Fairmont State University is the first university in West Virginia to be awarded a grant to host the Tournées Film Festival, held annually since 2004. The festival is a program of the French American Cultural Exchange (FACE), in partnershp with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.
Six French language films have been selected for free weekly screenings open to the public from Oct. 4 through Nov. 12 on the FSU campus in Conference Room 1, located on the third floor of the Falcon Center, and Multi-media Room A of the Ruth Ann Musick Library.
The selected films are: “Les contes de la nuit” (“Tales of the Night”), directed by Michel Ocelot; “Le gamin au vélo” (“The Kid with a Bike”), directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne; “La grotte des rêves perdus” (“Cave of Forgotten Dreams”), directed by Werner Herzog; “Film Socialisme” (“Film Socialism”), directed by Jean-Luc Godard; “Les plages d’Agnès” (“The Beaches of Agnes”), directed by Agnes Varda; and “Un homme qui crie” (“A Screaming Man”), directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun. The films explore diverse subject matter in many formats, including drama, documentary and animation.
Dr. Erin Hippolyte, Associate Professor of French, says that she is “seeking now to participate in the Tournées Festival because it is an event with history and context, a quality selection of films and a mission to bring French-language culture to the public via institutions of higher education across the nation. The Festival will also fit in with other efforts to internationalize our campus and community.”
For students, the Festival is also an opportunity to connect ideas inside and outside the classroom, in areas including the Honors Program and Hippolyte’s Caribbean Literature class.
“I selected films with interdisciplinary connections in mind, in other words, while asking myself what works best for our community. We are interested in the fact that French-language culture is relevant to our times and to a diverse audience,” Hippolyte said.
Admission is free, and the Festival is open to the public. A programming guide is available with film descriptions. For more information, contact Dr. Erin Hippolyte at Erin.Hippolyte@fairmontstate.edu. The festival is sponsored by Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S.
Centre National de la Cinématographie et de l'Image Animée Florence Gould Foundation CampusFrance Highbrow Entertainment
Thursday, Oct. 4, 11 a.m., Conference Room 1, third floor, Falcon Center
“les contes de la nuit” (“Tales of the Night”)
Directed by Michel Ocelot
2011 / 84 min.
The esteemed animator Michel Ocelot, best known for “Kirikou and the Sorceress” (1998) and “Azur and Asmar” (2006), returns with “Tales of the Night,” his first film shot in 3D. This collection of six marvelous, visually bold fairy tales is rendered in a “shadow puppet style,” with silhouetted characters set against gorgeously colored, Day-Glo backgrounds. Propelling the stories in motion are a young actor and actress, who meet with an older screenwriter to bring their imaginative fables to life, inserting themselves into their own fantasies.
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 7 p.m., Multi-media Room A, Ruth Ann Musick Library
“Le gamin au vélo” (“The Kid with a Bike”)
Directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
2011 / 87 min.
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s sublime tale of love and redemption begins with an 11-year-old boy in frantic, desperate motion. Refusing to acknowledge that he’s been abandoned by his father, Cyril escapes the children’s home where he’s been living, hoping to be reunited with his dad—and to find his lost bicycle. He returns to the apartment complex where they once lived, only to find a deserted flat.
Wednesday, Oct. 24, 7 p.m., Multi-media Room A, Ruth Ann Musick Library
“La grotte des rêves perdus” (“Cave of Forgotten Dreams”)
Directed by Werner Herzog
2011 / 95 min.
Werner Herzog’s breathtaking documentary—the estimable German director’s first film to be shot in the 3D format—gives viewers an unprecedented look at, as he accurately describes it, “one of the great discoveries in the history of human culture”: the prehistoric drawings in the Chauvet- Pont-d’Arc Cave in the south of France. First discovered in 1994, the images—including depictions of lions and mammoths—were made 30,000 years ago and are the earliest known human art. Herzog and his tiny crew were granted special permission to enter the cave, which remains off-limits to the public, by the French minister of culture; the director’s interviews with Gallic historians scientists, and other experts help provide context for this extraordinary site.
Wednesday, Oct. 31, 7 p.m., Multi-media Room A, Ruth Ann Musick Library
“Film Socialisme” (“Film Socialism”)
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
2010 / 102 min.
The “éminence grise” of French cinema, Jean-Luc Godard tackles nothing less than the history of Europe and intractable conflicts around the globe in his latest profound cine-essay. The first hour of “Film Socialisme” is set on a Mediterranean cruise ship, which docks in ports in Egypt, Greece, Spain and Italy, among others. At each stop, passengers reflect on both the horrors of Europe’s past—the Inquisition, the Holocaust—and its uncertain future. In its second half, the focus shifts to a rural gas station whose owners appear to be in the midst of a marital crisis.
Wednesday, Nov. 7, 7 p.m., Multi-media Room A, Ruth Ann Musick Library
“Les plages d’Agnès” (“The Beaches of Agnes”)
Directed by Agnes Varda
2008 / 110 min.
On the eve of her 80th birthday, Agnès Varda, often referred to as “the godmother of the French New Wave,” decided to make the autobiographical “The Beaches of Agnes,” guiding us through her extraordinary 55-year career and poignantly reminiscing about her husband, the filmmaker Jacques Demy (best known for “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”), who died of AIDS in 1990—information that Varda makes public here for the first time. Raising two children—costume designer Rosalie Varda and actor Mathieu Demy—and making some of France’s greatest movies from the 1960s, Varda and Demy traveled the world but appeared to have been most at home in the “septième” art. Or, as Varda puts it: “Cinema—I feel like I’ve always lived in it.”
Monday, Nov. 12, 7 p.m., Multi-media Room A, Ruth Ann Musick Library
“Un homme qui crie” (“A Screaming Man”)
Directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
2010 / 92 min.
Working on a scale both intimate (a father’s wounded ego) and epic (a nation torn apart by civil war), writer-director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun creates a remarkable portrait of present-day Chad. Adam, a 55-year-old former swimming champion, takes great pride in his work as the pool attendant at a luxury hotel in N’Djamena, the nation’s capital. Adam is assisted in his job by his son, Abdel; their friendly competitiveness is highlighted in the film’s opening scene, as the two men see who can stay underwater the longest. At home with his wife, with whom he is still blissfully in love, Adam pays little attention to the news reports of insurgent attacks on the Chadian army.