Oxnard Film Society’s Monday Night Foreign Film Series: Your Ultimate International Film Guide to Oscars Night

Leonie Benesch in The Teachers' Lounge (2023)
The Oxnard Film Society is proud to present its highly anticipated Monday Night Foreign Film Series, offering cinephiles an extraordinary journey through the rich tapestry of international cinema. From gripping dramas to poignant narratives, each film selected for this series has garnered critical acclaim and prestigious nominations, promising audiences an immersive and thought-provoking cinematic experience. Kicking off the series on Monday, February 26, is the German drama The Teacher's Lounge.

The Oxnard Film Society kicks off its Monday Night Foreign Film Series on February 26, offering a captivating selection of international cinema transcending borders and cultures. Held at the Oxnard Film Society’s venue, this series promises an immersive cinematic experience, showcasing diverse narratives worldwide.

“We are excited to bring these award-nominated and critically acclaimed foreign films to our community,” said , George J. Sandoval, Executive Director of the Oxnard Film Society. “Each film offers a captivating glimpse into different cultures and perspectives, enriching our understanding of the world through the power of cinema.”

The series kicks off on Monday, February 19, featuring the German drama “The Teacher’s Lounge” (original title: “Das Lehrerzimmer”) (2023), directed by İlker Çatak. Nominated for the Academy Award for Best International Film, this gripping portrayal of a dedicated teacher’s moral journey amidst the complexities of the educational system has garnered critical acclaim worldwide. Monday, February 26, at 3:30 pm and 6:30 pm.
Director: İlker Çatak
Producers: Ingo Fliess
Screenwriter: İlker Çatak, Johannes Duncker
Cinematographers: Judith Kaufman
Editor: Gesa Jäger
Music: Marvin Miller
Cast: Leonie Benesch, Michael Klammer, Rafael Stachowiak, Anne-Kathrin Gummich, Eva Löbau, Kathrin Wehlisch, Sarah Bauerett, Leonard Stettnisch, Oscar Zickur, Antonia Kupper, Elsa Krieger, Vincent Stachowiak, Can RodenBostel, Padme Hamdemir, Lisa Marie Trense.

Tótem chronicles one afternoon for Sol (Naíma Sentíes), a young girl about to undergo a massive loss. It was written and directed by Lila Avilés. Courtesy of Sideshow and Janus Films

Continuing the series on Monday, March 4, is the Mexican drama “Totem” (2023), written and directed by Tótem, the second Film by writer/director Lila Avilés and Mexico’s Oscar-shortlisted submission. Mexico’s submission for the Academy Awards for Best International Film, “Totem,” has been praised for its poignant narrative exploring love, heartbreak, and mortality themes. Make sure to view The Chambermaid, Avilés‘ previous effort.

Director and writer:Lila Avilés
Producers: Lila Avilés, Siobhan Flynn, Tatiana Graullera, Louise Riousse , Jose Tamez
Composer: Thomas Becka
Cinematographer: Diego Tenorio
Editor: Omar Guzmán
Casting Directors: Lila Avilés | Gabriela Cartol
Production Designer: Nohemi Gonzalez.

Christian Friedel in "The Zone of Interest", photo courtesy of A24.
Christian Friedel in “The Zone of Interest,” photo courtesy of A24.

On Monday, March 18, the series presents the United Kingdom’s “The Zone of Interest” (2023), directed by Jonathan Glazer. Nominated for multiple Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best International Film, this thought-provoking Film offers a chilling portrayal of life during the Holocaust and the banality of evil. It was filmed in Auschwitz in the summer of 2021 and lasted approximately 55 days. Additional filming took place in Jelenia Góra in January 2022. The Film has attracted a lot of attention for demonstrating the horror of the concentration camp through sounds but never the inside of the camp. In “The Zone of Interest,” viewers are transported to the world of Commandant Rudolf Höss of Auschwitz, portrayed by Christian Friedel, along with his wife Hedwig, played by Sandra Hüller, and their family. Set just over the wall of the infamous concentration camp, the Film offers a unique perspective on the Holocaust era. Unlike many films that depict this dark period in history, “The Zone of Interest” refrains from showing the atrocities of Auschwitz firsthand. Instead, viewers experience the horrors indirectly, through the lens of the Höss family’s seemingly ordered and idyllic life. Gunshots and screams heard during a garden party, as well as the ominous glow and smoke clouds of the crematorium visible from the bedroom window, serve as haunting reminders of the grim reality beyond their insulated world. This departure from the typical imagery associated with Holocaust films offers a thought-provoking and unsettling portrayal of life near Auschwitz, challenging viewers to confront the complexities of human behavior and moral ambiguity in the face of unimaginable suffering.

“The Zone of Interest” premiered at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2023, where it received critical acclaim and won both the Grand Prix and FIPRESCI Prize. Additionally, the Film was named one of the top five international films of 2023 by the National Board of Review. This remarkable success continued as the Film won three BAFTAs, including the prestigious Film Not in the English Language category. Moreover, “The Zone of Interest” received multiple nominations, including five Academy Awards and three Golden Globes Awards, further solidifying its status as a standout film in the international cinematic landscape.
Directed: Jonathan Glazer
Written: Jonathan Glazer
Based on The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis
Produced: James Wilson, Ewa Puszczyńska
Starring: Christian Friedel,Sandra Hüller.
Cinematography: Łukasz Żal
Edited: Paul Watts
Music by Mica Levi.
Production companies Film4 Access, Polish Film Institute JW Films Extreme Emotions.

Mads Mikkelsen in "The Promised Land"
Mads Mikkelsen in “The Promised Land”.

In April, the series continues with Denmark’s submission to the Academy Awards for Best International Film” The Promised Land” (2023), directed by Nikolaj Arcel. This epic drama, set in 18th-century Denmark, has been praised for its gripping narrative and remarkable performances, earning it critical acclaim and nominations.
Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Writers: Nikolaj Arcel | Anders Thomas Jensen | Ida Jessen (book)
Producer: Louise Vesth
ComposerDan Romer
Cinematographer: Rasmus Videbæk
Editor: Olivier Bugge Coutté
Casting: DirectorTanja Grunwald
Production Designer: Jette Lehmann

Tandin Phubz, Tandin Wangchuk, Deki Lhamo, Tandin Sonam, and Pema Zangmo Sherpa in The Monk and the Gun (2023)
Tandin Phubz, Tandin Wangchuk, Deki Lhamo, Tandin Sonam, and Pema Zangmo Sherpa in The Monk and the Gun (2023).

The Monday Night Foreign Film Series will conclude in May with “The Monk and the Gun”(2023), Bhutan’s submission for the Academy Awards for Best International Film, directed by Pawo Choyning Dorji. Capturing Bhutan’s transition to democracy, this Film promises to offer a unique and insightful perspective on cultural change and modernization.
Director: Pawo Choyning Dorji
Writer: Pawo Choyning Dorji
Producers: Pawo Choyning Dorji, Feng Hsu, Stephanie Lai, Jean-Christophe Simon
Composer: Frederic Alvarez
Cinematographer: Jigme Tenzing
Editor: Hsiao-Yun Ku
Production Designer: Chungdra Gyeltshen

Screenings for the Monday Night Foreign Film Series will occur at Plaza Cinemas 14, 255 West 5th Street, Oxnard, CA 93030, with showtimes at 3:30 pm and 6:30 pm. Tickets can be purchased on the Oxnard Film Society’s website at https://www.oxnardfilmsociety.org/. General Admission: $11.75/ General Admission Matinee: $9.25
Seniors/Children/Military: $8.50. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the best of international cinema in the heart of Oxnard.

Featured image: Leonie Benesch in The Teachers’ Lounge (2023)

Images Credits: IMDB Pro.

Editor’s Note: The Oxnard Film Society rescheduled The Teacher’s Lounge to February 26 from February 19 as previously reported, due to inclement weather.

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