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“Das Perfekte Geheimnis" is the first movie in the Foreign Language Film Night festival. (Photo: Constantin Film) “Das Perfekte Geheimnis" is the first movie in the Foreign Language Film Night festival. (Photo: Constantin Film)

Festival Offers Six Films in Six Languages – Free Via Zoom

Co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters and the San Diego Public Library, the mini-series seeks to shine a light on diversity.
By SDSU News Team

San Diego State University and the San Diego Public Library are partnering together to celebrate the many languages of Southern California with a foreign-language film festival mini-series, open to the public via free streaming.

The series begins Wednesday, Jan. 27 with the German film “Das Perfekte Geheimnis (The Perfect Secret),” the first of six movies that will be followed by a presentation from an SDSU faculty member and a local community member from the film’s country of origin. They will discuss the cultural features of the film and their own immigrant experiences.

Foreign Language Film Night and the new Languages of SoCal Film Series were created by SDSU’s Language Acquisition Resource Center (LARC). Films in the new mini-series schedule include features from Iraq, Lebanon and South Korea.

This is the first time the festival has been expanded to offer access to the broader community along with discussions after each film. (Additional titles in the series and information for registering can be found below.)

A Nigerian film in the series is in English; all of the others are presented with English subtitles.

“The ultimate goal is to shine light on the diversity of our community and strengthen our bonds through getting to know each other, our cultures, and how they weave together the fabric of Southern California,” said Stacy Nyikos, LARC program manager and founder of the film series.

Mat Schulze, professor of German and SDSU-LARC director, and Marco Neu, director of consulting services for software company Nuance, will join the discussion after the first film in the series, an ensemble comedy set at a dinner party.

“I am looking forward to the discussion of intercultural commonalities and differences after the film,” said Schulze. “Worldwide, German cinema is not particularly well known for its comedies. So, what would be better than a German comedy to zoom in on topics of human interaction, beliefs, and community in different cultural environments.”

Neu expressed enthusiasm and surprise at how the series has already revealed to him the difference between watching German movies before and after he relocated to the U.S. “It was interesting to see how I could represent both cultures equally and how certain content in the movie triggers things differently in me now,” Neu said.

The fall 2020 edition of the LARC foreign film series was a welcome relief to students during this period of virtual learning.

Chinese language student Phuong Cao, who watched “The Farewell” as part of a course, said, “You do not know how much the movie meant to me. The film that was shown through the series was something that I looked forward to during the fall semester.”

Student Sama Bakour Aziz said, “Having the chance to watch and discuss 'Willkommen in Deutschland' was a wonderful way to not only practice my German listening skills, but also to immerse myself in the cultural aspects of daily life. Whether it be small things like the way windows open in Germany, or more substantial things like the way a community views race, the film helped me dive deeper into the cultural nuances of modern day Germany, and also brought back many memories of my own time spent there.”

Here are the dates, titles and discussion participants for the six films featuring SDSU faculty discussion. All will be presented via Zoom from 6:30 to 9 p.m. PST.

Jan. 27: “Das Perfekte Geheimnis” (Germany 2019, in German)
Register for the Zoom meeting presentation here.
Mat Schulze, professor of German and SDSU-LARC Director, and Marco Neu, director of consulting services at software company, Nuance.

Feb. 17: “Miriam Miente” (Dominican Republic 2019, in Spanish)
Cristian Aquino-Sterling, associate dean of diversity and international affairs SDSU College of Education, and Patricia McGregor, theater director, playwright and performer in San Diego, currently working on a piece at UCSD.

Mar. 3: “1982” (Lebanon 2020, in Levantine Arabic)
Iman Bakour-Aziz, Levantine, MSA instructor at SDSU-LARC, and Maha Gebara-Lamb, biostatistician and instructor at MiraCosta College and member of AMEMSA+ (Arab, Middle Eastern, Moslem, South Asian, plus group).

Mar. 24: “Mosul” (Iraq 2019, in Iraqi Arabic)
Shak Hanish, professor of political science at National University, and Ghadah Al Saadi, instructor of Iraqi/MSA at SDSU-LARC (who was born in Mosul).

Apr. 7: “Love is War”
(Nigeria 2020, in English)
Niyi Coker, director of the School of Theater, Television, and Film at SDSU, and Ihuoma Nwaogwugwu, competency engineer for 3D printing at HP, and lead actor Richard Mofe-Damijo.
Apr. 28: “Innocence” (South Korea 2020, in Korean)
Insook Kang, Korean instructor at SDSU, and Jimi Kim, South Korean film expert and lecturer.

Additional information about the film series and can be found here, which will also publish registration links for each film.