Five French films will be showcased over five days in April at California State University, Dominguez Hills when the French American Cultural Exchange (FACE) Tournées Festival of French Films comes to campus.
Co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Phi Alpha Theta history honors society, the 2012 Tournées Festival at CSU Dominguez Hills will screen the following films (with English subtitles): “Persepolis,” Wed., April 4; “L’avocat de la terreur” (“Terror’s Advocate”), Tues., April 10; “Le chant des mariées” (“The Wedding Song”), Wed., April 11; “Entre les murs” (“The Class”), Tues., April 17; and “Welcome,” Wed., April 18.
Adrien Sarre, executive director of the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles Office of French Film and TV, and CSU Dominguez Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ramon Torrecilha will provide opening remarks to the festival at the April 4 screening.
When selecting the films for the festival, history professor and festival organizer Laura Talamante said she wanted to explore the multiplicity of people’s experiences around the world to help build a better understanding of the diverse cultures that call the Los Angeles region home.
“Using these French films as a lens allows us to really tap into that power of our [Los Angeles’s] cultural diversity, as well as the challenges we face,” she said. “Part of what I liked with some of the films we selected is we get to explore some issues in the Middle East and perhaps bring a better understanding of people’s experiences in the Middle East. We think we have sometimes a pretty a narrow view from the news and other kinds of popular press and I think like ‘Persepolis’ and especially ‘The Wedding Song’ really are going to let us see inside those cultures and experiences, and see that there is a range of responses to political change, to religious and cultural practices.”
To expand on the themes each film evokes, Talamante enlisted the help of her fellow professors across multiple departments, as well as reached out to the local communities, inviting them to speak in panel discussions following each film.
‘We’re hoping that that will give an opportunity for discussion to really reflect a broad set of experiences and also bring our campus population together with the local community to strengthen those ties and open those discussions in a safe and supportive environment,” Talamante said.
CSU Dominguez Hills was one of only 86 institutions nationwide selected by the nonprofit FACE to host a Tournées Festival for the 2011-2012 academic year. FACE created the festival in 1995 to expose more U.S. students to contemporary French-made films. It is the second time the university has been selected as the site of a FACE Tournées Festival; it hosted the festival in 2008.
All films will be in the Loker Student Union ballroom, unless otherwise noted in the schedule below.
2012 CSUDH Tournées Festival of French Films
Schedule of Events
Wednesday, April 4: “Persepolis”
Two showing: 4-6:30 p.m. and 7-9:30 p.m.
Synopsis: An animated film based on the autobiographical graphic novel by Marjane Sartrapi, “Persepolis” tells the story of the 9-year-old Marjane as she is caught between Western cultural influences (punk, ABBA and Iron Maiden) and Islamic fundamentalism while coming of age in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Winner of the 2007 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize and the 2007 New York Film Critics Circle Best Animated Feature.
Panel discussion: Associate professor of English Rod Hernandez, Michele Bury, chair of Art and Design.
Tuesday, April 10: “L’avocat de la terreur” (“Terror’s Advocate”)
Synopsis: Winner of the 2008 César Awards for Best Documentary, “Terror’s Advocate” explores the life of French lawyer Jacques Verges and his personal and professional journey from anti-colonialism critic to lawyer for Djamila Bouhired, who was sentenced to death for café bombings in Algeria as part of an independence fight and whom he later married, to defending terrorists of all kinds. The documentary opens with difficult dialogue regarding terror, human rights, and civil and political justice.
Panel discussion: Terrorism research expert and author Gus Martin, associate vice president for faculty affairs, and Middle Eastern politics expert Hamoud Salhi, associate professor of political science and chair of the negotiation, conflict resolution and peacebuilding program.
Wednesday, April 11: “Le chant des mariées” (“The Wedding Song”)
Synopsis: Set in Nazi-occupied Tunis in 1942, “The Wedding Song” is the story of a friendship between a Muslim woman and Jewish woman, and the social and cultural spaces women carve out for themselves in restrictive societies. The film explores historical, political, religious and cultural issues that are still relevant today, and in light of current events in North Africa, it provides an opportunity to educate and inform and open a dialogue for exploring such on-going tensions.
Panel discussion: Middle Eastern politics expert Hamoud Salhi, associate professor of political science and chair of the negotiation, conflict resolution and peacebuilding program, Athia Carrim with the International Institute of Tolerance, and Rabbi Gary Spiero of Temple Beth Torah.
Tuesday, April 17: “Entre les murs” (“The Class”)
4-6:45 p.m., La Corte Hall, A103
Synopsis: Winner of the 2008 Cannes Film Festival Palm d’Or, “The Class” stars Francois Begaudeau, whose book of the same name chronicles his teaching experiences in a diverse Parisian junior high school. The film brings out themes of migration, multiculturalism and cultural assimilation through the relationship between Begaudeau and his students.
Panel discussion: CSU Dominguez Hills History Department faculty Carmen Estrada-Schaye and Grace Chee, and members of the local teaching community.
Wednesday, April 18: “Welcome”
Synopsis: Awarded Best Picture at the 2010 Lumiere Awards, “Welcome” brings the topic of immigration into a global context. The film tells the story of a middle-aged Frenchman who tries to help a 17-year-old Iraqi Kurdish illegal immigrant cross the English Channel to reunite with his girlfriend, and the common struggle they both face to find a place of happiness, prosperity, and acceptance.
Panel discussion: Vivian Price, professor of interdisciplinary studies and labor studies, whose documentary Harvest of Loneliness explores the experiences of Mexican workers in the U.S. in the 1940s-60s, and José Prado, professor of sociology, who is working on a documentary with students that explores migration.