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French film festival provides insight into French culture

Coral Ciupak
Viewpoints Editor

This fall, the College’s French and Francophone department will be hosting a film festival open to college students, faculty and the public.

The French department has this opportunity largely with thanks to the Tournées Film Festival Grant, which the department received this past summer.

The Tournées Film Festival Grant, sponsored by the French Embassy, allots funding to U.S. colleges and universities to showcase French cinema in a broader attempt to provide students, faculty and the public with an international perspective on topical issues.

Though the College’s French department had known about the grant for some time, it was not until this past year that students and faculty began the application process. Since the College’s application was approved over the summer, the French department has selected a lineup of French films to showcase at the festival this fall.

“A large part of our reasoning behind choosing this lineup is because we felt that this mix of films all promote diversity, international understanding and global engagement, which are all essential to the College’s ‘Graduate Qualities,’” said Olivia Hall ’19, a French departmental assistant.

The films being showcased at the College’s festival take place in a variety of settings. In selecting films to screen, the French department also took into consideration the narrative followed in each film and the social, national and ethnic backgrounds of its feature characters.

“The festival represents a fantastic opportunity for students and Wooster community members to come together in the shared experience of watching extraordinary films they would not otherwise have access to, given our geographic location,” said Laura Burch, associate professor of French and Francophone studies at the College. “We hope that this experience will engender fun, thought-provoking and eye-opening exchanges between students, faculty, staff and the larger Wooster community.”

Prior to this year, though it maintains a strong presence on campus, the French department had never hosted a campus-wide event in the interest of promoting French and Francophone studies as well as French culture. The festival is also supported by the College’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

“The main thing that we hope students will gain from attending the screenings is the chance to engage with the diverse, international perspectives offered by the movies we’ve selected for this lineup,” said Hall.

While two of the featured films have already been screened at the College, four additional screenings are available to students, faculty and the public. Each film screening takes place at 7:30 p.m. in Gault Recital Hall at Scheide Music Center. The remaining films to be screened are Army of Shadows on Tuesday, Nov. 1; Farewell, My Queen on Thursday, Nov. 3; Timbuktu on Tuesday, Nov. 15; and The School of Babel on Thursday, Nov. 17. All films will be subtitled in English and are open to students, faculty and the public outside as well as within the French department.

The next film to be screened is Farewell, My Queen, which offers creative insight into the relationship between Marie Antoinette and the fictional Sidonie Laborde, a young female servant during the last days of Antoinette’s controversial reign as Queen of France. The film, released in 2012, received a 92 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and stars Léa Seydoux next to Diane Kruger.

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