The fifth annual Seton Hall International Film Festival is in full swing this fall. Sponsored by the Languages, Literatures and Cultures Department and the Office of International Programs, the festival features 11 films from 11 different countries and will be shown throughout October and November.
The films are shown with English subtitles and free pizza is served. Hosted in the Global Learning Center in Fahy 202, the event offers students a chance to see films not traditionally shown in theaters.
Michael Stone, director of the Global Learning Center (formerly the Language Resource Center) and coordinator of the event, started the festival five years ago to create an enjoyable way for students to study languages and get immersed in other cultures.
Stone explained the benefit for students of foreign languages to have more exposure to their language of choice. “All students, regardless of their major or interest, should recognize that studying a foreign language can be important to their future career as well as their own personal enrichment,” he said. “Many graduates have reported on the importance that employers place on proficiency in another language and knowledge of other cultures.”
The film festival has been expanding throughout its five years at Seton Hall.
“Last year, at a student’s suggestion, we added a movie from India even though Hindi is not one of the ten languages we offer at Seton Hall,” Stone said. “This year we’ve also added a film from Korea.”
Each film has been recommended by the faculty of each language program. Some are classics and some are more recent.
“While the themes vary, they tend to be stories that reflect people’s lives rather than action films or blockbusters,” Stone said. “However, nearly all the films have won awards for their artistic achievements.”
Kelsey Harris, a junior diplomacy and modern languages major, said she believes the festival is a great way to immerse herself in a variety of languages and she is thankful for the Global Learning Center for providing this opportunity.
Harris saw “Santa y Andres,” a film featured from Cuba about the friendship between a peasant girl and a gay writer.
“I admired the fact that a friendship formed from between both protagonists even though their backgrounds were completely different from one another,” Harris said. “In essence, two people from completely different worlds were able to connect with one other.”
Mikalia Morris, a senior diplomacy and international relations major, said she has seen every film except one.
“These films are more of the slice of life genre,” Morris said. “They’re not over-exaggerated or cliché.”
Morris said her movie favorite so far was the showing of “Youth,” the film featured from China that examines the lives of teenagers in the Chinese military after the Communist revolution.
She said she is currently looking forward to the showing of “Chihayafura: Kami No Ku,” a Japanese film about a boy hoping to become Japan’s best karuta (a traditional Japanese card game) player, which will be shown on Oct. 28.
Morris said, “It’s often hard to communicate with others of different cultures, but art has always had a way of making that easier. I think everyone can connect to art in some way.”
Bianca Stover can be reached at email@example.com.