Ashland University Department to Hold French Film Festival

Ashland University Department to Hold French Film Festival

8/26/16 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s Department of Foreign Languages will hold a Tournées Film Festival in September that will feature five recent French films and one classic film. Each film screening will include a brief introduction and a post-film discussion led by Dr. Richard Gray, associate professor of French, who organized the festival.

The festival, which is free and open to the public, will take place September 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 7 p.m. in the Ronk Lecture Hall in the Schar College of Education. The festival is presented in collaboration with AU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

On Sept. 6, the film “La Cour De Babel” (School of Babel) (2013) will be shown. School of Babel follows a year in a Paris schoolroom for children who have recently immigrated to France. Using a surprisingly intimate fly-on-the-wall style, Julie Bertucelli’s documentary gives us unforgettable glimpses into the lives of tweens and teens from Mauritania, Serbia, Venezuela, Rumania, Senegal, Libya, Ireland, Brazil and China, children who have come to France for reasons ranging from studying violin at the Paris conservatory to escaping genital excision.

On Sept. 7, the film “Fidelio, L’Odysée D’Alice” (Fidelio) (2014) will be shown. In Lucie Borleteau’s striking debut feature, the sailor setting off to sea and leaving behind a lonely lover is a woman: Alice, a young ship engineer who is called to replace a dead crew member on the cargo ship Fidelio. Once aboard, Alice realizes that Fidelio is the new name of the vessel she was trained on a decade earlier and that the ship’s captain was once her first great love.

On Sept. 13, “Hippocrate” (Hippocrates, Diary of a French Doctor) (2014) will be shown. Like an episode of ER directed by the Dardenne brothers, Hippocrates combines the human drama that surrounds medical emergencies with a hard-hitting look at the situation of beleaguered French hospitals. Using young medical student Benjamin (played by rising star Vincent Lacoste) as a guide, director Thomas Lilti, himself a doctor by trade, takes the viewer on a “backstage” tour of a labyrinthine Paris hospital where life and death decisions make fuses run short.

On Sept. 14, “L’Ombre des Femmes” (In the Shadow of Women) (2015) will be shown. Pierre and Manon are poor, but they have each other. They live in a shabby Paris apartment and take odd jobs to support themselves while they work on his documentary on the French Resistance. But when Pierre begins an affair with Elisabeth, a young film archivist, their marriage starts to fall apart. A mordant variation on the well-worn trope of the romantic triangle, In the Shadow of Women finds writer-director Philippe Garrel reaching new heights by looking at love from the point of view of the women who were long his muses.

On Sept. 20, “Mon Amie Victoria” (My Friend Victoria) (2014) will be shown. In My Friend Victoria, writer-director Jean Paul Civeyrac shifts the action of Nobel prize-winning author Doris Lessing’s short story “Victoria and the Staveneys” from London to contemporary Paris, but otherwise remains faithful to Lessing’s tale of a young black woman’s uneasy relationship with a wealthy white family. Victoria (Guslagie Malanda) becomes fascinated with the family as a little girl, and then later has a daughter out of wedlock with one of the sons.

On Sept. 21, “Chocolat” (1988) will be shown. With the release of her beautiful debut feature Chocolat in 1988, director Claire Denis appeared as a fully formed, major talent who used stunningly composed wide shots, associative sequences of images, and an offbeat eye for detail to evoke the complex moods of Africa in the last decade of French colonial rule. The film is based on the director’s own childhood as the daughter of a French administrator in Africa. When a French plane crash-lands, the district officer takes in its passengers, a group of colonial administrators and entrepreneurs who soon bring to light the tensions underlying the family’s apparently sleepy existence.

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, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2016, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( 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.