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 four-day period, March 30-April 2, 2014 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 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 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 series opens with two films representing the Jewish Experience, part of an ongoing program at the University developed with the RWU Hillel and the Spiritual Life Office. (This semester’s programming concludes with the Roving Eye International Film Festival, April 6-13th on the RWU campus).
"Through film the Jewish Experience series tells the stories of the Jewish experience globally—stories of joy and sorrow, faith, diasporas, rich culture, fear and hope—stories that must be told again and again," said the Rev. Nancy Hamlin Soukup, RWU University Multi-faith Chaplain.
The theme for this year’s Festival is “Connecting through Storytelling,” and will be introduced on Sunday March 30th 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 Second Annual 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.
As part of this year’s selections, the 2014 Tournées French Film Festival will showcase two Academy Award winning feature films: “The Artist,” written, directed, and co-edited by Michel Hazanavicius, produced by Thomas Langmann and starring Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo. The story takes place in Hollywood, between 1927 and 1932, and focuses on the relationship of an older silent film star and a rising young actress as silent cinema falls out of fashion and is replaced by the "talkies;” and, “Amour,” directed by the Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva and Isabelle Huppert. The film from a famous quote from an iconic actress: "Old age ain't no place for sissies," Bette Davis is reported to have said, and the longer age lasts, the less of a sissy you can be.
The Second 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; 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.
Sunday, March 30th
1:00 p.m. Mary Tefft White Cultural Center (RWU Library)
Based on co-director Joann Sfar’s popular comic-book series of the same name, The Rabbi’s Cat features a remarkable, if hairless and giant-eared, feline at its center. This wryly philosophical, beautifully drawn, meticulously detailed animated film takes place during the 1920s and ’30s in Algiers, where the kitty of the title is preparing for his bar mitzvah. Having previously devoured his master’s parrot, the cat now has the power of speech, which he uses, as a devout soul should, to constantly question and probe his faith. Soon the cat and the rabbi set out for Ethiopia, encountering along the way a host of characters of various creeds and ethnicities. During their trek, the Jewish leader and his inquisitive pet will face a few treacherous situations. But their voyage ultimately, upliftingly results in interfaith harmony and a richer understanding of their own religious identity and history.
2:30 p.m. Mary Tefft White Cultural Center (RWU Library)
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
The title of Elie Wajeman’s striking first film refers to the immigration of Jews to Israel; it is there that hashish dealer Alex Raphaelson, currently living in a gritty section of Paris, hopes to start over by helping a cousin open up a restaurant in Tel Aviv. But many obstacles face Alex as he prepares for this voyage—primarily his burdensome older brother, Isaac (Cédric Kahn, a talented writer-director making a rare appearance in front of the camera), who constantly leans on his sibling for money. In between Hebrew lessons, Alex, drained of his funds by his needy, manipulative brother, begins selling harder drugs—which places him at the mercy of extremely dangerous men— to pay for his trip to Israel. Complicating his departure further, Alex falls in love with Jeanne, a fiercely intelligent, independent graduate student. Wajeman’s debut powerfully lays bare the onerous pull of family ties and intelligently questions whether, in relocating thousands of miles away and starting anew, we can ever really escape ourselves.
Monday, March 31st
6:00 p.m. Mary Tefft White Cultural Center (RWU Library)
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)
A staggering, profound examination of love, Michael Haneke’s compassionate film centers on Georges and Anne, long-married octogenarians and retired music teachers who still take great delight in each other. Their bonds will be tested, however, as Anne grows increasingly debilitated, both mentally and physically. In depicting what has rarely been shown onscreen before—two elderly people struggling to maintain their dignity in the face of the unremitting cruelties of aging—Haneke brilliantly shows that the greatest crucible of life’s final chapter is figuring out how to best honor the past. Never sentimentalizing his two main characters, Haneke nonetheless portrays them tenderly; viewers grow deeply attached to Georges and Anne thanks to the astonishing performances by Trintignant and Riva. Both actors are legends of French cinema: he is best known for Eric Rohmer’s My Night at Maud’s (1969), and she for Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959). Watching these two icons, we are reminded of nothing less than our own mortality—and our own past and present relationships.
Tuesday, April 1st
6:00 p.m. Mary Tefft White Cultural Center (RWU Library)
Director: Philippe Falardeau
Screenplay: Philippe Falardeau
Cast: Bachir Lazhar: Mohamed Fellag, Alice L'Écuyer: Sophie Nélisse, Simon: Émilien Néron, Marie-Frédérique: Marie-Ève Beauregard
AWARDS: Best Canadian Feature Film – Toronto International Film Festival (2011)
“A classroom is a place of friendship, of work, of courtesy, a place of life,” says the new teacher of the title to his sixth-grade students in a Montreal public school. That profoundly touching statement evinces the deep respect Monsieur Lazhar (the phenomenal Mohamed Fellag) has for his charges, who are still reeling from a beloved teacher’s very public suicide. Writer-director Philippe Falardeau’s unforgettable movie, based on a one-person play by Evelyne de la Chenelière, explores the intricate process by which M. Lazhar earns the respect and trust of his pupils, some of them the children of immigrants or, like this devoted instructor, recent arrivals to Quebec. As the reasons for M. Lazhar’s immigration to Canada from Algeria are made clear, so, too is his rather unconventional method for applying for the teaching position. Yet this educator isn’t the film’s only multifaceted character: the preteen students are also fascinatingly complex, struggling with roiling emotions and troubles at home. Monsieur Lazhar is the rarest of movies about education: one that avoids clichés and sentimentality in favor of honesty and clear-eyed compassion.
Wedneday, April 2nd
5:00 p.m. Global Heritage Hall, GH 01
COCO AVANT CHANEL
(COCO BEFORE CHANEL)
Director: Anne Fontaine
Screenplay: Anne Fontaine & Camille Fontaine, based on Edmonde Charles-Roux’s novel “Le Temps Chanel”
Running time: 110’ Production: France, 2009 Rating: PG-13
Anne Fontaine’s thoughtful exploration of the pre-fame life of the world’s greatest fashion designer focuses on Coco Chanel during the Belle Epoque. The film opens in 1893 with a powerfully grim scene of 10-year old Coco and her sister unceremoniously dumped at an orphanage and ends around World War I, a few years before the Chanel empire is launched. In her strongest performance to date, Audrey Tautou expertly conveys Chanel’s struggle against the formidable limitations that an ambitious, non-wealthy woman at the time faced—particularly one who refused to marry. The designer, a proud peasant who wasn’t ashamed to sometimes distort the truth, sought to liberate women from the oppressive fashion of the time: suffocating corsets, pounds of extra material, and hats that looked liked “meringues.” Fontaine’s complex biopic refuses to completely lionize its subject, insisting on examining the compromises Chanel had to make. Though she may have been aided by her rich lovers, namely millionaire Etienne Balsan and English industrialist Arthur “Boy” Capel, Chanel remained fiercely independent, becoming a great visionary—as evident in the film’s fantastic coda, when an older Chanel sits on the famous steps of her couture house as contemporary models march past her, wearing her greatest designs.
7:00 p.m. Global Heritage Hall, GH 01
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)
A delightful homage to silent-era Hollywood, Michel Hazanavicius’s mostly silent film, opens in 1927, when preening matinee idol George Valentin, is still the top draw at Kinograph Studios. Ignoring the increasingly icy glares his wife aims at him across the breakfast table, George acts as a mentor to Peppy Miller, a chorus girl with big ambitions. The Artist tracks both Peppy’s ascent (through amusing montage) and George’s decline as he refuses to acknowledge synchronized-sound as more than a passing fad. By 1932, Peppy is attracting lines around the block for her latest, Beauty Spot, while George spends his afternoons passed out on a barroom floor, his Jack Russell terrier his sole remaining fan. Or so the fading star thinks: Peppy’s never forgotten him, and the film’s concluding act is one of the most buoyant in recent memory. The movie pivots on the spry connection between Dujardin and Bejo, both nimble performers and elegantly turned out in period finery and pomade. The Artist, which was shot at 22 frames per second and utilizes the boxy 1:33 aspect ratio, also expertly deploys many of the technical aspects of the silent period.
Location:, Roger Williams University, Bristol, Hosted by the RWU Film Production Club
Two locations: March 30-April 1, The Mary Tefft White Cultural Center at the RWU Library; April 2nd: Global Heritage Hall, GH01
Time: Vary (see above)
Cost: Free Event • Tickets available at the door • www.rwu.edu
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.