Global Lens Series Exposes Viewers To Different Cultures

Texas Tech students viewed “Modest Reception,” an Iranian film, last Thursday. The film was showcased as a part of the Global Lens series.

According to the Global Film Initiative, the program was created to promote cross-cultural understanding through the medium of cinema.

Students watched the mysterious pair, Leila and Kaveh, travel Tehran’s mountainous terrain. The couple does this in a Lexus coupe with big bags of money in the back. Leila and Kaveh attempt to give away all their money to disadvantaged locals. However, the task turns out to be more difficult than they thought.

The duo becomes creative to entice the locals to take their money. Along the journey, Leila and Kaveh get carried away with their mission.

Director Mani Haghighi leaves the main characters in a precarious situation, but never shows their fate. Haghighi leaves many aspects of the film up to the audience’s interpretation.
ssistant professor Robert Peaslee said the interpretation is a part of the film. Also, the abrupt change in tone is a meditation on how power corrupts, Peaslee said.

“Each of the five years there has been a Global Lens film from Iran,” Peaslee said. “That is a situation where you have overt state control, and there is a great deal at stake for the filmmakers who are pursuing artistic vision.”

Iranian doctoral student Mehrnaz Rahimi said the pressure government places on people causes them to rebel. This subtle form of rebellion is what has conceived Iran’s rich film culture.

“It’s good because they’ll get to know my country better than just watching news or from movies made by non-Iranians,” Rahimi said.

She said “Modest Reception” is a welcome departure because she feels Iranians are misrepresented too often.

However, the film was bittersweet because it gave her homesickness, Rahimi said.

Peaslee said people who have seen a film from their home country at the Global Lens events have appreciated the experience. More than anything, they enjoy seeing a film in their native tongue, he said

For the majority of the audience that does not understand a language, Peaslee feels the discussions after the films are helpful, he said.

“They help contextualize the film a bit and gives audiences a chance to ask questions of people who maybe know something about the area or the culture or film making,” Peaslee said.

Rahimi said she loved teaching people about Iranian people and culture because it helps the audience relate to her and other Iranians.

She said she thinks Global Lens does a good job engaging viewers by coupling the film with a discussion.

Peaslee said he believes the discussion is an aspect to the Global Lens Initiative many others who showcase the films do not do. This helps accomplish their goals more fully, he said.

“The whole point of it is to bring international cinema to American audiences,” Peaslee said, “particularly young American audiences.”

According to the College of Media and Communication website, there are four films left in the Spring 2013 Global Lens Film Festival.

The next film will be shown today at 6 p.m., April 11, in Room 083 of the College of Media and Communication. It is a Serbian film called “The Parade,” about a tense alliance between a group of gay activists and a Serbian crime boss.

About Dawit Haile
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