ACE Film Festival incorporates diverse outlooks

Normally, Newton Lecture Hall in room 202 would be filled with the instructive voices of various professors. But on Sunday Sept. 9, it overflowed with representatives of Geneseo’s many culture clubs. The Alliance for Community Enrichment held its annual international film festival, featuring four films that represent different countries, languages and beliefs.

The groups comprising ACE choose films for the festival annually. Each club nominates one film for consideration, and representatives from each group vote for their favorites.

Senior Sadie Baker, the chair for ACE, said that the purpose of the festival is “to promote collaborative programming at Geneseo among the ACE clubs.” Baker said she also feels that the festival represents an important opportunity to incorporate different perspectives. “It's nice to bring some diverse narratives to the Geneseo campus,” she said.

The Help (2011, USA)

The Black Student Union nominated this popular film, based on The New York Times bestselling novel of the same name by Kathryn Stockett. It deals with the struggles of African-American maids in Jackson, Miss. during the Civil Rights Movement. While some critics complained that the film glossed over an ugly and serious part of American history, it features powerful performances from the entire cast, particularly Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. Both were nominated for Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress, with Spencer winning the Oscar.

Stand and Deliver (1988, USA)

This American classic – picked by the Latino Student Association – focuses on Jaime Escalante, a new teacher dropped into a rough neighborhood in eastern Los Angeles, Calif. He is faced with young students, predominately Latinos, who have been ingrained with the idea that they can’t succeed. Escalante decides to fight the broken school system and attempt to change the lives of his students. Through self-empowerment and respect, Escalante helps his students realize their potential for greatness. Edward James Olmos, who stars as Escalante, received an Academy Award nomination for his heavily lauded performance.

Red Cliff (2008, China)

Chosen by the Geneseo Chinese Culture Club, this film is part historical lesson and part epic bloodbath. It details the heroic battle that concluded the Han Dynasty. Red Cliff effectively utilizes grand scales and splashy filmmaking to enhance the already engrossing experience. Popular Hong Kong director John Woo, who has also helmed well-known American films such as Face/Off and Mission Impossible II, directs.

In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011, USA)

Slavic Club selected this controversial film, which was actress Angelina Jolie’s first foray into writing and directing. Set during the Bosnian War of 1990s, the film tells the love story between Danijel, a Bosnian solider, and Ajla, a Muslim woman. War severs their blossoming relationship but ultimately reconnects them in less than ideal conditions: Ajla is brought to the imprisonment camp that Danijel is stationed in. Jolie’s inexperience as a writer and director occasionally shows, but the film demonstrates a sincere attempt at shining a light on the victims of horrifying events that are rarely discussed.