Past Event

Seen From Abroad: International Film Critics Look at American Film Today

March 22, 2006 - March 24, 2006
6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Low Memorial Library and Roone Arledge Auditorium, Alfred Lerner Hall

This World Leaders Forum program features a moderated panel discussion on the impact of American films on the world followed by a question and answer session with the audience. 

Welcome, Introduction, and Moderated by:
Lee C. Bollinger, President, Columbia University in the City of New York

Program Participants:
José Carlos Avellar, Journalist and Film Critic
Irene Bignardi, Author and Journalist
David Denby, Film Critic
Mohamed El-Assyouti, Writer
Pritish Nandy, Editor and Writer

The program will continue through Thursday, March 23 with a full series of films. 
Muwatin, wa Mukhbir, wa Harami (A Citizen, a Detective, and a Thief)
Dawoud Abdel Sayed, 2001, Egypt
In the year 1980, a series of events brings an aspiring novelist in contact with a detective and a thief. They begin a relationship of interdependency.

Awiz Amawwit El-H'umar (I Want to Kill the Jackass)
Mohamed El-Assyouti, Egypt, 2005
Khaled El-Deli' is a kickboxer facing his archenemy Shihta Tarbana in a decisive fight. Head coach and president of the kickboxing federation Hassan Metwalli is sponsoring the game. There is conspiracy and corruption all around, but magic intervention may miraculously tip the balance of fortune.

The film reflects on the nature of self-delusion, the corruption of power, and the inconsequence of victory and loss. The h'umar (jackass or donkey) in the title refers to the well-known Arabic proverb in which the whole existence of individuals and society seems to be in limbo, waiting for the moment of change that will only happen when the h'umar dies. Meanwhile, due to a lifetime of obsessing about the h'umar, the individual internalizes and unconsciously emulates what he most hates: the h'umar. The society ruled by autocratic and military means is formed of individuals who are really soldiers wearing invisible uniforms. This army, made up of the whole population, has but one mission: to serve and sustain the existence of the h'umar, both the symbol and its living representation, which they themselves constitute. Everyone dies except the h'umar.