Film Series


"The Second Coming," a well-known poem full of apocalyptic foreboding, was written by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats just after the First World War. One of its memorable lines has also one of its most mysterious: "the ceremony of innocence is drowned." Seeing implacable, entropic forces at work in European culture, Yeats imagined that the stabilizing nature of "ceremony" would weaken and collapse. There is much in the European news these days that has caused observers to recall Yeats's poem. The Nanovic European Film Series this semester has therefore taken up the topic of innocence. While all the films in the series envision the destiny of innocence as rather hard, to say the least, they also show that the fate of innocence is always accompanied by faith, hope, and love -- just not in the ways people tend to expect.

All films will be shown in the THX-certified Browning Cinema at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center on campus and will be preceded by a ten-minute introduction by a visiting director or member of the Notre Dame community. 

Tickets are $7 for adults, $6 for senior citizens, $5 for ND/SMC faculty/staff, and $4 for students/children. Contact the box office at 574-631-2800, or visit to purchase tickets or visit 211 Brownson Hall for free tickets from the Nanovic Institute for European Studies.

SON OF SAUL (Hungary)

Thursday, September 1 at 7:00 pm
Directed by Laszlo Nemes
Introduction by William Donahue, John J. Cavanaugh, CSC Professor of the Humanities and Chair of the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literature

On the brink of a prisoner revolt in an Auschwitz crematorium, a Hungarian prisoner named Saul plots to give the body of a young boy a proper Jewish burial. Directed by Laszlo Nemes, SON OF SAUL won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2016.  


AFFERIM! (Well Done!) ( Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France)

Friday, September 16 at 7:00 pm 
Directed by Radu Jude
Introduction by Anthony Monta, associate director of the Nanovic Insitute for European Studies.

A Silver Bear winner Best Director at Berlin Film Festival 2015 and Romania's entry for the Academy Awards, AFERIM! (WELL DONE!) Costandin, a policeman of the time and his son travel through the country in search of a fugitive Gypsy slave in 19th century Romania.

“Everything ended and nothing has yet begun” is a quote from radical liberal Constantin A. Rosetti that sums up maybe in the best way the beginning of the 19th century. Wallachia, where the story in Aferim! takes place, is in the middle of radical changes if we consider the clothes of people walking in the streets, but moderate if we could get inside their minds. The Russian occupation between 1828 and 1834 and the Russian governor Pavel Kiseleff brought a series of reforms to the country, gathered in the Organic Regulations, a fundamental law that regulated the organizing and reorganizing of modern institutions.




THE INNOCENTS (France/Poland)

Thursday, October 6 at 7:00 pm
Directed by Anne Fontaine

Introduction by Alicja Kusiak-Brownstein (University of Michigan)

In 1945 Poland, a young French Red Cross doctor who is sent to assist the survivors of the German camps discovers several nuns in advanced states of pregnancy during a visit to a nearby convent.



HAND HELD (Romania) 

Thursday, November 3 at 7:00 pm
Produced and directed by Don Hahn 
Introduced by ND alum Mike Carroll '68, photojournalist and film subject.

Featuring the stunning work of photojournalist Mike Carroll, Hand Held is the new documentary directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Don Hahn. Hahn is best known for his films Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.  Carroll's stories on the plight of Romanian children after the collapse of Nicolae Ceausescu's regime in 1989, which were written and photographed for The Boston Globe and The New York Times, led directly to the formation of the Romanian Children's Relief organization.  Since 1990, Romanian Children’s Relief/Fundatia Inocenti has contributed more than $2 million in staff support, training, medical and education supplies to its Romanian partner hospitals and social services agencies. 

Read the Notre Dame Magazine article "Traveling Mercies" by Mike Carroll




FROM US TO ME (East Germany)

Thursday, December 1 at 7:00 pm
Directed by the Amber Films Collective
Introduction TBA

Probably the longest surviving film collective in the UK, in 1987 Amber was the first film group from the West to be invited into Communist East Germany.  Its resulting film, From Marx and Engels to Marks and Spenser was a portrait of Rostock - a shipyard and fishing city on the Baltic Sea.   Within 6 months of the film’s transmission on Channel 4 in 1989, the Berlin Wall had fallen and the German Democratic Republic was gone.  In 2013 Amber went back to Rostock and contacted all the key characters from the earlier film to find out how they, and the city, had fared under capitalism.  A poetic documentary - moving, surprising and funny - From Us To Me brings together interviews from 1987 and 2013 to shed light on one of the key historical events of the 20th Century.