Film Descriptions



JULY 23: 1945

Directed by Ferenc Török (Hungary, in Hungarian w/English subtitles, 2017, 1h31)

On a summer day in 1945, an Orthodox Jewish man and his grown son, dressed in black, appear at the railway station of a Hungarian village. In the shadow of Russian occupation, the people of the village are preparing for the wedding of the son of the town clerk. The bride’s former fiancé returns from captivity. The townspeople – suspicious, remorseful, fearful, and cunning – expect the worst and behave accordingly. The town clerk fears the Jewish men may be heirs of the village’s deported Jews and expects them to demand their illegally acquired property back. Within a few hours, everything changes. Secrets, sins, reckoning, love, betrayal, confrontation. Director Ferenc Török paints a complex picture of a society trying to come to terms with the recent horrors they’ve experienced, perpetrated, or just tolerated for personal gain.

Discussion leader: Alan Singerman, Professor Emeritus of French, Davidson College, President, Davidson Film Club


Directed by  Lila Avilés (Mexico, in Spanish w/English subtitles, 2018, 1h42)

A look at the working environment of a young chambermaid in one of Mexico City’s most luxurious hotels. She enrolls in the hotel’s adult education program to help improve her life.

Discussion leader: Barbara Randolph, Community Activist


Directed by Jan Sverák (Czech Republic, in Czech, Russian, and Slovak w/English subtitles, 1996, 1h45)

Franta Louka is a concert cellist in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia, a confirmed bachelor and a lady’s man. Having lost his place in the state orchestra, he must make ends meet by playing at funerals and painting tombstones. But he has run up a large debt, and when his friend, the grave-digger Mr. Broz, suggests a scheme for making a lot of money by marrying a Russian woman so that she can get her Czech papers, he reluctantly agrees. She takes advantage of the situation to emigrate to West Germany, to join her lover; and leaves her five-year-old son with his grandmother; when the grandmother dies, Kolya must come and live with his stepfather – Louka.

Discussion leader: Prof. Peter Thorsheim, Department of History, UNCC, Vice-President Davidson Film Club


Directed by Walter Salles (Brazil, in Portuguese w/English subtitles, 1998, 1h50)

Bitter former schoolteacher Dora supports herself by taking dictation from illiterate people in Rio de Janeiro who want to write letters to their families and then pocketing their money without ever mailing the envelopes. Josue is a 9-year-old boy who never met his father. His mother is sending letters to his father through Dora. He is left alone when his mother is killed in a bus accident. Reluctantly taking him in, Dora joins the boy on a road trip to find his long-missing father.

Discussion leader: Prof. Mauro Botelho, Department of Music, Chair of Latin-American Studies, Davidson College


Directed by Ameen Nayfeh (Jordan, in Arabic w/ English subtitles, 2020, 1h36)

Mustafa and his wife Salwa come from two Palestinian villages that are only 200 meters apart but separated by the wall. Their unusual living situation is starting to affect their otherwise happy marriage, but the couple does what they can to make it work. Every night, Mustafa flashes a light from his balcony to wish his children on the other side a goodnight, and they signal him back. One day Mustafa gets a call that every parent dreads: his son has been in an accident. He rushes to the checkpoint where he must agonizingly wait in line only to find out there is a problem with his fingerprints and is denied entry. Desperate, Mustafa resorts to hiring a smuggler to bring him across. His once 200-meter journey becomes a 200-kilometer odyssey.

Discussion leader: Prof. Rebecca Joubin, Chair of Arab Studies, Davidson College