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Most Successful OIP Film to Date: The Lives of Others

On Wednesday, March 26th, 120 people found their way to the Roxy Community Theater on Higgins Avenue, to watch The Lives of Others and to celebrate the 25th Anniversary this year of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. The German drama, produced in 2006, was the third and last film in the Office of International Programs (OIP) 2014 Spring Film Series.

The OIP Film Series started in the fall of 2012 in the University Center Theater. A committee composed of UM faculty, who passionately teach in the campus film programs, and enthusiastic community members select a regional focus or topic and choose three films per semester that fit the selected emphasis and theme. The Office of International Programs, in collaboration with the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, and the Roxy Community Theater proudly sponsors the film series. This spring, the event moved from the University Center Theater to the Roxy Community Theater, on Higgins Avenue. The title of this string of spring films was Societies in Transition.

These three movies allowed an insight into German society in about 20 year increments, what people were dealing with, what challenges they faced and how they changed in the process.
It all started with Carbide and Sorrel (East German Production, 1963) about life in post war Germany around 1945. Dr. Martin Marko, from the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures (MCLL), provided an introduction to the first film in the series. Dr. Marko is a faculty member in MCLL and teaches German courses in the department, along with film classes.

The series continued with Born in ’45 (East German Production, 1966) about the life and struggles of a couple in East Berlin in 1965 was presented by Dr. Liz Ametsbichler, Co-Chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures. Dr. Ametsbichler is also a faculty member in MCLL and teaches German courses in the department.

The third and last film was The Lives of Others (German Production, 2007) covering the time frame 1984 – 1991 and also the life and struggles of a couple in East Berlin. Dr. Udo Fluck, Director of Global Gateway in the Office of International Programs, delivered the introductory remarks, sharing how he learned about the fall of the Berlin Wall after he started his undergraduate education in the School of Journalism in the fall of 1989 at UM. Dr. Fluck teaches cross-cultural competence and film courses on campus.

The Roxy Theater, a Global Gateway member, provided a wonderful ambience to compliment the film focus on Germany. In addition to the traditional amenities, good sound, a high-quality projection and popcorn, the Roxy management ordered fresh-baked pretzels from a local bakery, which were available for purchase, along with traditional German refreshments.

With the film success this spring, the OIP Film Committee is looking forward to selecting three foreign films for the fall, to continue to provide a “window to the world”, linking Missoula to the world and the world to Missoula, by sharing foreign cultures, traditions, and customs.