Foreign Film Series Exposes Students to Other Cultures

IMG_20141022_160041Cedarville will present “The Hidden Blade,” a Japanese film, at 7 p.m. on Oct. 23 in BTS 104 as part of its Foreign Film Series. The film is open to the entire campus, but a $2 donation for admission is requested.

The Foreign Film Series (FFS), created by associate professor of English Daniel Clark and professor of Spanish Andrew Wiseman, has been a part of Cedarville since the spring of 2005.

“We were looking for ways to open windows to other cultures,” Clark said.

The original proposal to the administration recommending the FFS be implemented says part of Cedarville’s mission is to equip students to engage the world and its cultures. If students are to engage the culture, they must understand and critically encounter that culture. The FFS will give students an opportunity to apply their faith to our world, the proposal said.

Missions is a much-talked-about subject for Christians, but the details of other cultures are less often discussed.

Wiseman wrote in an email, “I believe we have a duty as Christians to meet people in their culture, and as a result, we saw a need to expose the campus to the lives of others, so the Foreign Film Series was born.”

Since 2005, many films have been shown: anything from documentaries to anime and films from all around the world. Countries such as Japan, Iran and Spain all have had a place in the series.

The first film in the series was a movie called “Life is Beautiful.” Other films shown include the documentary “Seoul Train,” a film about citizens of North Korea attempting to escape south, and the Iranian film “A Separation,” a film about family and the impact a divorce can have on the couple as well as their children.

“Very often our American media gives a presentation of other cultures that is kind of shallow, thin, or biased,” Clark said. “We try to pick films that are honest depictions of other cultures…the way things are. Any time we can look at our world honestly, it’s a plus.”

As a result, the films often have themes and morals from other cultures that can be applied to everyday life.

“We try to find films that are well made and say something about the culture from that culture’s perspective,” Clark said. “We want to try to challenge students. Entertainment is a secondary concern.”

In addition to the films themselves, there is usually a question and answer session after the film with either a guest speaker or a faculty member. From missionaries to nursing faculty members, the Foreign Film Series attracts faculty and students from almost every department.

“We are happy with the support we have received from our student body, as well as the group of professors that show up to see what’s new in the world of international film,” Wiseman wrote.

Joe Russell is a freshman English major and an arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. He enjoys playing guitar, writing poems and music, and has an obsessive love for red pandas.

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