Story by Allyson Cartwright

A hidden gem emerged out of the 2015 Virginia Film Festival in the German flick Victoria. This year’s festival garnered its largest audience yet and featured some star-studded films like the Cate Blanchett-helmed Carol, and Brooklyn, starring Saiorse Ronan. A film that stands out, however, is Victoria, directed by Sebastian Schipper and starring Laia Costa and Frederick Lau. The film has already won Outstanding Feature Film at the German Film Awards. When the programmer of the Virginia Film Festival, Wesley Harris, came out to introduce the film, he said it was one of the longest single-shot films ever produced and I felt a pain of agony at the thought of watching such a long and unedited film. But, after seeing Victoria, the two-and-a-half hour length film still left me wanting more and the single-shot camera style could not have been more fittingly brilliant.

The film starts out with a 20-something Spaniard named Victoria partying in an underground Berlin nightclub. She is alone, inebriated, and in a euphoric state. It is suggested that Victoria is lonely in this foreign country. As she is getting ready to exit the nightclub, she comes across a rowdy group of guys who crack jokes and make cheeky comments to the bouncer about Victoria being their friend and needing to be in the club with her. As they all leave together, a fast friendship forms between the group and Victoria.

The acting and dialogue in the film is so realistic that it recalled my own memories of travelling to Europe. Victoria is giggly and shy among these strange foreign guys and they pick up on it, which I think any foreign girl travelling in Europe can relate to. The guys become fond of Victoria’s foreign innocence and her sweetness, and try to get her to open up. There are jokes about their communication being lost in translation and playful teasing among the guys. The group’s interactions become kind of endearing and the guys’ friendship developing with Victoria seems natural.

The guys—Sonne, Fuss, Boxer, and Blinker—are wild from the get-go, but they start to appear a little dangerous after they begin smoking weed on a building rooftop. Boxer mentions to Victoria that he got the scar on his hand after being in a prison fight. These inklings of danger can almost go ignored. Their night of youthful messing-around and the silliness of the guys make the audience feel the bond that Victoria does. Despite the obvious red-flags, the guys still seem trustworthy. It turns out that Boxer owes money to someone for protection they gave him in prison. This person wants Boxer to do a bank robbery job that requires four men, but Fuss is too inebriated to be of any help. Boxer coerces Sonne to convince Victoria to be their getaway driver. He is hesitant to involve her, but Victoria is eager to help her new friends.

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her campus uva

Story by Sammy Scheman

            Her-Campus is an online publication for college women, known predominantly for witty articles about fashion, health, and friendship. However, the organization has been trying to incorporate a new core value, women’s empowerment, into their articles. Their event “How She Made U.Va’s Campus HerCampus” was a kick-start for their new focus on this theme. I have always struggled with understanding the meaning of “women’s empowerment.” It has always seemed like more of a buzz phrase that I was unsure of how to put into action. However, after listening to Emily McDuff, Alex Pinkleton, and Sherri Moore speak with at the event, I feel ready to create my own meaning of the phrase of “women’s empowerment,” as these three accomplished women have.

Emily McDuff, a fourth year double major in civil engineering and French, related her personal story to the struggle of women throughout history at U.Va. Emily discussed the first female student, Caroline Preston Davis, who came to U.Va. in 1892, and was not allowed to attend lectures. If Caroline passed her final exams, she was promised a certificate rather than a diploma. By 1970, when the first class of women was accepted to U.Va., every other school of U.Va.’s caliber had already been accepting women into their university. Throughout this historical pretext, Emily wove in stories about herself, and how history has shaped her. Her experience as a minority in the Engineering School, where boys have slipped her their number while passing her the homework, taught her the importance of being strong for future pioneering women, just as her mentors persevered for her. She explained that we are at this university to find ourselves as individuals, citing the first class of U.Va. women who were constantly asked to give the “woman’s perspective” of U.Va., rather than the perspective of an individual U.Va. student. It is time to recognize the individual passions and experiences of the men and women at U.Va.

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Story by Kimia Nikseresht

Just a few months ago, three young people were shot in the head in their home near the Chapel Hill campus of the University of North Carolina. Their shooter was a neighbor who claimed that his act of violence was due to frustrations over an on-going parking dispute. All three of the victims were students. All three were Muslims. Two were women, who chose to wear the Hijab.

While not all incidents of hate escalate to murder, anti-Hijab sentiments are quite common in the post-9/11 United States.

In an interview with U.Va. Today, Farzaneh Milani, renowned author and professor in the Women and Gender Studies and Middle Eastern Studies departments at U.Va., recalls walking into a classroom wearing the veil, in order to make a point to her students – as a society, we have developed an unhealthy obsession with the veil that prohibits us to see beyond it. Her students’ response was eye-opening: she was greeted with pure silence.

When she asked her class why they were so quiet, she finally got her answer. One student blurted out, “we are scared… You might be carrying a gun under your veil”. Milani explains, “I had ceased to be the teacher [my students] knew so well. I had become an image – a gun-toting, menacing woman. I have to admit, never before had I experienced firsthand the boundless power of stereotypes”.

While violent, headline-worthy incidents are rare, encounters with painfully explicit expressions of prejudice are dishearteningly common in the United States today. In fact, a study published in Making Connections: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Cultural Diversity, titled “Gender Identity and the Religious Practices of First-Generation Muslim Women Immigrants in the U.S.” shows that 85% of those interviewed could recount one or more blatant incidents of public humiliation, shaming, and threats. These can be physical, or mental and psychological.

Attiya Latif, a second year at the University of Virginia, has a story to tell that is unique to her own experience, but consistent in its implications. She recalls opening a surprise note in her 10th grade locker, where she found written, “Go back to where you came from. Kill yourself. Terrorist. Love, Jesus” by an anonymous classmate.

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Story by Kimia Nikseresht

Yeki bood, yeki nabood. There was one, there wasn’t one. These famous words have served as the gateway into millions of stories, told and retold by thousands of Persian storytellers for centuries. Four simple words- with massive significance. As Farzaneh Milani explained, “at the threshold of every story there is a warning that truth is elusive, that there is always another story, another side to the story. More important, it is a reminder that behind every storyteller stand several unacknowledged storytellers”.

On October 22, students, faculty, and staff gathered in the Small Collections Library at the University of Virginia to celebrate Farzaneh Milani’s scholarly work and contributions, as the 2015 recipient of the Elizabeth Zintl Leadership Award. A writer and journalist, Elizabeth Zintl held various positions at the University of Virginia, including her service as the Chief of Staff in the President’s Office. Zintl passed away in 1997, but her memory is honored and celebrated annually through the presentation of this award.

Sponsored by the Maxine Platzer Women’s Center, the award is presented annually to a female at the University of Virginia, honoring their professionalism, creativity, and commitment to their research, students, and their overall impact on the community. Previous recipients include senior associate director of athletics Jane Miller (2014), and dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Meredith Jung-En Woo (2013), Vice Provost for Administration and Chief of Staff And a Webb (2012), and others whose leadership has inspired women and men at the University and beyond.

The evening included a thoughtful introduction by Jahan Ramazani, Edgar F. Shannon Professor of English at the University, who expressed his admiration for Milani’s “sheer passion and devotion” to her students. He went on to applaud Milani’s character and “innovative, ground-breaking, and sometimes provocative” scholarship.

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All photos taken by Jack Looney.

Story by Allyson Cartwright

On October 26 indie-rock band Modest Mouse performed their new album, “Strangers to Ourselves” at the Charlottesville nTelos Wireless Pavilion for a sold-out show. After an eight-year hiatus, Modest Mouse is back to making the music that is familiar to their fans. Their sixth and latest album is 15-tracks of heavy rock-driven tracks that are characteristic of the bands previous work.

While this latest album is a welcomed return for the band, there seems to not have been much growth in their time off. The album is composed of more contemplative songs about the same existential crisis in the band’s previous albums like, “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” (2004) and “The Moon & Antarctica” (2007). Their song “Sugar Boats” was even an uncharacteristic pop style equivalent to the band’s massively popular 2004 hit “Float On”.

Just like previous Modest Mouse albums, the songs are basically about human existence having no purpose and life being a monotonous drought. Tracks like “Be Brave” and the title track, “Strangers to Ourselves” really depict this message in old-school Modest Mouse fashion. Repetitive phrasing like “From day, to day, to day, to day to today/We carry, we carry, we carry our own weight” in “Be Brave” resembles the line about being “stuck in traffic” in “Strangers to Ourselves”. Most all songs depict this purposelessness of life, but that theme is nothing new for Modest Mouse. The songs that varied from this are “Coyotes” and “The Best Room”, which are more about degrading human behavior and intentional ignorance. Overall, it was comforting to hear that Modest Mouse has stayed true to their original kind of music even after such a long break, but it was unexciting. I wanted to hear about new experiences and new ideas. After taking a break from music that should have provided inspiration for unexplored themes, but they reintroduced the same stale messages about life that could be heard on literally any other Modest Mouse album.

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