Film festival to feature rare French fare

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Photo courtesy of Alexandra Natoli

Jaelyn White originally planned on majoring in political science when she first came to USI. That all changed when she fell in love with one of the classes she had to take. Now she is a senior French and political science double major and just returned from a semester of studying abroad in France. 

“I just like to learn about new cultures, new experiences, and see how things are,” she said. “We’re kind of sheltered here in the United States, so it’s good to see how other people view the world. You could either go to a new country or another good idea is film, film is a great way to experience other cultures.” 

White has attended several of the Tournées Film Festival events. She went to the first French screenings as well as the German movies. 

The College of Liberal Arts, World Languages and Cultures Department and USI Society for Arts and Humanities will host their seventh annual Tournèes Film Festival. The films shown this year will be from France.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to extend learning beyond the classroom and to share French and all of its cultural treasures,” Associate Professor of French Jessica Jensen said. 

Jensen submitted a proposal for a grant which would fund this event through the base foundation that is linked to the French Embassy last spring. Jensen received additional financial aid from The Society of Arts Infinity and then begin planning the film festival. The USI French Club is also helping organize the event. 

Assistant Professor of French Alexandra Natoli helped Jensen with organizing the event and getting more organizations involved. 

The first film festival was hosted by the Spanish Club in 2013, followed by the German and French club in the next two years. The languages rotated after that. The annual event was started because it was a good opportunity for not only USI students to celebrate different cultures but the whole tri-state. 

“It’s an opportunity for the university to shine and to show off its international side. It is also good for a lot of international students who speak French and for them to embrace our campus,” Jensen said. “The event is also a great opportunity for our department to showcase films from different countries because these films extend beyond language, they expose students to new cultures and literature.” 

The first movie, “Madame Hyde,” will be shown on Jan. 24. The film is about a teacher who is disliked by her students when one night she is struck by lightning and awakens with a darker personality. 

The second film, “La Douleur (Memoir of War),” will be shown shown on Jan. 31, and it’s about a woman who is waiting to hear news about her husband, who was arrested by the Germans, then gets into a risky game of cat and mouse with the enemy.  

The third film is a history/comedy movie named “Le retour du héros (Return of the Hero)” set in France in 1809 where a woman is supposed to marry a man before he is sent off to fight in a  recent war. The woman’s sisters write her letters addressed from her fiance however trouble arises when he returns home. This film is being shown on Feb. 7.

The fourth film is “Tazzeka,” a comedy about a man who chooses to leave home to become a chef and it will be shown on Feb. 14. 

The fifth movie  “Le grand méchant renard et autres contes (The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales)” is an animated film about farm animals and it will be shown on Feb. 21.

The final movie being shown called “L’Atalante” is about a man and a woman who get married, and the woman moves in with her new husband on his boat but longs for more. She sneaks off to Paris by herself, causing her husband to question their marriage. 

“Many of these films haven’t been released to a large audience in the United States, and so the fact that we’re able to bring these rare films that you know aren’t available on Hulu or Netflix to our campus is something that’s really special,”  Natoli said. “Chances are, you might find something you really love.”