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by Serena Hashimoto, assistant professor, College of Communication

What did 494 students do last semester that you may not be aware of? They attended screenings of the Viewpoints Film Series. The film series is a combination of both documentary and feature films that highlight global issues such as the environment, the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, and cultural issues which span the globe. In an era where the mainstream media seems to be under a multitude of pressures which have compromised world reporting, the documentary film has emerged as one of the best ways we can learn about our planet.

A good example of this is two of the films that where screened last semester on the Iraq War. The first film, The War Tapes, chronicles the experience of National Guardsmen from New Hampshire. The film is a poignant and very personal account of the soldiers’ experiences both at war and their complicated return home. The film does not attempt to present a homogenized few of “what it is like over there” or definitively try to tell us “what the soldiers really believe.” Rather we see how the individual guardsmen think and respond very differently to their experiences.

The second film screened on Iraq was My Country, My Country. Like The War Tapes, the film brings us a view of Iraq by focusing on individual experience. The story told is of a Sunni doctor who tries, in increasingly difficult circumstances, to run for political office in 2005. The film brings us a close up look of an Iraqi family, not just the broad strokes of a military conflict.

This spring semester some of the films selected to be screened are just as exciting. In March, two films will be screened on sports. One is the prize winning documentary Heart of the Game on high school basketball. On the evening of March 7th, HPU Athletic Director Darren Vorderbruegge will be present to moderate the discussion which customarily follows the Friday night screening. The following week the feature film Offside will be shown. It chronicles the plight of women in Iran who must disguise themselves as boys in order to watch soccer. Professor Margo Kitts, who lead two wonderful discussions on Islam last semester, is returning for this Friday night screening.

Viewpoints screenings are at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday in the Sea Warrior Center. On Fridays at 5:30 p.m., the film of the week is shown at Warmer Auditorium. At the Friday screening there is free pizza, and following the film, a discussion. Once films are screened they become available for students to see at the LAC.



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