Foreign films shine at San Antonio Art Museum

A distressed wife and mother of two, is lead into a cold, blank prison cell where she is left by guards and locked inside. She slowly looks around and finally brings herself to try and get comfortable on the old, torn up mattress in the corner of the room. This will be the first of many congeal visits with her incarcerated husband, with whom she shares a loveless marriage. This new law, allowing for such visits, has been made to help Albania vie for entrance into the E.U by reforming their prisons. However the only emotional connection this woman feels during these appointments is with another man, whom is there to see his own imprisoned wife. The two’s affair is meek at first with just meetings and long talks about the depressing circumstances they both face but then it blooms into love. The romance is further complicated when an amnesty rule releases both of their spouses from jail and they must decide what to do.

This tangled romantic plot, is that of the Bujar Alimani film “Amnesty”, shown on Sunday Nov. 11 at the San Antonio Museum of Art. This rare Albanian masterpiece is the last film in the series called Global Lens 2012, which has been playing at SAMA since February. This year’s ten award-winning foreign films along with “Amnesty”, included “Qarantina” from Iraq and “The Prize” from Argentina, all narrative dramas that have been featured all over the world and have received critical acclaim.

UTSA professor Dr. Steven Kellman has been very involved with this program as well as many others at SAMA, mostly curating film series that go along with exhibits being shown at the museum.

 “Although they have won prizes at film festivals around the world, almost all the films were unlikely to be shown publicly in a commercial venue in San Antonio – and most other cities in the United States. Several were from countries (e.g. Albania, Iran, Morocco) that most American viewers have very little awareness of. All were demonstrations of exceptional cinematic artistry,” Dr. Kellman said of this year’s Global Lens choices.

Global Lens is expected to return to the San Antonio Museum of Art in the New Year with another set of foreign films for everyone in the city to enjoy.