Ashland University Department to Hold French Film Festival

Ashland University Department to Hold French Film Festival

2/25/15 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s Department of Foreign Languages will hold a Tournées Film Festival in March that will feature five recent French films and one classic film.

The festival, which will take place March 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25 at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium, is free and open to the public. The festival is presented in collaboration with AU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

On March 10, the film “À Perdre La Raison” (Our Children) (2012) will be shown. Joachim Lafosse’s riveting, unsparing look at desperation opens with an indelible image: a woman sobbing from a hospital bed followed by four tiny coffins being loaded onto a plane. After that harrowing first scene, Our Children, which was inspired by an actual infanticide case in Belgium, flashes back to a happier time for that distraught woman, Murielle (Émilie Dequenne), now seen in a passionate embrace with her husband-to-be, Mounir (Tahar Rahim). Shortly after they wed, the financially struggling yet blissfully enamored couple moves into the home of André (Niels Arestrup), a well-regarded doctor who’s long been a father figure for Mounir. The physician’s generosity, however, is soon revealed to be a pretext for wielding control over the young husband and wife.

On March 11, the film “Augustine” (2013) will be shown. Alice Winocour’s assured first feature explores the real-life doctor-patient relationship between the nineteenth-century French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot (Vincent Lindon) and the illiterate 19-year-old housemaid of the title (played by Soko, best known as a pop singer). Thanks to Lindon’s and Soko’s intensely committed performances, and to Wincour’s intelligent, non-didactic presentation of the era and its long-outmoded, exploitative practices, Augustine offers viewers an intimate look at the shifting balance between power and vulnerability.

On March 17, the film “Camille Claudel 1915” (2013) will be shown. A subtle and sober biopic, Bruno Dumont’s examination of the sculptor and Rodin muse of the title marks the director’s first collaboration with a major star: Juliette Binoche. Unlike Camille Claudel, the 1988 Isabelle Adjani passion project, Dumont’s film forgoes epic sweep. Picking up where the earlier movie left off, Camille Claudel 1915 traces, during the year that the artist turned 51, just three days of her grim life at the Montdevergues mental asylum near Avignon, where she had been committed by her family. Dumont has fashioned an exemplary spiritual lesson of his own, one that highlights the grace of the forsaken.

On March 18, the film “Elle S’en Va” (2013) (On My Way) will be shown. Emmanuelle Bercot’s delightful film was written expressly for Catherine Deneuve, who has rarely appeared as loose and vibrant as she does here. The iconic actress plays Bettie, a former beauty queen partial to subdued leopard-print blouses. Crowned Miss Brittany in 1969, she’s never left the region, running a bistro and living in the house she was born in with her mother. Shortly after learning that her longtime married lover has taken up with a 25-year-old, Bettie walks out during the middle of the lunch rush, her head-clearing getaway soon turning into a nearly weeklong road trip through deepest rural France.

On March 24, the film “Le Passé” (2013) (The Past) will be shown. Full of the same astute and compassionate observations about unraveling, unhappy relationships, conjugal and otherwise, that distinguished his previous work, A Separation (2011), Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s latest film is set in a working-class suburb of Paris. It is there that Marie (Bérénice Bejo) lives in a cramped house with three children, her two daughters and the young son of her boyfriend, Samir (Tahar Rahim), whom she hopes to marry soon. But before the couple can even begin to consider wedding plans, Marie must finalize her divorce from her estranged husband, Ahmad (Ali Mousaffa), who flies into Paris from Tehran for the court procedure.

On March 25, the film “La Baie Des Anges” (1963) (Bay of Angels) will be shown. Many of the films by the great Jacques Demy center on the element of chance, which is a theme that is crucial in Bay of Angels (1963). The film largely takes place in the casinos along the Côte d’Azur. Shot in shimmering black-and-white, Demy’s second feature stars a bottle-blond Jeanne Moreau as Jackie, a compulsive gambler who begins an affair with a neophyte roulette player named Jean (Claude Mann), a bank employee vacationing in Nice. As their folie à deux deepens with each spin of the wheel, each cut of the deck, Jackie and Jean grow more wretched, losing millions of francs in just a few hours but unable to stop their self-destructive behavior.

Support for AU’s Tournées Festival is provided by Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, the Centre National de la Cinématographie et l’Image Animée Campus France USA, the Florence Gould Foundation and highbrow entertainment.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###