For the second year running, Rhodes College will host the Tournées French Film Festival, sponsored by the Communities in Conversation lecture series. The festival runs from Wednesday, Jan. 22, to Wednesday, Feb. 5, and features a wide variety of contemporary French films. The selections range from historical documentaries to philosophically-inflected animated features, representing the work of first-time directors along with well-established figures in the field of French cinema.
All the screenings are free, open to the public, subtitled in English and take place in Rhodes′ Blount Auditorium in Buckman Hall at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 22: Les Adieux à la Reine (Farewell, My Queen)
An opening reception will be held at 6:30 p.m.
Benoît Jacquot directs this adaptation of Chantal Thomas’ novel, capturing the chaos of Marie Antoinette’s final days at Versailles, on the eve of the French Revolution. Rather than being told from the perspective of the royals or aristocrats, the film is presented through the eyes of Sidonie Laborde, a young servant who reads aloud to the Queen. The film follows Sidonie as she tries to make sense of the rumors spreading in the royal palace. Les Adieux à la reine will be introduced by Prof. Jeffrey Jackson, Department of History, Rhodes College.
Tuesday, Jan. 28: Monsieur Lazhar
Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Philippe Falardeau′s Monsieur Lazhar begins with an elementary school teacher′s very public suicide. Bashir Lazhar, an Algerian immigrant, offers to replace her on short-notice, and the film traces the path by which Lazhar earns the trust of his pupils. Stephen Holden of The New York Times hails the film for its “exquisite balance between grown-up and child′s-eye views of education, teacher-student relations and peer-group interactions.” Prof. Mark Behr, Department of English, Rhodes College, will introduce Monsieur Lazhar.
Wednesday, Jan. 29: La Pirogue
Moussa Touré′s film follows a group of African men who leave Senegal in a pirogue to complete the treacherous crossing of the Atlantic to Spain, where they hope to create better lives for themselves. La Pirogue examines the perils of immigration, the dangers of sea travel, and the camaraderie created by shared goals. La Pirogue will be introduced by Cam Blackmon, director of the Refugee Empowerment Program in Memphis.
Tuesday, Feb. 4: Berlin 1885: La Ruée Sur L′Afrique (The Division of Africa)
This documentary, directed by Joël Calmettes, exposes one of the most disgraceful events of the past 130 years: The Berlin Conference on Africa. At the meeting, the major European countries and the United States divided up the vast continent for their own personal gain, setting in motion the ruinous colonization of Africa. Professor Andrew Daily, Department of History, University of Memphis, will introduce Berlin 1885.
Wednesday, Feb. 5: Le Chat du Rabbin (The Rabbi′s Cat)
A closing reception will be held at 6:30 p.m.
Based on co-director Joann Sfar′s popular comic-book series of the same name,The Rabbi′s Cat is an animated film which takes place in 1920s Algiers, where a talking cat is preparing for his bar mitzvah. This cat uses its power of speech throughout the film to constantly question and probe his Jewish faith, ultimately concluding his journey with a richer understanding of his own religious identity and history. The Rabbi’s Cat will be introduced by Prof. Jonathan Judaken, professor of History, Spence L. Wilson Chair in Humanities.