Forest Grove's own French film fest set for this month
Francophiles in Washington County rejoice — a month-long opportunity to enjoy French cinema is coming to Forest Grove for free.
The Tournées Film Festival returns Wednesday, Oct. 10 with its first film, "The Pearl Button" at Pacific University.
Not fluent in French? No problem. All six selected movies will be shown with English subtitles.
This is Pacific University's second year receiving the green light to show French films. Jeanne-Sarah de Larquier, a French professor at Pacific University, applied for a grant to make the local festival possible.
The Tournées Film Festival is supported by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, the Centre National du Cinéma et de l'Image Animée, the French American Cultural Fund, the Florence Gould Foundation and Highbrow Entertainment.
The grant program gives out $200,000 to campuses nationwide to encourage communities to learn more about French arts and culture.
Pacific University is one of the several universities in the United States to receive money to host the festival and one of the few in the Pacific Northwest.Through additional fundraising, Pacific's French program hopes to be able to self-sustain the festival in the future, de Larquier said.
De Larquier said she hopes this year will be as successful as last year's. She contacted professors and colleagues throughout the university to find ways to connect the selected films to other courses offered for students at Pacific.
The first film, "The Pearl Button," kicks off on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. It is a documentary in Spanish, but created by a France-based Chilean director, Patricio Guzmán. The film explores the links between Chile's past dictatorship by Augusto Pinochet and how it hurt and negatively affected indigenous groups.
After the film, a discussion will be led by Spanish professor, Mariana Valenzuela.
Some of the films will be led by professors with pre-screening instead after the film to provide context to the audience about contemporary issues faced in the storis.
Last year, de Larquier said many people came to see "Homeland (Iraq Year Zero)," a 2015 documentary that chronicles the lives of Iraqi citizens before and after the United States' devastating invasion of the country, which had a pre-screening discussion speaking on the issues to better understand what the film would cover.
"It opened up (students') eyes and expands their understanding of humanities," de Larquier said. "One of the movies talked about the hardships of immigrating to France, and one of the students cried at the end because she said she could relate to a similar situation."
On Wednesday, Oct. 17, "12 Jours" is a documentary that explores the 12 days required to determine if psychiatric patients will stay in care or not once admitted. Politics and government professor Jeff Seward will lead the post-film discussion.
Each of the films will be shown at the Forest Theater, except "La Chinoise," on Oct. 19. The film will end a day of festivities for Pacific's "Around the World" celebration. The film will be screened at 8 p.m. at Taylor Auditorium, "La Chinoise" is a 1968 film by renowned director Jean-Luc Godard about university students who want start a revolution. History professor Rick Jobs will lead a discussion afterward.
Dance enthusiasts can enjoy Wednesday, Oct. 24's "Polina," a story about a ballerina falling in love with a dancer who shows her the world of contemporary dance. Director of Dance, Jennifer Camp and dance instructors, Thorey Mountain and Mary Hunt, will led the after-film discussion.
For hardcore French cinema fans, French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier takes audiences through a comprehensive adventure of French cinema in the documentary, "My Journey Through French Cinema," which will show on Thursday, Nov. 1. Film and video production professor Jennifer Hardacker will lead the discussion after.
The last movie in the film festival is "Francofonia," a 2015 movie set in 1940s France about famed museum, the Louvre, trying to salvage masterpieces stolen by Nazis.
De Larquier said she looks forward to each of the screenings.
"It is fantastic," de Larquier said. "They are all a little bit of a surprise until the day you seem them, some of them because the only way you would've seen them is when they came out since they aren't on Netflix."
By Janae Easlon
Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune971-762-1166
Follow Janae at @Janae_Easlon
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