MSU Cinema International Kicks Off Season with New Zealand Outlaw Comedy

Aug 21, 2019

Murray State's Cinema International program has been a long-loved staple of the MSU community, bringing thoughtful, comedic, and inspiring films of every genre and from every country to the western Kentucky campus. Director of Cinema International, Dr. Thérèse Saint Paul, visits Sounds Good to discuss the program's new schedule and upcoming screenings. 

NOTICE: 

Due to Curris Center reorganization, MSU Cinema International will only host two screenings per weekend. This week and next week, screenings will take place on Thursday on Friday nights. Thursday screenings will take place in the Curris Center Barkley Room; Friday screenings will take place in the Curris Center Theatre. 

Starting on September 5th, screenings will take place on Thursday and Saturday nights. Screening locations will remain the same until the weekend of September 26th. On that weekend and for the rest of the season, BOTH Thursday and Saturday showings will take place in the Curris Center Theatre. 

The 2017 Cinema International season focused mainly on French films. In 2018, several Spanish films were selected for the season schedule. For Fall 2019, Cinema International has selected a variety of German, Belgian, Japanese, and Chinese films. "I never really choose a theme as such, sometimes they just emerge," Saint Paul explains. "Partly because I discuss with colleagues, and I ask them around the campus, 'what are your interests this semester? What are you teaching? What do you want to discuss?' Sometimes, that makes a theme. We will have themes next semester [that] are a little more pronounced. This time, I think it's going to be -- as usual -- a bit of politics, a lot of social context in different countries and different eras -- because we have period pieces too. So social interaction, there's a lot of things with children because we like to see how children are reacting to life in different cultures. So there's a mix of comedy and, I'd say, tragedy. There's a lot of politics and social issues that will come up." 

The 2019 season focuses on a variety of relevant issues, such as feminism in Mademoiselle Paradis, set in Mozart-era Vienna, and the political and social ramifications of the Berlin Wall in Westwind and Die Architekten. "The wall," Saint Paul explains, "because this, 2019, celebrates the 30th anniversary of the fall of the wall, so two of [the films] are actually going to be centered around that."

Kicking off the 2019 Cinema International season is 2016 New Zealand film, Hunt for the Wilderpeople. From the Cinema International schedule: 

"Hunt for the Wilderpeople appeals to young people and adults alike. The story deals with survival in the wilderness (cf. Into the Wild, Leave No Trace), and includes all the entertaining genre tropes from outlaw films e.g. Thelma and Louise, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, and Badlands. It is about two misfits in modern society. Ricky, a rebellious 12-year-old Maori boy raised in foster care and a grumpy "uncle" Hec (Sam Neill). Stylistically compelling, the movie, written and directed by New Zealander Taika Waititi, is an adaptation of the popular Barry Crump novel Wild Pork and Watercress. It is a mixture of profundity and tenderness, crankiness, and humor. Hunt for the Wilder People has been a huge audience favorite with its brand of dark New Zealand humor, an adventure story that goes not merely off the rails, but off-road and off-grid." 

"Some of you might know [Waititi]. We showed a movie by him a few semesters ago that's called What We Do in the Shadows. It's like a horror mockumentary from 2014," Saint Paul explains. "He's been compared to Wes Anderson. He's a very interesting New Zealander. His name shows that he's Maori or has some Maori ancestry. He has an interesting trajectory...here, [he's] being compared to Wes Anderson because it's a bit off the wall, just like What We Do in the Shadows was, too. He's playing on New Zealand cliché -- the kiwi image of the rough hillbilly, mostly male, that live out there. And then, he puts it all in the frame of children...Wes Anderson is famous for Moonrise Kingdom. Here, it's the story of a young boy who is Maori and who is being, basically, put into the welfare system. [Hunt for the Wilderpeople] is the story of [Ricky and Uncle Hec] as they have to take to the Bush to escape some officials who want to put [Ricky] into foster homes and he doesn't want that." 

"There's an interesting dialogue, some comic and, at the same time, extremely human. Waititi creates a real good balance between humanity and comedy. The characters are lovable, but the context really gives you some messages, and this is what we need to discuss after," Saint Paul concludes. 

Screenings for Hunt for The Wilderpeople will take place on Thursday, August 22nd in the Curris Center Barkley Room (third floor to the left of the theatre) and Friday, August 23rd in the Curris Center Theatre. Both shows start at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on Cinema International's upcoming shows, visit the Murray State website. You can also contact Dr. Thérèse Saint Paul at tsaintpaul@murraystate.edu. Donations to Cinema International can be made by contacting Lucy Love at llove@murraystate.edu in the Office of Development. You may also make a secure online gift to Cinema International by selecting "Other" as the gift designation and indicating "Cinema International" in the comment section, here: murraystate.edu/givenow.