Extra Credit Opportunities

INR 3274, Spring 2005

(new events will be added as they become known)


You may earn a maximum of 30 extra credit points per semester by attending out of class lectures and events.  Each event, depending on duration, will earn up to 5-10 points.  To earn extra credit, you must submit, within 10 days of your attendance,  a 1-3 page written discussion of the event that briefly summarizes it and details a) what you learned from it that is relevant to the class; and/or b) what you learned in class or from class assignments that helped you to better analyze and understand the event.


Write-ups should be 1-1 1/2 pages for 45-90 minutes (5 point) events, 2-3 pages for 2+ hour (10 point) events.  (Please specify the duration of each event on your write-up.)  Longer events with short write-ups will earn fewer points.      



Miami Film Festival


·  Wednesday, February 09, 2005, Cosford (U/M), 8:30 PM

·  Saturday, February 12, 2005, Sunrise Intracoastal, 7:00 PM

Stray Dogs
(Iran/France, 93 min, 35mm, 2004)
Director: Marziyeh Meshkini
Producers: Maysam Makhmalbaf
Screenwriters: Marziyeh Meshkini
Cast: Gol Ghoti, Zahed, Twiggy the Dog


On the outskirts of Kabul, two Afghani kids-Zahed and his sister Gol Ghoti-rescue a wayward mutt from the clutches of a bloodthirsty, torch-waving mob. As homeless as their new canine friend, the children have had no one to protect them since their father was thrown in jail for being a Taliban soldier and his wife, forced to remarry for the sake of the children, was incarcerated at a separate prison.

But then an ex-convict gives the children an idea: If they break the law, they can earn the right to be locked up just like their parents. Their days now filled with schemes for getting themselves arrested, Zahed and Gol Ghoti hop from one potential crime scene to the next, trying their best to get caught-even darting into a movie theater to watch De Sica's The Bicycle Thief for tips.

Simply told and stunningly executed, Marziyeh Meshkini's peek into post-Taliban Afghanistan is a feast of arresting, surreal vignettes that deliver a potent mix of humor and pathos. Much like in her last film, The Day I Became a Woman, the director uses startling imagery and non-professional actors to bring to life a script that is almost fable-like in its unadorned plotline and lessons about human nature. The wife of acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf and an integral part of his Makhmalbaf Film House (where auteurist stepdaughter Samira is also active), Meshkini articulates the pan-Arabic experience in ways that are uniquely cinematic.

Director Biography:
Marziyeh Meshkini was born in 1969 in Tehran, Iran. She studied in the Makhmalbaf Film School for five years and served as assistant director on Mohsen and Samira Makhmalbaf's films The Apple (1997), The Silence (1998), The Door (1999), The Blackboard (2000), God, Construction, Destruction (2002), and At Five in the Afternoon (2002).


·  Friday, February 11, 2005, Regal South Beach 10, 7:00 PM


(France/UK/Tunisia, 103 min, 35mm, 2004)
Director: Ludi Boeken, Michael Alan Lerner
Producers: Ludi Boeken, Eric Dussart
Screenwriters: Michael Alan Lerner
Cast: Stephen Moyer, Anne Parillaud, Omid Djalili, Georges Siatidis



A harrowing, and sometimes darkly comic, political thriller set in Beirut in 1983, Deadlines tells the story of Alex Randal (Stephen Moyer), a rookie reporter who gets in over his head. Long on bluster and short on experience, Alex dispatches himself to Lebanon's war-torn capital to make his career covering the deadly suicide car bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks. Soon lured into reporting on an even bigger story by beautiful, enigmatic photographer Julia Muller (Anne Parillaud), he quickly finds himself caught in an elaborate conspiracy in which he is the pawn. That's when he faces the most important decision of his life: continue to allow himself to be used, reaping huge career rewards, or risk his life and everything he's achieved to expose the truth. With danger lurking at every turn, Alex sets out to right the wrong he committed and, in the process, finally become the reporter he set out to be.

Set against America's involvement in Lebanon, Deadlines is more than a suspenseful thriller; it shines a spotlight on the challenges faced by reporters covering war and offers an eerie insight into the current conflict in Iraq. "It is by far the most realistic film I've ever seen about what it's actually like to be a foreign correspondent," says Newsweek's Jonathan Alter. "All of the ironies and quirks and relationships are dead-on. It's also amazingly timely because Beirut, 1983 is Baghdad, 2005."

Director Biography:
Ludi Boeken was a foreign war correspondent before he began directing and producing. His 25-plus documentaries include the Emmy-winning Who Killed Georgi Markov. His directing debut was Britney Baby, One More Time (Sundance 2002).
Michael Alan Lerner, as a former correspondent for Newsweek, covered the war in Lebanon. He has written and sold many feature film scripts. Deadlines is his directorial debut.


·  Friday, February 11, 2005, Regal South Beach 11, 9:00 PM

·  Sunday, February 13, 2005, Regal South Beach 10, 9:15 PM


Turtles Can Fly
(Iraq/Iran, 95 min, 35mm, 2004)
Director: Bahman Ghobadi
Producers: Bahman Ghobadi
Screenwriters: Bahman Ghobadi
Cast: Soran Ebrahim, Hirsh Feyssal, Avaz Latif



"One of the greatest anti-war films of all time" is how IFC Films describes Bahman Ghobadi's (A Time for Drunken Horses) look at a contemporary Iraq stuck between old world and new, stones and satellites, violence and hope. In Iraq's Kurdish north, "Kak Satellite" is a respected "electronics technician" who fixes the satellite antennae that often bring remote villages their only news of the outside world. He's also 13, and living through a war we only see on television.

Moving from town to town, Kak dodges periodic gunfire to install satellite dishes, often deleting or adding more "adult-oriented" channels for village leaders and even translating hyper-American Fox News reports for confused viewers. His life as top dog of the satellite world is soon challenged by the arrival of two youths whose lives have been forever changed by war: Henkov, a boy who lost his arms in a mine explosion, and Agrin, a pretty young girl whose scars are less obvious but just as deep.
A strikingly nuanced, complicated view of a situation and a world most Americans understand only through sound bites and satellite feeds, Turtles Can Fly lets its images communicate what a thousand speeches could never say. It includes actual footage of the war (in one scene, American soldiers interact with the actors, offering one a chunk of a Saddam statue), but its focus is wisely never just "the war," rather the way civilians survive within it-with hope, self-confidence and even a little joyful madness. Every life counts, Ghobadi insists, and Turtles Can Fly offers cinematic proof.

Director Biography:
Bahman Ghobadi, born in Bané in Iranian Kurdistan, studied filmmaking in Tehran and has directed a number of short films. He has been an assistant director to Abbas Kiarostami on The Wind Will Carry Us (1999); his acting credits include a leading role in Samira Makhmalbaf's Blackboards (2000); and he has directed three feature films: A Time for Drunken Horses (2000), a FIPRESCI award-winner at the Festival de Cannes, Marooned in Iraq (2002) and Turtles Can Fly.


Monday, March 28. Stuart Schoffman, regular columnist for The Jerusalem Report on “Is Peace Possible in Our Time? A View From the Jerusalem Street”. Presented by the Judaic Studies Program and the Miller Center. At the Miller Center, 105 Merrick Bldg. University of Miami Campus. 8:00 p.m.