LEWISTON —The Global Lens 2012 film series, a showcase of 10 award-winning international features, will return to Bates College in weekly screenings beginning Monday, Sept. 17.

The 2012 series comprises films from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Rwanda and Turkey, as well as Albania. “Our community grows more diverse each year, and providing films from around the world helps everyone understand the similarities of the human condition and the particular challenges people face in various countries and cultures,” said Anthony Shostak, curator of education for the museum and coordinator of Global Lens at Bates.

“The lineup this year is really going to surprise audiences,” said Susan Weeks Coulter, chair of the Global Film Initiative board of directors. “The cinematics are strong, the tone is fresh and the stories are thought-provoking and unlike anything we’ve seen before.”

Opening the series is “Amnesty,” made in 2011 by Albanian director Bujar Alimani. In the 83-minute film, a new law allowing conjugal visits in Albanian prisons presents the opportunity for a sympathetic affair between a man and woman visiting their incarcerated spouses — until a prisoner amnesty threatens their fragile new bond. 

Films are shown at 7:30 p.m. on Mondays in room 104 of the Olin Arts Center, 75 Russell St. Admission is free. For a complete schedule of films, call 786-8212 or visit bates.edu/museum.

This is the fifth Global Lens film series presented by the Bates museum. Here is the remainder of the autumn 2012 schedule:

Sept. 24: “Craft” (directed by Gustavo Pizzi, Brazil, 2010, 85 minutes): A struggling actress and celebrity impersonator lands an audition and what may be her big break after an inspired director recasts his film around her socially marginalized life as an underrated artist in Rio de Janeiro.

Oct. 1: “Fat, Bald, Short Man” (directed by Carlos Osuna, Colombia, 2011, 91 minutes.): The prospects for a lonely middle-aged notary unexpectedly change after he joins a self-improvement group and his charismatic new boss — and strangely affable doppelganger — takes an interest in his life.

Oct. 8: “The Finger” (directed by Sergio Teubal, Argentina, 2011, 93 minutes): In the face of electoral fraud and intimidation, the severed finger of a respected local leader points the way forward for independent-minded citizens and their town’s quest for democracy after dictatorship.

Oct. 15: “Grey Matter” (directed by Kivu Ruhorahoza, Rwanda, 2011, 100 minutes): After government officials decline to support his project, a determined filmmaker enlists the support of a loan shark to finance his trenchant drama about the aftermath and impact of genocide on a brother and sister.

Oct. 29: “Mourning” (directed by Morteza Farshbaf, Iran, 2011, 85 minutes): In the wake of his parents’ disappearance, a young boy is placed in the care of his deaf aunt and uncle who, during a road trip to Tehran, engage in a silent but apparently not-so-secret debate about the child’s future.

Nov. 5: “Pegasus” (directed by Mohamed Mouftakir, Morocco, 2010, 104 minutes): A young woman, traumatized by her dictatorial father’s insistence she be raised as a boy, finds herself the unwitting patient of a psychiatrist intent on learning the truth behind the girl’s story.

Nov. 12: “The Prize” (directed by Paula Markovitch, Argentina/Mexico, 2011, 99 minutes): A political activist’s life-in-hiding on an isolated stretch of Argentina’s coastline is jeopardized after her 7-year-old daughter is selected to participate in a local school’s patriotic essay contest.

Nov. 26: “Qarantina” (dir. Oday Rasheed, Iraq, 2010, 90 min.) — A sullen assassin, living above a dysfunctional family in Baghdad, captures the attention of the household’s unhappy mother, setting a dangerous stage for confrontation with the family’s lecherous father.

Dec. 3: “Toll Booth” (directed by Tolga Karaçelik, Turkey, 2010, 96 minutes): An aging toll booth attendant, straining under the weight of a domineering father and suffocating work routine, finally begins to crack when faced with the emotional pressure of an unexpected romance.

The Global Film Initiative is a U.S.-based international arts organization specializing in the support of independent film from Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Founded in 2002 to promote cross-cultural understanding through the language of cinema, the initiative awards numerous grants to filmmakers worldwide and supports the touring Global Lens film series.

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