IAS Film Series 2018-2019

The film series marks its thirty-fourth year this season. All films are shown free of charge in Wolfensohn Hall and are open to the Institute Community. The series intends to offer the opportunity to hear from the producers, creators, and curators of film.

Crisis and Critique

For the past four years, the School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, collaborating with the Institute Film Series, has been curating films related to the theme studied in the School during the year. For 2018-2019, the theme “Crisis and Critique,” coordinated by Professor Didier Fassin and Professor Axel Honneth, will explore, from a critical and global perspective, the ubiquitous discourse on crisis as well as the multiple dimensions of crises. The series will feature 6 films this year.

Upcoming films:

Wednesday, April 3 : Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014).

4 PM, Wolfensohn Hall, Institute for Advanced Study

Directed by the Mauritanian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako, Timbuktu evokes in a fictional mode the brief occupation of the eponymous historic Malian city by the Islamist armed group Ansar al-Dine, describing the imposition of a strict Sharia law on its Muslim inhabitants. The story follows the tragic episode of a deadly dispute between a cattle herder and a fisherman, and its judicial developments, but more broadly, through a series of vignettes, it depicts the tensions and contradictions generated by the new religious and social order. While it can be viewed as a powerful political fable, it is also a beautifully shot film combining poetry and humor. Screened in the 2014 Cannes' competition where it won the François Chalais Award and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, it was awarded the Cesar Prizes for Best Film and Best Director in Paris and was nominated in 2015 for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.

Post screening discussion will be led by Andreas Eckert, Professor, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Institute für Asien- Und Afrika-Wissenschaften.

The film runs 1 hour, 36 minutes.

previous films:

Wednesday, March 6 :  Fire at Sea (2016 : Gianfranco Rosi)

In the past decade, the Italian island of Lampedusa, which is situated between Sicily and North Africa, has been the destination of hundreds of thousands of Africans fleeing persecution, conflicts, poverty and environmental problems. It is estimated that 40,000 of them have died since 2000. In his Oscar-nominated documentary Fire At Sea, Gianfranco Rosi, who lived for one year in Lampedusa, depicts the harsh realities for migrants from the perspective of the everyday life on the island. Much of the film is narrated through the eyes of a child, Samuele, the son of a fisherman. His observations from the first half of the film contrast with the filming of the second half, which meshes Italian naval rescues with the tragic circumstances of the detention centers.  Fire at Sea can thus be seen as a meditation on the fate of migrants and the unequal value of lives. It has won numerous awards including the prestigious Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.

This film runs 1 hour and 54 minutes.

A post-screening discussion will be led by Anne McNevin, Associate Professor of Politics, New School for Social Research, and Greta Wagner, Research Associate, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, both Members in the School of Social Science.

Tuesday, February 5:  Snowpiercer (2013 : Bong Joon Ho)

Tuesday, February 5 starting at 4 P.M.
Wolfensohn Hall, Institute for Advanced Study

The film runs 2 hours, 6 minutes.

Based on the graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette, Bong Joon-ho's film is set in a post-apocalyptic world which has been frozen solid in an failed effort to counter the planet’s warming.  The catastrophe has left a society in which strict social order is brutally enforced on a train continually circling the globe. The story meshes humor and violence in a fable about climate change and class struggle. In The Guardian, Andrew Pulver writes: “There is something of absurdist theater, though developed to grotesque extremes - as if Terry Gilliam had been hired to rewrite Samuel Beckett.” Snowpiercer has won numerous accolades in Asia and North America.

Post screening discussion will be led by David Bond (Associate Director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Action, Bennington College) and Daniel Aldana Cohen ( Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania), both Members in the School of Social Science.

Wednesday, December 5, 4 PM
A Touch of Sin (2013 : Tian zhu ding 天注定 )

2 hours and 13 minutes.

Chinese film-maker Jia Zhang-ke is a leading figure of contemporary Chinese cinema. Best known for his social movies critical of the situation of his country, its inequality and injustices, he has however managed to obtain the official approval from the Chinese government. A Touch of Sin, whose original title would translate more correctly as “Destined”, is a fiction composed of four parts, each based on a tragic real event which has made the headlines in China. The film follows a miner, a burglar, a sauna hostess and a factory worker with references to various popular cinematographic genres. It depicts what Peter Bradshaw described in the Guardian "as the dark heart of modern China”. A Touch of Sin won the Best Screenplay  Award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and that same year the Best Foreign Movie Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association. 

Post screening discussion will be led by Rowena Xiaoqing He, Assistant Professor of History, Saint Michael’s College, and Ji Li, Professor of Law, Zhuang Zhou Scholar, Rutgers Law School .

Wednesday, November 7 - 4 P.M.

Clash (Eshtebak  اشتباك‎‎)
Produced and directed by Khaled Diab. 2016
Wolfensohn Hall, Institute for Advanced Study

Clash is set in Cairo, Egypt in 2013, two years following the mass uprisings across the Middle East known as the Arab Spring. Written by Egyptian filmmaker brothers Khaled and Mohamed Diab, it is shot mainly within the confines of a police van. A number of arrests during demonstrations place rival demonstrators (including the Muslim Brotherhood), journalists, and innocent bystanders together in the van, pulling together the narrative threads of resistance, conflict, and shared human experience. This is director Mohamed Diab’s second film. His first film Cairo 678, focused on the sexual harassment of women in Cairo. Clash was featured at the 2016 Festival de Cannes, where it opened the section "Un Certain Regard” dedicated to innovative cinema. "It’s very ironic that what initially started as a film about the rise of the revolution ended up being a film about its fall,” commented the director Mohamed Diab.

Post screening discussion will be led by Jessica Winegar, Professor of Anthropology and Middle East and North African Studies at Northwestern University, and Munira Khayyat, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the American University in Cairo.

Reception to follow in the Fuld Hall Common Room. The film runs 1 hour and 37 minutes.
The event is free, please note that food and drink are not allowed in Wolfensohn Hall.

Tuesday, October 9, 4 PM - Wolfensohn Hall
Inside Job directed by Charles Ferguson

Post screening discussion will be led by Clara Mattei, Assistant Professor of Economics in the New School for Social Research. This event is free.

Directed by Charles Ferguson, Inside Job explores the systemic sources of the 2008 financial crisis. The film weaves together interviews to illustrate how the global meltdown that caused millions of job losses and house evictions was made possible by a number of structural factors, including the role of respected economists from Ivy League universities who were hired by banks to support imprudent deregulation. Indeed, following the story from Iceland to China to the United States, the film shows the growing confusion between academia, business and government. It was screened at the Cannes Festival in 2010 and won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature that same year. “It is a story of a crime without punishment," wrote A. O. Scott in The New York Times. "Mr. Ferguson has summoned the scourging moral force of a pulpit-shaking sermon. That he delivers it with rigor, restraint and good humor makes his case all the more devastating.” 

The film runs 1 hour and 48 minutes.


Films will be listed as they are scheduled. Please send your suggestions to:

    thank you!

These events are free and open to the Institute community. Please note that food is not allowed in Wolfensohn Hall.