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Southwestern to Host French Film Festival

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Five recent films from France to be shown beginning Sept. 9

The French Program at Southwestern University has received an $1,800 grant that will enable it to host its third annual communitywide Tournees Film Festival. The festival will feature five recent films from France. Films will be shown Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. beginning Sept. 9.
The movies to be shown are as follows:

Wednesday, Sept. 9
“The Class” (Laurent Cantet, 2008). A true story of classroom life and cultural assimilation at a diverse Parisian junior high school.

Wednesday, Sept. 16
“Love songs” (Christophe Honoré, 2007). An exploration of twentysomethings’ emotions and sexuality, in a tuneful musical set in today’s Paris.

Wednesday, Sept. 23
“Two Days in Paris” (Julie Delpy, 2007). A humorous look at relationships and the misunderstandings that mark ‘French versus American’ debates.

Wednesday, Sept. 30
“Crossed Tracks” (Claude Lelouch, 2007). A gripping, complex homage to the twists and turns of French mystery novels.

Wednesday, Oct. 7
“The Beaches of Agnes” (Agnes Varda, 2008). Agnes Varda’s autobiographical look at her filmmaking career, with playful photos, clips and dialogue.

All films will be shown in French with English subtitles, in room 105 of the F.W. Olin Building (see campus map at www.southwestern.edu/map). They are free and open to the public.

The film festival is being organized by Aaron Prevots, assistant professor of French in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Prevots received a grant to show the films from the Tournees Festival, a program of the French American Cultural Exchange (FACE). The program is made possible by support from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Centre National de la Cinématographie, the Grand Marnier Foundation, the Florence Gould Foundation, the Franco-American Cultural Fund (SACEM, the Writers Guild of America, the Directors Guild of America and the Motion Picture Association), and Highbrow Entertainment.

Southwestern University is one of about 100 universities receiving this national grant to host the 2009-2010 Tournees Festival. Since its inception, the Tournees program has made it possible for more than 300,000 students to discover French-language films.

“We are looking forward to this chance to share with the local community the work of major talents from contemporary France,” Prevots said.

The films are recent releases that have enjoyed acclaim abroad. “The Class,” set in a contemporary school, won the prestigious “Palme d’Or” at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. “Love Songs,” whose characters express their heartache through song, likewise gained recognition by winning a 2008 “Cesar” in the category “Best Music Written for Film.” “The Beaches of Agnes,” a self-portrait from French cultural icon Agnes Varda, won several 2009 “Best Documentary” awards.

According to Prevots, well-known actors appearing in the series include Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier and Chiara Mastroianni in “Love Songs,” Julie Delpy in the self-directed “Two Days in Paris” and Fanny Ardant in “Crossed Tracks.”

“This year’s Tournees offerings once again enabled us to choose a wonderful range of films,” Prevots emphasized. “‘The Class’ inspires discussion about diversity, ‘Love Songs’ weds emotion to cityscapes and ‘Two Days in Paris’ provides comic relief, while ‘Crossed Tracks’ and ‘The Beaches of Agnes’ round out the festival with plot surprises and a colorful palette of images and ideas.”

For more information on the festival, including synopses of each film, visit www.southwestern.edu/~prevots/tournees/.