Ashland University Department to Hold French Film Festival

Ashland University Department to Hold French Film Festival

9/14/18 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s Department of Foreign Languages will hold a Tournées Film Festival in October that will feature five recent French films and one classic film. The festival, which is free and open to the public, will take place October 10, 16, 17, 23, 24 and 30 at 7 p.m. in the Ronk Lecture Hall in the Schar College of Education.

The festival, which is presented in collaboration with Ashland University’s College of Arts and Sciences, was made possible by a grant from the French-American Cultural Exchange received by Dr. Richard Gray, associate professor of foreign languages, who organized the festival.

Additional support also 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.

On Wednesday, Oct. 10, Visages, Villages (2017) (Faces, Places) will be shown. In this Cohen Media Group production, 89-year-old powerhouse Agnès Varda teams with the world-famous young street artist JR to make a film as wide-ranging as it is personal, as fanciful as it is pointed. Setting off on French country roads to find subjects for JR’s trademark mural-size portrait photographs, the two artists focus on people generally outside of the spotlight, including retired miners, factors workers, the wives of dockers and farmers. Each encounter fills in another piece of an idiosyncratic portrait of modern-day France. Faces, Places was nominated for an Academy Award for the Best Documentary of 2017.

On Tuesday, Oct. 16, L’atelier (2017) (The Workshop) will be shown. Olivia, a successful Parisian novelist, has been hired to spend the summer in La Ciotat, a beautiful but economically battered town on the Mediterranean, teaching a writing workshop for a diverse group of young people whose only common denominator is that they are unemployed. Through class discussions and the conflicts that ensue, Cantet presents an unflinching look at the delicate integration of conflicting religious and cultural beliefs in a period plagued by the threat of terrorism.

On Wednesday, Oct. 17, Métamorphoses (2014) (Metamorphoses) will be shown. Christophe Honoré’s take on the Roman poet’s essential narrative poem is anything but a stuffy tribute beholden to a classic work of literature. On the contrary, he uses Ovid to portray the multicultural France of today, setting his story not only in lush natural landscapes but among the housing blocks of the French suburbs, and casting a high school student of North African descent in the central role of Europa, the young woman who encounters a series of gods and mythological characters.

On Tuesday, Oct. 23, Les Fantômes D’ismaël (2017) (Ismael’s Ghosts) will be shown. Amalric plays Ismael Vuillard, an accomplished filmmaker who has lived for 20 years in the shadow of the disappearance of his young wife Carlotta. One day, while Ismael is working in his seaside house, his girlfriend Sylvie is approached by a beautiful woman on the beach. She announces that she is Carlotta and that she has returned to reclaim her husband. Ismael’s life soon begins to fall apart. Desplechin contrasts this psychological drama with scenes from the film Ismael is in the process of writing.

On Wednesday, Oct. 24, Un Beau Soleil Intérieur (2017)(Let The Sunshine In) will be shown. Claire Denis teams with Christine Angot to tell the story of Isabelle, a fifty-something Parisian artist played by the great Juliette Binoche. Through the elliptical tale of Isabelle’s successive relationships with a variety of egotistical if not downright oafish men, Denis pulls off a surprising balancing act between the melancholy truths of ageism, sexism and class relations in contemporary France and a light, occasionally fanciful comic touch.

On Tuesday, Oct. 30, Moi, Un Noir (1959) (I, A Negro) will be shown. As an ethnographic film, Moi, un noir was both politically and aesthetically revolutionary through its attempt to address the problem of the ethnographer (nearly always a white man) filming subjects (nearly always people of color) objectified and stripped of agency by the filmmaking process. Rouch began by filming his friend Oumarou Ganda and two other young men seeking their fortune in Abidjan, inviting them to improvise scenes. He then asked Ganda to add his own voiceover commentary to the images of himself and his friends. And so, the documentary became a shared project.

Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2018, is a mid-sized, comprehensive private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Religiously affiliated with the Brethren Church, Ashland University ( deeply 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. ###