Film Descriptions


Until further notice, all of the films in this series will be watched individually and then discussed on Zoom at 7:00 p.m. on the indicated Saturday evenings.

The Zoom link will be provided the week of the film.


Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski (Poland, in Polish w/English subtitles, 2018, 1h29, B&W)

A passionate love story between two people of different backgrounds and temperaments, who are fatefully mismatched and yet condemned to each other. Set against the background of the Cold War in 1950s Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris, it’s the tale of a couple separated by politics, character flaws and unfortunate twists of fate – an impossible love story in impossible times.

Discussion leader: Dr. Peter Thorsheim, Professor of History, UNC-Charlotte


Directed by  Stephen Daldry (UK, in regional English, 2000, 1h50)

County Durham, during the endless, violent 1984 strike against the Margaret Thatcher closure of British coal mines. Coal miner Jackie Elliot takes a dim view of eleven-year-old son Billy’s poor record in boxing class, a view that worsens when he discovers his son sneakily transferred to the otherwise girls-only-attended ballet class the next room over. Only Billy’s closet-gay schoolmate supports his desire to dance, fanned by the teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson, who judges him talented enough to train and audition for the world-renowned Royal Ballet School. Dad’s not happy.

Discussion leader: Terilynne Muehleisen Knox, Creator and Artistic Director of Dance Davidson


Directed by Massoud Bakhshi (Iran, in Persian, w/English subtitles, 2019, 1h26)

In Tehran (Iran) today: 22-year-old Maryam accidentally kills her husband Nasser, 65 years old, and is sentenced to death. The only person who can save her is Mona, Nasser’s daughter. All Mona has to do is appear on a popular live TV show and forgive Maryam. What happens when entertainment meets judgement over life or death? This movie holds its grip on the viewer until the very last minute, with a critical eye on the absurdness and at the same time blessing of a TV show at times threatening to get out of hand.

Discussion leader: Zinat Hassanpour, Associate Professor of Nursing, Cabarrus College of Health Sciences, native of Iran


Directed by Christian Petzold (Germany, in German, w/English subtitles, 2014, 1h38)

A spellbinding mystery of identity, illusion, and deception unfolds against the turmoil of post-World War II Berlin. Nelly, a German-Jewish nightclub singer, has survived a concentration camp, but with her face disfigured by a bullet wound. After undergoing reconstructive surgery, Nelly emerges with a new face, one similar but different enough that her former husband Johnny doesn’t recognize her. Rather than reveal herself, Nelly plays a dangerous game of duplicity and disguise as she tries to figure out if the man she loves may have been the one who betrayed her to the Nazis. Phoenix weaves a complex tale of a nation’s tragedy and a woman’s search for answers as it builds towards an unforgettable, heart-stopping climax.

Discussion leader: Dr. Scott Denham, Charles A. Dana Professor of German Studies, Davidson College


Directed by Sarah Polley (Canada, in English, 2014, 1h38)

Long married, Fiona and Grant find their mutual devotion tested by her struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Grant plunges into an emotional abyss after moving his wife (Julie Christie) to a nursing facility and keeping his distance for a month for her benefit. When she turns her affections toward another man, Aubrey, waves of guilt for his past behavior pass over Grant. Jealous and hurt, he finally seeks help from Aubrey’s wife. Oscar nomination (and 25 Best Actress awards) for Julie Christie.

Discussion leader: Véronique Singerman, Staff RN at Huntersville Oaks Skilled Nursing Facility (long-term care), then Nursing Faculty at Cabarrus College of Health Sciences until retirement


Directed by Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark, in Danish w/English subtitles, 2020, 1h57)

A foursome of middle-aged schoolteachers try to reclaim their lost mojo, chief among them Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), a history teacher who feels adrift as a husband, father, and educator. A friend mentions a theory from an obscure academic that human beings are born with a .05% blood-alcohol deficiency, and to operate at peak performance a person should regularly imbibe a serving of alcohol to maintain a buzzed feeling. Martin and his three friends agree to live this experiment, sneaking booze onto school premises. The result is positive in the beginning. Slowly, but surely, the alcohol makes the four friends loosen up, their classes more dynamic and fun, so they decide to up the dose. Uh oh. . .

Discussion leader: Linda Nichols, Public Information Coordinator, Alcoholics Anonymous of North Carolina