Exploring the Importance of Truth: MSU Cinema International Previews 2023-24 Season
The 2023-24 season of Murray State's Cinema International program, which provides free screenings of international films to the MSU and local community, centers around a theme of truth-telling. The films featured this season deal with finding one's inner truth, the dangers of misinformation, and the element of trust within interpersonal relationships. Tracy Ross speaks to program director Dr. Thérèse St. Paul to preview the upcoming season.
"This semester, we were lucky enough to have another Spanish grant, so we will have five Spanish-speaking movies, and In the Heights is one of them," St. Paul begins. "It obviously happens in the United States in upper Manhattan. It's based on a play by Lin Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes and adapted by Jon Chu. Overall, it centers on the area of the Puerto Rican, Dominican neighborhood of upper Manhattan in New York City."
"In my opinion, it's a bit of a revamp of West Side Story," St. Paul continues. "It doesn't have as much of a love story as in the original play and in West Side Story, but it does have a cute approach where children have quite a presence and imagination, and everybody seems to have little dreams for a better life. So In the Heights is very much a love letter to the Washington Heights neighborhood of upper Manhattan, especially an homage to the diverse Latinx communities that live there."
St. Paul says that although she did not curate this season with a theme in mind, one did reveal itself after the season's completion: truth-telling. "Whether it is truth on a personal level, talking someone's truth, to political or guided by economic interest hiding of the truth, disinformation, corruption of the media for political or economic interests," St. Paul explains.
"We will see that in some movies, there's also the idea of truth in free speech like we have in the case of The People Vs. Larry Flynt. We have a movie called Miriam Lies, which already shows that some people are pushed to lie out of fear of social pressures. And the truth is usually best."
"There's La Soledad, for instance, a Venezuelan movie where someone's trying to carve a life for themselves in the turmoil of contemporary Venezuela and trying to stay truthful to one's love of the place. We also happen to have the English department sponsoring a movie documentary on James Baldwin called I Am Not Your Negro. It's the truth about the voice of James Baldwin, an important African-American writer. And then the last one we could see an issue of truth appearing is a Japanese movie called Wife of a Spy, where a woman is suspicious of her husband possibly being a spy for the United States during WWII in Japan."
MSU Cinema International screenings take place in Faculty Hall Room 208 on Thursdays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. The screenings are free and open to the public. The first Cinema International screening is of In the Heights this Thursday, August 24, and Saturday, August 26.
For more information on the Cinema International program, including how to donate, visit its website.