Name: Jennifer Burt
The Tournées Film Festival is in full swing on Southern Utah University’s campus, featuring critically-acclaimed French films for the next three Tuesday evenings, through Tuesday, March 9.
Now two weeks in to the festival, the Tournées has already proven itself a fun activity for SUU’s language students and for French language and cultural enthusiasts across the local community.
The Tournées will continue with the following films, to be shown at 7 p.m. in the Sharwan Smith Student Center Theater.
All five Tournées Festival films will include English subtitles. Admission is free and open to all.
Comme un Juif en France, part II (Being Jewish in France) will premiere at SUU next Tuesday, February 23. This documentary explores the complex history of the Jews in France – the first country to grant Jews citizenship.
On March 2, an animated anthology of six interlocking stories, Peur(s) du Noir (Fear(s) of the Dark), will be played. This black-and-white animation mixes reality with some of the greatest fears common to the human experience, bringing to life fears of the dark, injections, pursuit and more.
And the final film, on March 9, will be La Graine et le Mulet (The Secrets of the Grain) which tells the story of a large North African family residing in France. The family is forced to pull together when the family patriarch undertakes a new business venture – bringing to life the idiosyncrasies that exist within families across the world.
In terms of education, the Tournées gives SUU’s students a rare opportunity to immerse themselves, if just for a few hours, in authentic French dialogue and cultural productions.
According to Dr. Elise Leahy, a French professor at SUU, the aim of the festival is just one of many efforts by the Department of Foreign Languages and Humanities to increase the diversity of cultural offerings on campus.
Said Leahy, “There has been a lot of positive feedback from the two films, Entre les Murs (The Class) and Les Amours d’Astrée et de Céladon (Romance of Astrea and Celadon), we have shown the past two weeks. Many seem to enjoy the opportunity to see a foreign film on campus.”
In addition to the current Tournées Film Festival, Leahy and her foreign language colleagues host weekly conversation hours for various foreign languages that are free and open to the campus and local communities. A schedule of the various language hour offerings is available through the Department of Foreign Languages and Humanities at 435-586-7835.
As to the festival at hand, the Tournées is a project two years in the making and was made possible through a grant from the French American Cultural Exchange (FACE) which paid for the rights to the films that will run over the next three weeks.
Leahy and fellow French professor Dr. Rosa Perez received the foreign support for 2010 after being not receiving the grant in 2009. To better their chances for suture funding, the pair hosted a smaller film festival from money raised through fundraising and other campus organizations in 2009. Such efforts won the attention of FACE and secured funding to expand the festival.
The Tournées Festival is aimed at exposing students, faculty and community members to the French culture as well as to nurture French-American Relations. FACE is dedicated to providing opportunities to experience French culture through innovative international projects in the arts, education and cultural exchange.
More information on the films and show times can be found online through SUU's Department of Foreign Languages and Humanities.
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