Connecting Through Storytelling
The 2015 Tournées French Film at Roger Williams University in collaboration with FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival
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BRISTOL, RI: FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) and Roger Williams University (RWU) are proud to collaborate in the presentation of the Second Annual RWU Tournées French Film Festival. The Festival will take place over a five-day period, April 7-11, 2015 and will be free to the general public and campus community. The campus of Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI will serve as the host location for the Festival
The Tournées French Film Festival will present five new important French feature films, one classic film title (all with English subtitles), and a selection of shorts films that FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival will premiere through its partnership with UNIIFRANCE that will precede each feature.
Festival screenings at Roger Williams University will take place at the Mary Tefft White Cultural Center and Global Heritage Hall, Room GH01 on the RWU Campus.
The theme for this year’s Festival is “Connecting through Storytelling,” and will include a discussion on the power of film as a means for intercultural exchange by Magali Boutiot, Mission culturelle et universitaire aux Etats-Unis
Consulat de France à Boston.
For the past few decades, an array of contemporary French filmmakers have sought to use film as a means to wrest us from the illusions provided by the narrative of global connectivity. Often focusing on protagonists who exist outside dominant culture, or who feel detached from it, these filmmakers have tried to illuminate the realities of social oppression, isolation and alienation; while simultaneously foregrounding the powerful human desire for acceptance, intimacy and belonging.
The RWU Tournées French Film Festival offers films that continue on in this vein. Each film centers on characters struggling to make social connections in a world that is often constructed to keep them apart.
Aesthetically, these films eschew Hollywood’s affinity for vibrant imagery, hyper-kinetic editing, broad characterizations and closed endings. Long-takes, hand-held-cameras, natural dialogue, complex characters and ambiguous narratives are used to create cinematic experiences that feel like life-as-it-is-lived; these are all films that invite the audience to engage with the world, rather than escape from it.
The Third Annual RWU Tournées French Film Festival is made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture (CNC), The Florence Gould Foundation, the Grand Marnier Foundation and highbrow entertainment. The Festival is presented in collaboration with the Office of the Dean of Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences of the; the Department of Communications; the Department of Theatre; Hillel; the Spiritual Life Program, the RWU Film Production Club and the Flickers: Rhode Island International Film Festival.
The Program Directors for the Second Annual RWU Tournées French Film Festival are Dr. Roberta Adams, Associate Dean of Humanities and Performing Arts; Dr. Jeffrey Martin, Professor of Theatre and Chair, Department of Performing Arts; the Rev. Nancy Hamlin Soukup, RWU University Multi-faith Chaplain, and George T. Marshall, Executive Director, FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival. Technical support has been provided by the RWU Film Production Club.
The Tournées French Film Festival will present six new important French feature films, (all with English subtitles), along with a selection of shorts films that FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival will premiere from its partnership with UNIIFRANCE that will precede each feature.
Tuesday, April 7th
Time and Location: TBA
THE FRENCH MINISTER (QUAI D’ORSAY)
Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Screenplay: Bertrand Tavernier, Christophe Blain, and Antonin Baudry. From the graphic novel by Christophe Blain and Abel Lanzac
Cast: Alexandre Taillard de Vorms: Thierry Lhermitte,
Arthur Vlaminck: Raphaël Personnaz, Claude Maupas: Niels Arestrup,
Stéphane Cahut: Bruno Raffaelli,
Valérie Dumontheil: Julie Gayet,
Marina: Anaïs Demoustier
Running time:113’ Production: France, 2013 Rating: Not Rated
Directed by Bertrand Tavernier, this razor-sharp satire of politics—both those enacted on the world stage and within the corridors of workplaces—originated in first-hand experience: The film is adapted from graphic novels written by Antonin Baudry, who worked as a speechwriter for Dominique de Villepin, the French foreign minister during the lead-up to the 2003 war in Iraq. (Baudry co-wrote the screenplay with Tavernier and Christophe Blain, who illustrated the books.) As the Baudry surrogate, Raphaël Personnaz plays Arthur, recently hired by the imperiously named, high-ranking diplomat Alexandre Taillard de Worms (Thierry Lhermitte), a man who speaks in orotund outbursts. These thickets of words, which grow more hilarious and nonsensical as the film progresses, combine egregious clichés, lofty quotations from the sages of ancient Greece, and impenetrable bureaucrat-speak. As Arthur scrambles to figure out just what, exactly, his highly capricious boss wants from him, the crisis in “Lousdemistan” (clearly a stand-in for Iraq) deepens. The new hire must also contend with the petty office squabbling of his territorial colleagues and their bids for power; meanwhile, the overweening Alexandre quite literally creates chaos wherever he goes.
Wednesday, April 8th
Time and Location: TBA
GRAND ILLUSION (LA GRANE ILLUSION)
Director: Elie Wajeman
Screenplay: Gaëlle Macé, Elie Wajeman
Cast: Alex Raphaelson: Pio Marmaï, Isaac Raphaelson: Cédric Kahn, Jeanne: Adèle Haenel, Mathias: Guillaume Gouix
Runinng Time: 90’ Production: France , 2012 Rating: Not rated
Set during World War I, this masterwork by Jean Renoir, once hailed by Orson Welles as the “greatest of all directors,” was shot just three years before the beginning of World War II. Renoir, who himself had flown reconnaissance missions during WWI, examines the relationships that form among a group of French officers held in a German prisoner-of-war camp. Within this detention center, class, religious, and national divisions increasingly cease to matter: An indestructible fraternity forms among the Breton working-class Lieutenant Maréchal (Jean Gabin, a Renoir regular); the aristocratic Captain de Boeldieu (Pierre Fresnay), never without his white gloves; and the Jewish Lieutenant Rosenthal (Marcel Dalio). Even the man responsible for their imprisonment, the German Captain von Rauffenstein (Erich von Stroheim), invites Maréchal and de Boeldieu to lunch. As the film historian Peter Cowie once astutely noted, “Grand Illusion escapes the confines of the war movie genre. Scarcely a gun is fired in anger. The trenches are nowhere in sight. Yet through some alchemy, Renoir imbues the film with his passionate belief in man’s humanity to man. . . . The accident of war brings out the fundamentally decent nature of people who in peacetime would be unbending strangers to one another.
Thursday, April 9th
Time and Location: TBA
COUSIN JULES (LE COUSIN JULES)
Director: Michael Haneke
Screenplay: Michael Haneke
Cast: Georges: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Anne: Emmanuelle Riva, Eva: Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre: Alexandre Tharaud, Geoff: William Shimell
Runinng Time: 127’ Production: France, Germany, Austria, 2012 Rating: PG-13
AWARDS: Best Foreign Language Film – Academy Awards (2013); Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Film, Best Original Screenplay – César Awards (2013)
After winning a prize at the Locarno Film Festival in 1973, Dominique Benicheti’s magnificent documentary about the quotidian rhythms of an elderly couple in rural Burgundy unjustly remained without US distribution for 40 years. Filmed over a five-year period—and shot in CinemaScope and recorded in stereo—this immersive portrait follows Jules Guiteaux (a distant relative of the director’s) and his wife, Félicie, as they go about their formidable tasks. Jules, a blacksmith, is shown hammering out hinges and other implements as his wife tends to their vegetable garden and prepares meals and midmorning coffee. Benicheti, working with cinematographers Pierre William Glenn and Paul Launay, patiently observes these labor-intensive chores, daily rituals that are attended to with utmost precision and grace—and that are never less than transfixing to watch. Although Jules and Félicie, both born in 1891, rarely speak in the film, their silence conveys the deep intimacy of spouses who have spent six decades together. Without Félicie, who died while the project was still being assembled, the second half of Cousin Jules becomes a testament to the title character’s quiet, noble resilience.
Friday, April 10th
Time and Location: TBA
DANS LA MAISON / IN THE HOUSE
Director: François Ozon
Screenplay: Juan Mayorga, François Ozon, adapted from Juan Mayorga’s play The Boy in the Last Row
Cast: Germain: Fabrice Luchini,
Caude: Ernst Umhauer,
Jeanne: Kristin Scott Thomas,
Esther: Emmanuelle Seigner,
Rapha: Bastien Ughetto
Running time:105’ Production: France, 2012 Rating: R
AWARDS: International Critics’ Prize – Toronto International Film Festival (2012); Critics Special Mention – City of Lights, City of Angels (COLCOA) French Film Festival (2013)
Liberally adapted from Juan Mayorga’s play The Boy in the Last Row, François Ozon’s piquant and playful In the House marks a return to the anarchic adolescent protagonists of the director’s early films, such as Criminal Lovers (1999), whose uncontrollable desires are inextricably linked with destruction and mayhem. Sixteen-year-old Claude (Ernst Umhauer) stirs the interest of his literature teacher, Germain (Fabrice Luchini), who’s perilously close to pedagogical burnout, with a well-crafted essay for a prosaic assignment about “My Last Weekend.” Claude details a Saturday spent helping a classmate with his math homework at his pal’s home; the budding wordsmith is intrigued by his friend’s close-knit family, particularly his mother (Emmanuelle Seigner). Germain, a failed writer whose sole novel was published twenty years ago, begins meeting with Claude after class, critiquing the boy’s further chapters about his infiltration of his schoolmate’s snug fortress. These ongoing installments Germain eagerly shares with his gallerist wife, Jeanne (Kristin Scott Thomas). In this sharp inquiry into the power of narrative, Ozon brings up a number of fascinating topics: what it means to be an artist and, perhaps more important, what it means to be an audience.
Saturday, April 11th
Time and Location: TBA
ERNEST & CELESTINE
Director: Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner
Screenplay: Daniel Pennac
Cast: English-language voice cast: Forest Whitaker, Mackenzie Foy, Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Jeffrey Wright.
Running time: 80 ’ Production: France, 2012 Rating: PG-13
Best Animated Film – César Awards (2013); Official Selection – Academy Awards (2014)
This utterly charming animated film about interspecies friendship, directed by Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Pater, and Benjamin Renner, is based on a series of children’s books by the Belgian author-illustrator Gabrielle Vincent (1929–2000). In an unnamed French city, two different realms of sworn enemies exist: Above ground live bears; below it reside mice. Celestine, a wee mouse orphan who is being trained for a career in dentistry but dreams of being an artist instead, meets a kindred spirit in adult Ernest, an ursine musician whom she convinces not to eat her. The seal their bond by breaking into a candy store together and soon find themselves on the lam from those who are appalled by their amity. These unlikely friends set up their own home in the woods, delighting in both their similarities and differences. The detailed, warm, hand-drawn animation emphasizes the tender companionship between a mouse who loves to sketch and a bear who is happiest when playing a violin.
Time and Location: TBA
VENUS IN FUR (LA VENUS A LA FOURRURE)
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Screenplay: Michel Hazanavicius
Cast: George Valentin: Jean Dujardin, Peppy Miller: Bérénice Bejo, Al Zimmer: John Goodman, Clifton: James Cromwell
Running time: 100’ Production: Belgium, France, 2011 Rating: PG-13
AWARDS: Best Motion Picture; Best Director – Academy Awards (2012), Best Actor, Jean
Dujardin – Cannes Film Festival (2011), Best Actress, Bérénice Bejo – César Awards (2012)
After his nimble adaptations of the plays Death and the Maiden (1994) and Carnage (2011), Roman Polanski continues his success in bringing the stage to the screen with Venus in Fur, which originally premiered off-Broadway in 2010. (David Ives, the playwright, co-wrote the film’s script with Polanski.) In this constantly surprising, multilayered two-hander, stage writer-director Thomas (Mathieu Amalric), all alone in a Parisian theater, despairs of ever finding the right actress for his adaptation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s infamous 1870 novella Venus in Furs. Just as he’s about to leave for the day, in walks Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner, Polanski’s wife), a blowsy performer who insists that she has an audition scheduled—and who just happens to have the same name as the character she’s trying out for. Highly dubious, Thomas relents, convinced that this coarse woman will never be right for the part. Yet as the two begin to rehearse, he is astounded to discover not only that Vanda has memorized the entire play but that she is capable of complete transformation, becoming the character right before his eyes. While reality and illusion become blurred, so, too, do the roles of seducer and seduced.
Location:, Roger Williams University, Bristol, Hosted by the RWU Film Production Club
Locations: April 7-11th, The Mary Tefft White Cultural Center at the RWU Library Global Heritage Hall, GH01
Time: Vary (see above)
Cost: Free Event • Tickets available at the door • www.rwu.edu
For more information, call (401) 861.4445.
See below for directions to Roger Williams University • Interactive Map of RWU Campus
The Tournées Festival was made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture (CNC), The Florence Gould Foundation, the Grand Marnier Foundation and highbrow entertainment.