who has waited for him for 47 years. Music by Bebo Valdés, on whose life Chico was roughly based.


February 3, 2017  Noble (2015, Ireland, directed by Stephen Bradley, 100 min.)

This drama is about the inspirational story of Christina Noble, a children’s rights campaigner, charity worker and writer who believes one person can make a huge difference. Christina (Deirdre O’Kane as mature Christina) endured poverty, abuse and deception during her childhood in 1940’s Dublin (young Christina played by Gloria Cramer Curtis) and an equally difficult early adult life in the UK (middle Christina played by Sarah Greene). At the height of the Vietnam war, she has a dream that keeps haunting her, of Vietnamese children in distress calling out to her for help. In 1989 she flew to Ho Chi Minh City in pursuit of that dream. She faced many obstacles in her attempt to start a shelter for homeless children, but ultimately succeeded through tenacity and an indomitable spirit, with the help of Madame Linh (Nhu Quynh Nguyen) and Gerry Shaw (Brendan Coyle). Also with Mark Huberman as David Somers, and several convincing Vietnamese children. The Christina Noble Foundation continues today.


January 20, 2017  Timbuktu (2014, France/Mauritania, directed by Abderrahmane Sissako, 96 min.)

This drama portrays the brief occupation of Timbuktu, Mali, although it was filmed in Mauritania. The director was influenced by the report of a 2012 public stoning of an unmarried couple. “Timbuktu” captures the tug of war that people in West Africa and elsewhere feel between the forces of secularism and religious fundamentalism. The film embraces free will and tries to understand what influences and complicates the choices people make with that free will. The basic story line involves Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed), a herdsman living outside the city, Satima, his wife (Toulou Kiki), their 12-year old daughter Toya (Layla Walet Mohamed) and his cow “GPS.” The latter is killed by the fisherman whose nets the cow damaged. Kidane confronts the fisherman and accidentally shoots him. He is arrested by the jihadists and is required to pay 40 cattle to the dead man’s family, according to sharia law. Since Kidane only has seven cows left, he is sentenced to death. Difficult scenes of disrespect for women, indiscriminate brutality and destruction of cultural treasures by the jihadist occupiers alternate with beautiful images of desert scenery, touching conversations by Kidane and Toya, humorous depictions of how the population circumvents newly imposed rules and how the jihadists have trouble themselves adhering to some of their rules, and above all, dignity and defiance. One reviewer called it a “formidable statement of resistance.” Since Mauritania does not have a film industry, there are no professional actors. Additional cast members: Mehdi Ag Mohamed as Issan, Kettly Noel as Zabou, Abel Jafri as Abdelkarim, Fatoumata Diawara as La Chanteuse, Omar Haidara as Amadou and Damien Ndjie as Abu Jafar. Nominated for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. (#408)


November 4, 2016  The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014, USA, United Arab Emirates, India, directed by Lasse Halström, 122 min.)

Talented cook Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) and his family lead a life of culinary delights running a successful restaurant in India. Political upheaval results in the death of the mother and the ruin of the Kadam restaurant business. The family emigrates to Europe, first landing in the UK and soon seeking their fortune in France. Due to a car accident the family gets stuck in the village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in southern France, welcomed through a chance encounter by Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon). She is a sous-chef in a nearby restaurant, ”Le Saule Pleureur,” run by snobbish Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) who dreams of adding a star to her establishment’s haute cuisine rating in the Michelin Guide. Papa Kadam (Om Puri) finds the perfect location and building for an Indian restaurant, “Maison Mumbai,” – unfortunately directly across the street. An intense personal, cultural and culinary rivalry ensues between the two sides of the street, involving the mayor (Michel Blanc) and finally escalating to violence and xenophobic graffiti. Passions flare, inside the kitchens as well as outside, but eventually a promising solution is found, pleasing both the elders and the new generation’s chefs. Also with Amit Shah as Mansur, Farzana Dua Elahe as Mahira and Aria Pandya as Aisha.


October 21, 2016  Still Mine (2013, Canada, directed by Michael McGowan, 102 min.)

Craig Morrison (James Cromwell) is an 87-year old New Brunswick farmer determined to build a smaller and more convenient house for himself and his wife of 61 years, Irene (Geneviève Bujold), who is developing dementia. Based on a true story, the film thoughtfully and deliberately presents both the pride and the perils of aging, as well as the endless confrontations between the careful and thorough craftsman and the by-the-book building inspector.  “There’s some kind of regulation for everything these days,” comments Morrison. Two of their children (Rick Roberts and Julie Stewart) who live nearby want to help and provide more standard care for their mother when her memory becomes impaired, but the parents are stubborn and refuse to give up their independence. The real Mr. Morrison served as a consultant on the film. (#403)


October 7, 2016  Billy Elliot  (2000, UK/France, directed by Stephen Daldry, 110 min.)

The story takes place during the endless, violent 1984 strike against the Thatcher closure of British coal mines. Widower Jackie Elliott (Gary Lewis) and his eldest son and fellow miner Tony (Jamie Draven) take a dim view of 11-year old son Billy’s poor performance in boxing class. Meanwhile Billy (Jamie Bell) discovers his love for dance in a girls’ ballet class at the gym. He secretly gets private lessons from teacher Mrs. Wilkinson (Julie Walters) who recognizes his talent to train for trying out for the famous Royal Ballet audition. He gets encouragement from his grandmother (Jean Heywood) and schoolmate Michael (Stuart Wells). The prospect of a fancy dancing career eventually persuades father and brother to give their support as well. (#402)


September 16, 2016  Woman in Gold  (2015, UK, directed by Simon Curtis, 109 min.)

This film is the remarkable true story of one woman’s journey to reclaim her heritage and seek justice for what happened to her family. Sixty years after she fled Vienna during World War II, an elderly Jewish woman, Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), starts her journey to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis. Central to the stolen possessions is Gustav Klimt’s famous painting of Maria’s aunt, “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I.” Together with her inexperienced but determined young lawyer Randy Schoenberg, son of an old family friend and grandson of the composer (Ryan Reynolds), she embarks on a major legal battle that takes them all the way to the heart of the Austrian establishment and to the U.S. Supreme Court. With Daniel Brühl as Hubertus, Tatiana Maslany as young Maria, Max Irons as Fritz Altmann, Elizabeth McGovern as Judge Cooper and Jonathan Pryce as Chief Justice Rehnquist. (#401)


September 2, 2016  Rams (2015, Iceland, directed by Grimur Hákonarson, 92 min.)

Featuring life in a wind-swept, secluded valley in rural Iceland, this story about two brothers and their prized sheep flocks gives insights into a way of life experienced by the director’s family and by himself as a youth. Devoted to but more stubborn than their sheep, siblings Gummi (Sigurõur Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) live on the same land but have not spoken to each other for forty years; when necessary, occasional notes are delivered back and forth by Kiddi’s dog. When the veterinarian Katrin (Charlotte Boving) identifies a disease that has broken out among the sheep, authorities order the flocks to be destroyed. In their effort to save the breed from extinction, the brothers take unusual steps and eventually come to realize the importance of family relationships. The cast of sheep was carefully selected and it took five years to complete the film. This was Iceland’s official selection for the 2016 Academy Awards. (# 400)