Murray State's Cinema International will present its first Chilean film of the 2020 season this weekend. Director of Cinema International, Dr. Thérèse St. Paul, visits the Sounds Good studio to discuss the upcoming screening of Niñas Araña (or Spider Thieves).
"Three teenagers from 'Toma Modelo de Peñalolen,' the biggest shantytown in Chile, obsessed with the view of a wealthy suburb that faces theirs, and influenced by magazines, TV ads, and the outdoors surrounding them, dream about having the same. Based on true events."
Spider Thieves is a rough translation. The original Chilean title is Niñas Arana, literally meaning 'spider girls.' Like Spiderman, St. Paul explains. "This is a movie based on true events in Chile. The director, Guillermo Helo, said that what really makes this story different is that it's about thirteen-year-old girls. They're treated as children. Children do things sometimes outside the law, but you can't really penalize them too much for that, so this is really what it's about."
The film is more than a story of thrill-seeking, law-breaking teens. "You have all this social-economic context," St. Paul says. "This [film] is not about delinquency - a 'poor me' type of movie. It really is about the life of three girls who want a better life for themselves. That's really the metaphor: climbing. They are climbing high rises in the wealthy part of town to get what they want. They enjoy that because it's thrilling. It gives them a feeling of being a part of something that they don't know how on earth they could ever be a part of."
"[The girls] are smart," St. Paul continues. "How they get into these apartments is based on their wit. Of course, we have our topic, 'women in film,' this semester. Indeed, this film is sponsored by the Women Faculty Caucus. We'll have some people coming to discuss...Spanish colleagues, as well as someone from the Women Faculty Caucus to talk about the issues with women in this [film].
I think this film raises a few questions that could be discussed. Are we creating delinquents? Consumerism definitely separates the haves and have nots. Women are part of this. There are some strong characters in the movie; there are also some weak characters. There's an issue between mothers and daughters, daughters wanting not to be like their mothers. The struggle for money, but not necessarily in a legal way. But what are their options?"
Spider Thieves will be presented on Thursday, March 5th, and Saturday, March 7th. March 5th's screening will take place on the third floor of the Curris Center in the Barkley Room. (Note: the location of the Thursday screening has changed since last week.) March 7th's screening will take place in the Curris Center Theater.
Both screenings are at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information on MSU's Cinema International program, including how to donate online, visit the Murray State website.
"We [at Cinema International] really want to open eyes on the world. Cinema offers handpicked films that have been praised by the critics, have won awards, are definitely indie...at times they're more largely known, but [we have] a mix that's quite unique around here. That's, I think, the beauty of the cinema. That's why I like to be a part of it," St. Paul concludes.