Languages, Literatures and Cultures
3rd Annual Tournèes French Film Festival
September 11th and 12th, 2009
Lithgow Science Auditorium (Trumbower 130)
Click on image below to acces the flyer!
All films shown in digital projection with English subtitles.
All screenings are open to the public.
Friday, September 11
Entre les murs (The Class) (Laurent Cantet, France, 2008, 128 minutes)
The winner of this year’s Palme d’Or at Cannes was Laurent Cantet’s unsparing, unsentimental film about a teacher and his students at a diverse Parisian junior high school. In an unusual example of art imitating life, the film was based on the best-selling book by real-life teacher François Bégaudeau, who also wrote the screenplay and stars in the movie as himself. Working with a cast of non-professional actors, Cantet filmed his “class” for over a year; the result is a hybrid documentary/narrative work that is wholly convincing. The Class is alive with spirited performances; viewers are also treated to a privileged perspective on discussions between teachers and parents, as well as among the teachers in their private meetings and amongst themselves. The Class raises deep, disturbing questions about the motives and prospects of its characters. As François attempts to teach the French language to his multi-ethnic students, many of whom hail from former colonized countries, he offers both the opportunity and the threat of modern cultural assimilation. No one is above reproach in this difficult and important new film.
““The Class” might have been set in any classroom in the Western world, and I believe most teachers would recognize it. It is about the power struggle between a teacher who wants to do good and students who disagree about what "good" is. The film is so fair that neither side is seen as right, and both seem trapped by futility.”
-- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Il y a longtemps que je t’aime (I’ve Loved You So Long) (Phillipe Claudel, France, 2008, 117 minutes)
Kristin Scott Thomas plays Juliette Fontaine, a former physician who has just completed a 15-year jail sentence. Her younger sister, literature professor Léa, takes her in, anxiously trying not to upend the snug comfort of her middle-class clan with this new addition. As she re-acclimates to civilian life, Juliette slowly thaws, becoming closer with her nieces, but her calm is punctuated by believably spiky outbursts. Full of poignant and dramatic turns, the film is a treatise on the possibility of forgiving others, and at the same time forgiving oneself.
This thoughtful, provocative film is all about character, about the tricky, fragile relationships that make us human; about, if you really want to get down to it, the reclamation of a soul.”
-- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Saturday, September 12
Ne le dis à personne (Tell No One) (Guillaume Canet, France, 2006, 125 minutes)
Alex, a pediatrician, has been devastated since his wife Margot, his childhood sweetheart, was savagely murdered eight years ago. One day he receives an anonymous email: when he clicks on the inserted link, he sees a woman's face standing in a crowd, being filmed live. Alex is in shock: he is looking at Margot's face… Is she still alive? Why does she instruct him to tell no one? A fast-paced and enjoyable thriller.
Le Fils de l’épicier (The Grocer’s Son) (Eric Guirado, France, 2007, 96 minutes)
When his father has a sudden heart attack, it’s up to jaded and distant Antoine Sforza, a young man who has distanced himself from his roots, to take over the family business at the age of 30. Leaving behind his dead-end job as a waiter and his tiny apartment in Paris, he grudgingly moves home to Provence, in the south of France, to run a small mobile grocery store. His family’s food truck is integral to the daily shopping of the feisty elderly French neighbors who inhabit the local countryside and emerge from their homes to purchase his vegetables. Although Antoine is curt and surly with his customers (as well as with most of the people he meets), he succeeds in bringing to Provence his favorite aspect of Paris: his beautiful, confident neighbor, Claire, upon whom he harbors a secret crush. This subtle, closely-observed film was directed and co-written by Eric Guirado, who has a sharp eye for detail and dialogue.
“A love of unspoiled countryside and its sturdy people suffuses this film, which unfolds with subtlety, humor and affection -- and becomes in the process a pure enchantment.”
-- Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
Daratt (Mahamat-saleh Haroun, France/Chad, 2006, 96 minutes)
When the long and devastating civil war in Chad ends, survivors are hoping that justice will be served against those who were involved in the genocide. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, however, chooses not to condemn them. Young Atim, whose father was murdered before his birth during the conflict, is given a gun by his blind grandfather and ordered to avenge his family. Determined to take revenge, Atim looks for Nassara, his father’s torturer. Instead of finding a cold-blooded murderer, Atim meets a charitable baker and a soon-to-be father who seeks redemption through religion. Atim cannot bring himself to kill Nassara in cold blood, and lets himself be hired as his assistant, creating a strange and complex relationship.
" Mr. Haroun, whose earlier films include "Bye Bye Africa" and "Abouna," tells this story of a would-be boy-killer and his prey with restraint, a touch of humor and an elegant eye.” – Manhola Dargis, The New York Times