Feature Story

February 28, 2022 | By Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan faculty members Eva Paris-Huesca (left) and Jun Kawabe have launched the new ‘Bishops at the Movies’ series. Each film is followed by cross-cultural discussions. (Photo courtesy of Eva Paris-Huesca)

‘Bishops at the Movies’

World Languages Film Series Encourages Discussions of Family

Ohio Wesleyan University’s Department of World Languages and Cultures is debuting a new film series this semester to help students explore ideas and issues regarding families in different countries and cultures.

The free series kicked off Feb. 23 and will continue at 7 p.m. Wednesdays through March 23 when classes are in session. It was created by faculty members Eva Paris-Huesca, associate professor of Spanish and director of the Film Studies Program, and Jun Kawabe, lecturer in Japanese.

“We hope the ‘Bishop at the Movies: Family Film Series’ fosters a close-knit community of students eager to learn about the diverse representations of family and family issues as portrayed on the screen, share their own experiences, and open themselves to different interpretations, thereby gaining a global cultural understanding of the complexity of this topic,” they said.

This year’s series features movies that explore the Spanish and Japanese cultures, with each future series expected to explore two additional cultures. Paris-Huesca and Kawabe said they chose movies to inform the discussions to help engage students and spur discussion.

“Movies are always fun to watch, and cinema is a powerful educational tool that grants us an imaginary space from which to view the world in all its cultural and linguistic richness,” they said. “Through cinema, students get connected with other people, other cultures, other languages, and other living experiences.

“We chose to start with the topic of family because each society shares a common understanding of what this is or should be, but at the same time, different cultures have different values that shape their idea of family,” they continued. “The main goal is to provide students with a physical space outside the classroom where we can further explore cultural and societal issues from different perspectives.”

With Ohio Wesleyan committed to providing opportunities for students to travel internationally, Paris-Huesca and Kawabe said, they hope the series will help to inform and support these OWU Connection experiences.

“When students complete a study abroad experience, one of the most common challenges they face is related to a cultural shock or a cultural difference,” they said. “When students live with a host family, the cultural shock many times relates to unfamiliarity with how families interact in the new culture, and to the different values or even traditions they are exposed to. We would like this topic to continue for the next series so that we can help share a breadth and depth of cultural information.”

Additional films in this year’s debut “Bishops at the Movies” series are “El Olivo” (March 2), “Like Father, Like Son” (March 16), and “Ahi Te Encargo / You’ve Got This” (March 23). All screenings will be held in Room 312 of the R.W. Corns Building and be followed by a moderated group discussion.

Paris-Huesca and Kawabe said examples of the questions that attendees may explore include How do families interact? What are some of the main issues that affect families? Who is included as a family member? What are some of the common gender roles assigned in families? What values seem to be changing from generation to generation? How did you feel after watching these films?

The faculty members also hope to receive feedback from students who attend the screenings regarding what other countries and topics they want to explore next. “We are also considering future series that extend beyond countries,” they said. “That is, European/Asian cinemas, Northern/Southern hemispheres, in order to represent the ‘wholeness’ of the world.”

Learn more about “Bishops at the Movies” via Instagram at @owuwlc or @owu_film. Learn more about the Department of World Languages and Cultures at owu.edu/wlc and more about the Film Studies Program at owu.edu/filmstudies.