The French Film Festival – A Preview

The Tournees Festival

Written by Meg Susong

The Tournées Festival: Five French Films Not To Miss

For the second year in a row, Southwestern will be holding The Tournées Film Festival, which will be showing five French films over the course of September and October.

The festival, directed by Assistant Professor of French Aaron Prevots, Assistant Professor of French in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, features five recent films from or about France. Each film ranges from two-to-three hours in length, and will be shown in Olin 105 every Wednesday, starting at 7 p.m. All films are free, and will be open to the SU community as well as the publicpublic as well as the SU community.

This year’s’ series of films will focus on love, ranging from warm recollections of friends and family, to first glances and flowering passions, to spiritual life in a monastery in the Alps. The series highlights both diverse approaches to the relationships that define us, and an array of cinematic techniques that evoke how love shapes our lives.

The festival’s first film, Le Scaphandre et Le Papillon (The Diving Bell & The Butterfly), tells the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, the editor of French magazine ELLE, who was a key player in Parisian social and cultural circles before suffering a massive stroke at the age of 43. He developed what doctors called a locked-in syndrome: Hhe lost all muscle control, save his left eyelid. Blinking one letter at a time, he composed a book describing his new life. As soon as it was published the book became an international best-seller; sadly Bauby died shortly after. It is rated PG-13, and played Sept.ember 10th.

The second of five films, Ne Le Dis à Personne (Tell No One) follows Alex, a pediatrician, who has been devastated since his wife Margot, his childhood sweetheart, was savagely murdered eight years agobefore. One day he receives an anonymous email.l.: Wwhen he clicks on the inserted link, he sees a woman’s face standing in a crowd, being filmed live. Alex is in shock: he is looking at Margot’s face… , unsure if Is she still alivelives.? Why does Sshe instructs him to tell no one, but? Alex’s unrelenting questioning will unravel a sordid story that will incriminate unscrupulous family members and ultimately reunite him with his wife. This unrated 2006 film, based on Harlan Coben’s novel, plays on September Sept. 17th, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The third film, “L’origine de La Tendresse” et Autres Contes (L’origine de La Tendresse” and Other Tales) is a collection of six shorts, filmed from 1999between 1999 and -2007. The six films, dealing with love, lost, elections and unusual situations, are titled “Gratte-papier” (“Pen-pusher”), “Ma Mère, Une Histoire D’immigration” (“My Mother, Story of an Immigration”), “Une Voix, Un Vote” (“One Voice, One Vote”), “Le Dernier Jour” (“The Last Day”), “L’origine de La Tendresse,” and “Kitchen.” This collection shows on September Sept. 24th, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The second-to-last film, Lady Chatterley, tells the story of Constance Reid, who, at age 23, marries Clifford Chatterley, an irresistible Cambridge graduate, lieutenant and mine owner. It is 1917 and Clifford is soon drafted. When he returns from the front in Flanders he is a broken man, condemned to spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Constance looks back longingly to the years before her marriage when she spent her time with artists and students of her own age, enjoying long trips abroad. Now she feels lonely and isolated in a rural environment that bores her. It is her taciturn gamekeeper,, Parkin,, who will awaken Lady Chatterley’s desires, ones that she has never felt before. His life and background is so diametrically opposed to her own that at first Parkin does not trust his mistress. He does not understand what a lLady would want from a simple man such as himself. This unrated (but suggested for mature audiences) film, aAdapted from D. H. Lawrence’s controversial 1928 novel “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” plays on October Oct. 1st, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The last film in this year’s’ festival, Le Grand Silence (Into Great Silence), is a transcendent look at spirituality that was quietly quietly filmed at the Grande Chartreuse monastery. Nestled deep in the postcard-perfect French Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is considered one of the world’s most ascetic monasteries. In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order for permission to make a documentary about them. They said they would get back to him. Sixteen years later, they were ready. The final film, released in 2005, plays on October 8th, fr8 fromom 7p.m. to 10p.m.

This year, Southwestern’s French pProgram received an $1,800 grant for the community-wide festival. It is made possible with the support of the Cultural Services D department of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture (CNC). The Tournées Film Festival itself is a program of FACE (French American Cultural Exchange). According to theirits official website, FACE “is a nonprofit organization, chartered by the state of New York. FACE, is dedicated to nurturing French-American relations through innovative international projects in the arts, education, and cultural exchange.”

Furthermore, The Tournées Festival is designed “to help bring contemporary French cinema to your college or university campus. The Tournées Festival was conceived to encourage schools to begin their own self-sustaining French film festivals. Since its inception, the program has partnered with hundreds of universities and made it possible for more than 300,000 students to discover French-language films. The Tournées Festival distributes approximately $180,000 in grants annually. Schools that show films on DVD will continue to receive a grant of $1,800 to show five films ($360 per film).”

As an unofficial addition to the festival, the film Persepolis, will also be shown this semester. This film, in a unique black-and-white animation style, is the poignant story of a young girl coming of age in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. The film plays in October.

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