Semester 1


5 October 2016 – Hable con ella (dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2002)

This Spanish classic is a beautiful meditation on loss and loneliness. It tells the gripping story of two men – a nurse (Javier Cámara) and a writer (Darío Grandinetti) – whose lives become intertwined after the loves of their lives end up in long and deep coma.

Introduced by Dr. Catherine O’Leary (Department of Spanish).

12 October 2016 – Literary Cafe with Dr Gavin Bowd: Mémoires d’Outre-France

Dr Gavin Bowd (lecturer in French at St Andrews since 1997) will be introducing his new book, Mémoires d’Outre-France, an autobiographical account of a peasant boy from the Scottish Borders who, at the beginning of the 1980s, fatefully falls in love with communism and almost all things French. A Caledonian Candide – or is it a Bolshevik Chateaubriand? – witnesses the defeat of his dreams and the emergence of another France, where the prospect of ‘civil war’ against Islam looms large. His Quixotic quest takes him through the suburbs of Paris, the ruins of ‘really existing socialism’, and even Manchester’s legendary night club The Haçienda, in the company of pop stars, politicians, sex workers and the enfant terrible of French letters, Michel Houellebecq. A tragi-comic tale of political, professional and personal failure? Peut-être. Mais il faut rire dans les ruines!

27 October 2016 – Professor Marvin Carlson: ‘Art and Politics: East and West’

Prof. Marvin Carlson, a world leading theatre scholar from the City University in New York, will visit St Andrews to deliver a public lecture on contemporary political theatre in the Arab and Western World: ‘Art and Politics: East and West’. His lecture is generously sponsored by The Honeyman Foundation (registered charity number: SC009431).

Prof. Carlson will compare the situation of contemporary political theatre in a range of Arab and Western countries, among them the US, England, Germany, Egypt, and Tunisia, suggesting how the dramatic traditions and conditions in each country have influenced the political theatre recently created there.


2 November 2016 – The Colour of Pomegranates (dir. Sergey Parajanov, 1969). Film Screening

Famed Soviet director Sergei Parajanov takes you on a surrealist trip to the world of 18th-century Armenian poet and musician Sayat-Nova. Hailed by Martin Scorsese as “pretty much unlike anything in cinema history”, this masterpiece is bound to create a magical and bewildering experience.


9 November 2016 – Shaul Bassi and the Merchant of Venice

2016 saw the 500th anniversary of the Jewish Ghetto in Venice. The official celebrations included the first ever production of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice in the Ghetto itself. Directed by Karin Coonrod, with an international, multilingual cast, the production met with wide acclaim. Shaul Bassi, professor of English at Venice University, and co-founder and director of Beit Venezia, was the driving force behind this potentially controversial initiative. He will talk to Derek Duncan (Department of Italian) about the relevance of the play to the Ghetto, and the history and challenges of putting on the Merchant in Venice.

Shaul Bassi is associate professor of English Literature at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice as well as co-founder and director of Beit Venezia: A Home for Jewish Culture.

16 November 2016 – A Conversation with Sarah Dunant

Sarah Dunant will be in conversation with Dr Claudia Rossignoli, a lecturer in Italian at St Andrews who specialises in Renaissance literature and culture.

Sarah is an award-winning writer, broadcaster, and critic. She was a founding vice patron of the Orange prize for fiction, and writes regularly for The Times, The Guardian and The Independent on Sunday. She teaches creative writing in London, the U.S. and is a creative writing fellow at Oxford Brookes university. To date she’s written ten novels, including Sacred Heart (2009) and the international bestseller The Birth of Venus (2003). Most of her work centres on the Italian Renaissance, and on the city of Florence in particular. She undertakes intensive historical research to add depth to her fiction and is especially interested in uncovering hidden women’s stories of the time. Her latest books re-tell the saga of the Borgia family: Blood and Beauty: The Borgias, 2013, and In the Name of the Family, 2017.

7 December 2016 – Tharthara fawq al-nīl (dir. Hussein Kamal, 1971)

Set against the backdrop of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, this seminal but little known film, ‘Chitchat on the Nile’, follows a group of frustrated Egyptians bobbing along the Nile. Smoking shisha seems the only way to escape the harsh reality of Egyptian society. Adapted form Naguib Mahfouz’s novel of the same title.

Introduced by Dr Maryam Ghorbankarimi (Department of Arabic and Persian).


14 December 2016 – In Conversation with Minna Moore Ede

Minna Moore Ede is a curator at the National Gallery in London who has overseen ambitious interdisciplinary exhibitions foregrounding innovative dialogues between art forms. In Metamorphosis (2012), she invited the Royal Ballet to create their own choreographic responses to three paintings by Titian, themselves based on poems from Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’. In Soundscapes (2015), a wide variety of musicians and sound artists were invited to compose audio responses to a painting of their choice from the Gallery’s collection. In this event, we will explore an exciting range of new directions for interdisciplinary artistic creations, translations, adaptations and responses, including insights into some of Minna’s future projects. In conversation with Dr David Evans (French Department).