Foreign Focus


Foreign Focus is a monthly series screening the best contemporary films from across the globe. As a space for cultural enrichment, we understand how essential it is to expose our audiences to different realities and perspectives. With the creation of our new series Foreign Focus, we want our audience to explore the world through striking images and thought provoking content.

Foreign Focus will transport you to awe-inspiring places where you will witness different traditions and be fascinated by the infinite ways human beings interact throughout the world.

Foreign Focus is sponsored by:
Dr. Gail Morrison
Aaron and Andrea West
Paul and Jean Denman
David Whiteman and Lee Jane Kaufman

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May 30

Starless Dreams

This screening is in conjunction with The Seventh Art Stand, a nation-wide film series presented by movie theaters and community centers across the U.S. as an act of cinematic solidarity against Islamophobia.

The Nickelodeon Theatre is proud to partner with The Columbia World Affairs Council to present Starless Dreams. The film will be followed by a conversation​ on Iranian culture and the impact of the proposed travel ban on our society and the Iranian community living in the United States​.

The post-film discussion will be led by The Executive Director of the Columbia World Affairs Council, Dickson Monk and Dara Azar, an Iranian graduate student at USC. Dara moved to the US to pursue his dreams and become a researcher in the field of Cardiovascular Tissue Mechanics. Azar believes that through Starless Dreams, Iranian Director Mehrdad Oskouei sheds light on a topic that is rarely talked about by giving voice to characters with unimaginable experiences.

Director: Mehrdad Oskouei

Starless Dreams plunges us into the lives of young teenage girls sharing temporary quarters at a juvenile detention center on the outskirts of Tehran. Director Mehrdad Oskouei, one of Iran's most prominent filmmakers, spent seven years securing access to this all-female facility. As the New Year approaches, the girls bond, and reveal—with playfully disarming honesty—the circumstances and acts that resulted in their incarceration.

Jun 02


This film is a part of our Foreign Focus series.

Director: Cristian Mungiu

Acclaimed filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days) returns with this searing human saga about a father driven to extremes in order to protect his daughter’s future. Romeo Aldea (Adrian Titieni) is a seemingly honest doctor who regrets having settled in his native Romania, a country still teeming with corruption and back dealings. He channels his ambitions for a better life into his teenage daughter, Eliza (Maria Dragus), who’s just one exam away from securing a scholarship to a prestigious British university. But when Eliza is attacked on the eve of her test, endangering her ability to pass, Romeo takes matters into his own hands to ensure her success. Winner of the Best Director prize at Cannes, Graduation is a masterful look at the complex moral choices and compromises some people make when desperation takes hold.

Jun 14

After the Storm

This film is a part of our Foreign Focus series.

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

A struggling novelist, now working as a private detective under the pretense of doing research, attempts to reconcile with his aging mother, ex-wife and 11-year-old son. As a typhoon passes, they end up spending the night together in his mother’s Tokyo apartment, but things don’t go particularly well for this fractured family.

Jul 12

As I Open My Eyes

This film is a part of our Foreign Focus series.

Director: Leyla Bouzid

A few months before the revolution in Tunisia, 18 year-old Farah has a passion for life and sings in a political rock band. Her mother, knowing the dangers of Tunisia, wants her to pursue a career as a doctor.

Aug 09


This film is a part of our Foreign Focus series.

Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho

Clara, the last resident of Aquarius building, refuses to sell her apartment to a construction company that intends to replace it with a new edifice.

Sep 13

Pop Aye

A part of Foreign Focus.

Director: Kirsten Tan

On a chance encounter, a disenchanted architect bumps into his long-lost elephant on the streets of Bangkok. Excited, he takes his elephant on a journey across Thailand, in search of the farm where they grew up together.