Sunday, September 28, 2014

Come join us for the last film of the Spanish language film festival at AU - Monday night at 7 pm!

Sebastián Borensztein / Argentina, Spain / 98 min / 2012 / Spanish and Mandarin with English subtitles
Monday, September 29, 2014 Auditorium 7:00 PM

Argentina's national treasure, Ricardo Darín, plays Roberto, a gruff, anti-social loner who lords over his tiny hardware shop in Buenos Aires with a meticulous sense of control and routine, barely allowing for the slightest of customer foibles. After a chance encounter with Jun, a Chinese man who has arrived in Argentina looking for his only living relative, Roberto takes him in. Their unusual cohabitation helps Roberto bring an end to his loneliness, but not without revealing to the impassive Jun that destiny's intersections are many and they can even divulge the film's surreal opening sequence: a brindled cow falling from the sky.
The Spanish language film festival has been made possible thanks to the generosity of the Pragda Spanish Film club grant and thanks to the collaboration of the Departments of Foreign Languages, English, History and Political Sciences, Global Education, The Center for Nonviolence, AU Core, Philosophy Club and Phi Sigma Iota.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Senior Alli Combs writes about her recent travels to Ecuador

Hola compañer@s!

Sorry for such a delay!  No, I did not get lost nor did I run away to live in the beautiful country that is Ecuador (as much as I would have loved to!).  Rather, I experienced issues with the Wifi where I was staying for the last two weeks and then I jumped straight into my senior year here at AU!  So here we go--a quick summary of my last two weeks in Ecuador and my experiences with culture shock as I returned home.

My third week, I lived with an incredible host family only fifteen minutes from the orphanage.  They spoiled me by offering me a true insider's view of la vida quiteña.  We went to go see a movie at the theater in the mall, where my host family bought me my host father's favorite movie snack!  For those curious minds out there, it was nachos and cheese!  The next morning, we all got up early to go for a walk at the old airport, which was converted into a park for the community when the new airport was built about 45 minutes away.  The day after that, we just relaxed in the house while my host sister unpacked from living elsewhere all summer for her job.  We also spent an evening at La Ronda, which is like an night-time street fair full of cultural richness and delicious foods.  When we went, we got an empanada filled with cheese, covered with sugar and roughly the size of a 6 month old infant!  We then proceeded to wash it down with hot chocolate in mugs the size of a soup bowl.  Needless to say, I didn't have any problem washing one down and look forward to the next time I get one!  

At the beginning of my fourth week, my host family took me to Otavalo to shop the artisanal market and we made some other pitstops as well, including the city where my host father grew up to learn more about him and eat at a typical Ecuadorian ice cream parlor!  It was so interesting to be able to see the place where his brothers and sisters went to school and where his father worked when he was young.  It was one of those experiences that makes you feel like a part of the family, if that makes any sense.  After that, it made it even more difficult to want to leave them, so I stayed an extra night with them and had the opportunity to visit with some family friends of theirs.  As it turns out, the mother lived in the states for a few years and her seventeen year old son will be spending this year in the States for study abroad!

My last week, I spent some time with the kids in the home as usual, but tried to begin to distance myself so as to make it less painful for all of us when I left. On my last full day in Ecuador, the kids in the toddler house had a party for all the volunteers who would be leaving.  We got them hyped up on a little bit of candy then played musical chairs.  It was hard to have a good time at the party, though, because I remembered that they went through goodbye parties like this all the time and, even though they affected my life in such a huge way, I truly doubt any of those kids will ever remember me.  If anything, though, that is just going to drive me towards my goals of returning one day even more.   The reason it motivates me is because I want so desperately to be one source of continuity in their consistently disrupted lives.

Since I've been back in the States, I've been swept up by the "do it now or do it never" mentality that we Americans seem to thrive off.  At first, it was really rough, having just spent a month in a culture that emphasizes not taking things too seriously.  Add that to just missing the children, the language, the people encountered on a daily basis, and the general friendliness of the culture and you have a fun time of reverse-culture shock on your hands.  It's hard to be back here, studying my life away to obtain a degree that I started to help myself achieve my dream when I had to leave that dream in order to finish college, but I know it's all for a purpose.  Until then, I'll just be thankful for my friends who speak Spanish and for Skype to keep me in contact with those I left behind.

Thanks for all the support everyone has given me before, during, and after my trip!  You have no idea how much you've helped me.  Until next time!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Senior Alli Combs receives ADVANCED MID on her OPI! Congratulations Alli!

Join us for an amazing documentary tonight!

WHO IS DAYANI CRISTAL? (¿Quién es Dayani Cristal?)
Marc Silver / Mexico, USA / 85 min / 2014 / English and Spanish with English subtitles 
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 Ronk Shar Lecture 7:00 PM
Deep in the sun-blistered Sonora desert beneath a cicada tree, Arizona border police discover a decom
posing male body. Lifting a tattered T-shirt they expose a tattoo that reads “Dayani Cristal.” Who is this person? What brought him here? How did he die? And who—or what—is Dayani Cristal? Following a team of dedicated forensic anthropologists from the Pima County Morgue in Arizona, director Marc Silver seeks to answer these questions and give this anonymous man an identity. As the forensic investigation unfolds, Mexican actor and activist Gael Garcia Bernal retraces this man’s steps along the migrant trail in Central America. In an effort to understand what it must have felt like to make this final journey, he embeds himself among migrant travelers on their own mission to cross the border. He experiences first-hand the dangers they face and learns of their motivations, hopes and fears. As we travel north, these voices from the other side of the border wall give us a rare insight into the human stories, which are so often ignored in the immigration debate. Winner of the Sundance 2013 Cinematography award and nominated in the World Documentary Competition, Who Is Dayani Cristal? shows how one life becomes testimony to the tragic results of the U.S. war on immigration.

The Spanish language film festival has been made possible thanks to the generosity of the Pragda Spanish Film club grant and thanks to the collaboration of the Departments of Foreign Languages, English, History and Political Sciences, Global Education, The Center for Nonviolence, AU Core, Philosophy Club and Phi Sigma Iota.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dr. Gray releases monograph!

Please congratulate Dr. Richard Gray on his recent publication -  he just published his monograph Francophone African Poetry and Drama: A Cultural History since the 1960s. 

The Preface reads:

"I would be negligent if I did not acknowledge the individuals who have supported me throughout the research and writing phases of this book. Thank you to the staff at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris who illuminated my experience during my visit in 2012. The vast collection of African art objects held there served as the inspiration for my research. I would like to thank my departmental colleagues Jen, Bill, Barb, Mary, and Lina for respecting the time restrictions under which this project had placed me. Thank you to my students who helped me to develop my ideas in the courses that I taught in French and Francophone literature and culture in the Spring 2013 and Fall 2013 semesters at Denison University and at Ashland University. Thank you to my close friend and colleague, Mike, who has always pushed me to research and to write even when I have been under the yoke of a heavy teaching load. Thank you to my parents, my in-laws, my sister and her family. You have helped me in more ways that you will ever know. My most heartfelt thanks go to my wife, Andrea, and to my four children, Geneviève, Madeleine, Catherine, and RJ. Andrea, you have provided continuous support for my teaching and scholarship and have helped me to navigate the road of life. Geneviève, Madeleine, Catherine, and RJ, you are the future of this planet. I sincerely hope that one day you will inherit the world that Nelson Mandela had envisioned; one that is full of peace, hope, and love." (Preface)

Thank you Dr. Gray for sharing your expertise 
with Ashland University!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Join us tonight for the screening of The Return

THE RETURN (El Regreso)
Hernán Jiménez / Costa Rica / 95 min / 2011 / Spanish with English subtitles
Monday, September 15, 2014 Auditorium 7:00 PM
The Return is the story of a delightful and life-changing journey back to Costa Rica. After living 10 years in New York, 30 year-old Antonio returns to San José where he is forced to deal with the realities he ran away from. He is welcomed by his intense sister, Amanda--whose husband recently abandoned her--and their young son Inti--who is apprehensive about Antonio’s presence. When things take an unexpected turn, Antonio is forced to remain home far longer than he had anticipated.

The Spanish language film festival has been made possible thanks to the generosity of the Pragda Spanish Film club grant  and thanks to the collaboration of the Departments of Foreign Languages, English, History and Political Sciences, Global Education, The Center for Nonviolence, AU Core, Philosophy Club and Phi Sigma Iota.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Alumni update!

French minor and 2014 AU graduate Margaret (Meg) Collier and Dr. Gray visit before Meg's trip abroad to France this fall where she will teach English for 7 months through the Teaching Assistant Program in France! Best of luck Meg!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Join us tonight 9/10/14 for the screening of Even the Rain!

EVEN THE RAIN (También la Lluvia)
Icíar Bollaín / Spain / 104 min / 2011 / Spanish with English subtitles
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 Ronk Shar Lecture 7 PM
Filmmaker Sebastián (Gael García Bernal) and his cynical producer Costa (Luis Tosar) arrive in Cochabamba, Bolivia to make a film about Columbus’s voyage to the New World and the subjugation of the indigenous population. Just as filming begins, the natives face a crisis when the government privatizes the water company and prices skyrocket. Daily protests erupt and the local man cast as a rebellious sixteenth century Taino chief, also becomes a leader in the water hike protests. Spanish submission for the 2012 Best Foreign-Language Academy Award.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Film fest opening this Thursday night 9/4/2014!

We hope to see you this Thursday night! Our first film in the Spanish language film festival!
Pablo Larraín / Chile, Mexico, Germany/ 98 min / 2012 / Production Year: 2010 / Spanish with English subtitles
Thursday, September 4, 2014 Auditorium 7 PM
Pablo Larraín first broke onto the international film scene when Tony Manero premiered at the Cannes Directors´ Fortnight. This Chilean director has now followed up with visceral Post Mortem. Mario Cornejo is going about his daily business of writing autopsy reports at the military hospital in Santiago, when the Pinochet coup d´état shakes this heretofore apolitical character out of his state of apathy. This passionately executed film by Larraín has met with brilliant reviews, competing at the Venice Film Festival and nabbing second place at the Havana Film Festival´s Coral Awards. Post Mortem is neither a reconstruction of the Pinochet days, nor an angry denunciation of the period.
Instead, Larraín offers a borderline-surreal –Lynchian–black comedy to show, among other things, how easy it is for ordinary people to sleepwalk into a climate of atrocity, either as victims, collaborators, or as both. As in his first film, Larraín invests his characters with metaphoric undertones, suffusing the city of Santiago with a surreal visual texture that evokes the nightmarish landscape it was rapidly becoming.