Champlain College commemorates National French Week (Nov. 4-10) by presenting the Tourn es Festival. Five recent French films will be shown from Nov. 5-7 at Alumni Auditorium on the Champlain College campus. National French Week is an annual celebration of French language and Francophone cultures organized by the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). The screenings are free and open to the public and will be followed by a discussion. All the films have English subtitles.
Now in its fourth year at Champlain, the Tourn es Festival of weekend screenings begins Friday, Nov. 5 at 7 pm in Alumni Auditorium campus. Subsequent showings are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 6, at 2, 4:30 and 7:30 pm and Sunday, Nov. 7, at 2 pm. All films will be introduced by Antoine J. Polgar of the Champlain faculty. According to Dr. Polgar who will lead the post-screening discussions, "French cinema adds an important dimension to the teaching and understanding of French language, culture and civilization."
The Tourn es Festival Screenings at Champlain College are made possible by a grant from French American Cultural Exchange, with support from the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Centre National de la Cin matographie, the Florence Gould Foundation, the Grand Marnier Foundation, Highbrow Entertainment, and the Franco-American Cultural Fund. Refreshments will be provided by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.
The Tourn es Festival schedule at Champlain is:
Friday, Nov. 5, 7 pm "WELCOME" Director: Philippe Lioret; Screenplay: Olivier Adam, Emmanuel Courcol & Philippe Lioret; Awards: Best Picture - Lumi re Award (2010); Genre: Drama; Running Time: 110 minutes; Production: France, 2008; Not Rated.
A study of a budding friendship and a compassionate look at the perils faced by illegal immigrants. Philippe Lioret's Welcome centers on Bilal, a 17-year-old Iraqi Kurd stuck in Calais, in Northern France, and Simon, a recently divorced swimming teacher. Desperate to join his girlfriend in London, Bilal vows to swim across the English Channel if he has to, setting the stage for his meeting with Simon, the swimming teacher. "The action takes place against a topical background, with the film offering a quietly impassioned critique of the French government's harsh policies towards illegal immigrants." Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily.
Saturday, Nov. 6, 2 pm, 35 RHUMS (35 Shots of Rum). Director: Claire Denis; Screenplay: Claire Denis & Jean-Pol Fargeau: Genre: Drama; Running time: 100-minutes; Production: France, 2008; Not Rated.
Directed by Claire Denis, one of France's most important filmmakers, 35 Shots of Rum is an account of a relationship between a widowed father, Lionel, and his university-student daughter, Jos phine. An homage to Yasujiro Ozu's similarly themed Late Spring (1949), 35 Shots is Claire Denis's warmest, most radiant work, honoring a family's closeness while suggesting its potential for suffocation.
Saturday, Nov. 6, 4:30 pm, L'Epine dans le Cur (The Thorn in the Heart). Director : Michel Gondry ; Writer : Michel Gondry ; Genre : Documentary ; Running time : 86 minutes; Production: France, 2009; Not Rated; World Premiere: Cannes Film Festival 2009.
Best known for stories of whimsical dreamers desperate for love, like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and The Science of Sleep (2006), Michel Gondry captures his most compelling protagonist in The Thorn in the Heart, an affectionate documentary about his aunt Suzette, a kind, resilient matriarch who worked as a schoolteacher in rural, isolated villages in France from 1952 to 1986. Though the documentary is unquestionably a tribute to this remarkable woman's career, the director also explores the more treacherous terrain of Suzette's relationship with her mentally fragile, gay son Jean-Yves, who suffered a breakdown after the death of his father.
Saturday, Nov. 6, 7:30 pm, Le Chant des Mari es (The Wedding Song) Director: Karin Albou; Screenplay: Karin Albou; Genre: Drama; Running Time: 100-minutes; Production: France, 2007; Not Rated. Director Karin Albou reveals herself to be a highly gifted, sensitive chronicler of both the complex lives of young women and religious differences. Set in Nazi-occupied Tunis in 1942, The Wedding Song focuses on the friendship between teenagers Nour, a devout Muslim celebrating her engagement to Khaled, and her neighbor Myriam, a secular Jew living with her widowed mother, Tita. Nour's wedding to Khaled must be postponed until he can secure financial stability; hired as an informer by the Nazis, Khaled will soon threaten to destroy the bonds between the two heroines.
Sunday, Nov. 7, 2 p.m., 36 Vues du Pic Saint-Louis (Around a Small Mountain). Director: Jacques Rivette; Screenplay: Pascal Bonitzer, Christine Laurent & Jacques Rivette; Genre: Drama; Running time 84 minutes; Production: France, Italy, 2009; Not Rated.
Master filmmaker Jacques Rivette, now 82, returns to one of his favorite themes- the hope and wonder of life and performance. This elegant work begins with a chance encounter on a mountain road. After a 15-year absence, Kate returns to the town where her late father ran a small circus. When her car breaks down, she is assisted by Vittorio, a stranger; Kate thanks him by inviting him to attend a circus show. Vittorio is immediately enchanted, following the troupe as they move from hamlet to hamlet. He is also equally fascinated with the melancholy Kate. The source of Kate's sadness is presented in a series of monologues about secret histories and buried truths, flawlessly performed by Jane Birkin.