Center for Global Studies

Transitional & Transnational Justice Working Group
Spring 2011 Second Annual Film Series


Global Justice

Women, War & Settling Accounts After Atrocity


As a sequel to last year's successful festival, 'Global Justice: Responses from Around the World to Mass Atrocity,' this film series continues to offer a variety of cinematic representations about diverse ways people and movements respond to atrocity and injustice around the world. The film series showcases cutting-edge documentary films (see list along with screening dates and times below) that explore a wide variety of issues, such as the creativity and strength of women whose children and spouses were “disappeared” by the Chilean dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s; the difficulties facing the special court for past atrocities in Sierra Leone; the courageous Burmese journalists who ensure that news continues to be reported from their closed and oppressive country; and the legacy of war for women in Peru, especially the victims of rape and their family members. Each screening will be followed by a Q&A session led by a Mason faculty member. The capstone event will feature a presentation by a Harvard anthropologist whose research inspired the Oscar-nominated film "Milk of Sorrow" on rape and war in Peru.


The film series is the result of a collaboration among Mason faculty members across a variety of disciplines who have collaborated since 2007 in the Transitional & Transnational Justice Working Group to study and research different mechanisms of coping with past mass violence and injustice. The Working Group is an initiative of the Center for Global Studies.

Our hope is that the film series will initiate a campus-wide debate within the Mason community about the challenges of global justice not only in far-away places such as Peru and Sierra Leone, but at home as well.

The Transitional & Transnational Justice Working Group film series is co-sponsored by the Center for Global Studies, Global Interdisciplinary Programs, University Life, and the Department of Public and International Affairs.

For additional info please contact the Film Series Chair, Professor Jo-Marie Burt Program Coordinator Arnaud Kurze.


Full film schedule [pdf]

Threads of Hope

March 24 @ 12:00 pm—Research I Room 163

For more details on the film, click here

Featuring panel discussion by Mason faculty Jo-Marie Burt and Ricardo Vivancos-Perez


This revealing documentary on the ‘disappeared’ during the reign of terror after the Pinochet military coup in 1973—which led to torture and execution of thousands of innocent people and which was denied by the military until the discovery of mass graves and a report of the new government disclosing these facts—tells the story of women left behind. This footage, which was clandestinely shot by Chilean citizens. illustrates the moving stories of Doris Menicord, Violeta Morales and Inelia Hermosilla, each of whom mourn for their disappeared family members. Despite their individual tragedies, however, they have found the courage to help create workshops, soup kitchen and other projects to triumph over the terrible past all of them were facing.


War Don Don

April 5 @ 7:30 pm—Founders Hall 134, Arlington Campus
For official film site, click here

Featuring panel discussion by Mason faculty Patricia Maulden and ICAR PhD candidate Vandy Kanyako


Throughout the 1990s, Sierra Leone, at the West African shorelines, was plagued by a horrendous civil war. In the early 2000s, the new government and the UN negotiated terms to establish a special court that would be able to put on trial those responsible for grave human rights violations. In 2002, the agreement was signed, creating the court in the heart of the country’s capital, Freetown. This award-winning film is based on unprecedented access to prosecutors, defense attorneys, victims and perpetrators, and highlights the challenges justice is facing in an attempt to cope with past mass atrocities. It offers an account of the complex moral, political, and legal issues when rebuilding lawless and war torn nations.

Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country

April 13 @ 4:30 pm—Research I Room 163

For official film site, click here

Featuring panel discussion led by Mason faculty John Dale


Despite the risk of torture and imprisonment, courageous young citizens of Burma engage in journalistic video reporting, thus keeping up the flow of news from their closed country. Equipped with small handycams the so called Burma VJs are unstoppable when delivering their reportages from the streets of Rangoon. Their footage is then smuggled out of the country and broadcast back into Burma via satellite. This film is not only about high-risk journalism and dissidence in a police state, but also provides valuable insights on the historical and dramatic days of September 2007, when the Buddhist monks marched peacefully in the streets, rising against the military regime.


Milk of Sorrow

April 19 @ 4:30 pm—Mason Hall, Meese Room

For official film site, click here

Featuring guest speaker Harvard anthropologist Kimberly Theidon


Milk of Sorrow, a runner up for last year’s Academy Awards for best foreign film, follows the story of Fausta who is suffering from “La Teta Asustada” (The Milk of Sorrow), an illness transmitted through the breast milk of women who were raped or mistreated during the war of terror in Peru. War has ended but Fausta lives on, haunted by it, because the “illness of fear” has taken away her soul. Now the sudden death of her mother forces her to face her fears and the secret she’s been hiding inside: she has inserted a potato into her vagina, like a protection shield, so that nobody will dare to touch her. The Milk of Sorrow is about the search for healing. A voyage from fear to freedom.


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