The annual Tournées Film Festival brings a diverse mix of French cinema to the Lawrence University campus during a month-long screening of five films. The festival is made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture.
Each film — in French with English subtitles — will be shown three times (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) at 7 p.m. in Lawrence’s Warch Campus Center cinema. Admission is $5 at the door. An informal discussion session led by a faculty member of the Lawrence French department follows each Saturday evening screening.
Launched in 1995 by the French-American Cultural Exchange and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the Tournées festival provides colleges and universities access to new French films that are normally only distributed in major cities. This is the fourth straight year Lawrence was awarded a grant to serve as a Tournées film series host institution.
The films and dates are as follows:
• Jan. 14-16 — “The Class” (“Entre les Murs”), 2008, 128 min., Rated PG-13
Based on the best-selling book by real-life teacher François Bégaudeau, the film follows Bégaudeau’s attempts to teach French to a class of multi-ethnic students at a diverse Parisian junior high school. Bégaudeau wrote the screenplay and stars as himself in this unsparing, unsentimental film about a teacher and his students.
• Jan. 21-23 — “A Christmas Tale” (“Un conte de Noël”), 2008, 152 minutes, Not Rated
When mother Junon discovers she has leukemia, the family’s Christmas gathering is spent discussing who will be the most compatible marrow donor. Set in a small city in northern France, this film follows the Vuillard family in an expert depiction of the volatility of family dynamics.
• Jan. 28-30 — “The Secret of the Grain” (“Le graine et le mullet”), 2007, 151 minutes, Not Rated
After Slimane, the patriarch of a large, vivacious North African family, loses his job, he decides to restore an old boat in the harbor into a floating couscous restaurant, relying on the help of his entire family. But the powerful white townspeople hold the bureaucratic keys needed to make Slimane’s dream a reality.
• Feb. 4-6 — “Fear(s) of the Dark” (“Peur(s) du noir”), 2008, 80 minutes, Not Rated (some sexual content and violence)
Six leading graphic artists and cartoonists turn their personal terrors into reality in this nightmarish animated anthology. Narrated by well-known French comedians, the six interlocking stories bring to life fears of the dark, injections, pursuit and more as reality crosses over into the unknown.
• Feb. 11-13 — “Blame it on Fidel!” (“La faute á Fidel!”), 2006, 99 minutes, Not Rated
Nine-year old Anna’s stable life goes awry when her uncle is killed and her parents suddenly become left-wing revolutionaries. Anna struggles to hold on to the comfort she is used to in the midst of these changes, while attempting to make sense of the larger political events that have shaken her life.