Fabulous turnout for first French Film Festival
The International Film Society, in cooperation with Magic Lantern Film Society, Sigma Tau Delta and the French Government, presented the inaugural French Film Festival. International Film Club screened six films from the Tournees Festival at 7 p.m. from Aug. 21-Aug. 30 at the CU Theatre.
“The Artist,” “A Cat in Paris,” “Amour,” “L’Herrison,” “M Lazhar” and “The Intouchables” appeared on screen. Audiences viewed each film in French with English subtitles. All showings boasted high attendance.
According to Nicholas Brush, President of both the Magic Lantern Film Society and Sigma Tau Delta, the turnout was impressive.
“We’ve actually been very pleased by the turnout. The first night…when we showed “The Artist” we had almost triple digits,” Brush said.
Dr. Marie-Ginette Baillargeon, associate professor of English and foreign languages and faculty adviser of the International Film Club, was also impressed with the turnout to the festival.
“It is hard to get numbers, but we have been averaging close to 100 people,” Baillargeon said. “We are actually delighted by this because this is Cameron University’s first French Film Festival.
The two most popular films were the first and last in the Festival: “The Artist” and “The Intouchables.” Brush said “The Artist” was his personal favorite.
“Hands down it was ‘The Artist,’ which was the first silent film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture since the very first Academy Awards, and it is a fantastic film. The lead actor, Jean Dujardin, is amazing, and it is absolutely hilarious – lots of symbolism, lots of history.”
“The Artist” is a 2011 film that tells the story of Hollywood actors who are working during the transition from silent films to “talkies.”
Dr. John Morris, professor of English and foreign languages, introduced the film. He said the film was a nod to the silent and black-and-white days of film.
“It is the kind of movie that Hollywood doesn’t make anymore,” Morris said. “It is a love story, but it is also a love poem, a Valentine, to silent movies and black-and-white movies also.”
Baillargeon said that while all of the films are “must sees” in their own ways, “The Intouchables,” which was released in 2011, is a crowd favorite.
“I’ve never met someone who didn’t like it,” Baillargeon said. “All of the films were liked unanimously when the students chose these films. ‘The Intouchables’ seems to be number one internationally and number one with our students as well.”
It took the students and other members of the International Film Club over a year to plan the French Film Festival.
“The idea was riding around for a long time,” Baillargeon said. “We actually started working on this in fall of 2013. I started my researching with Tournees Group and got their guidance as far as how to proceed, what people had done in the past, about film rights, where to go.
The response of the public and Cameron community has been positive, she said.
What has been really exciting about the festival has been the public’s response.”
“I’m getting so many students who have never seen a foreign film,” Baillargeon said, “and they are finding out that even if they are in French with English subtitles, the subject matter of these films is not foreign to them – they relate to them, they relate to the content of the film.”
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