Saturday, February 11, 2006

French Film series at Images Cinema starts Monday

From: Janet Curran

Beyond the Femme Fatale: Leading Women in New French & Francophone Film

WILLIAMSTOWN -- For five consecutive Mondays, February 13 through March
13, 2006, Images Cinema will screen five French language films on the theme
of “Leading Women in New French & Francophone Film”: 8 WOMEN, VIVA
be at 7pm, and are free and open to the public. Images Cinema is located at
50 Spring Street in Williamstown, MA.

Following the success of last year’s French African film series “Border
Crossings: Visions of Movement in Francophone African Film,” series
organizer Kashia Pieprzak, this year joined by Brian Martin, chose to focus
on women’s identity in recent French and French-language film. As Brian
Martin stated, “There are so many exciting recent Francophone films by and
about women that focus on the extraordinary contributions of women in cinema
and continuing cultural and political challenges facing women in the
Francophone world. These films engage with feminine agency in numerous
ways--in reflections on the historical cinematic role of woman as seductress
and in the creation of new images of political and social power.”

The series will kick-off on Monday, February 13th at 6pm, with an inaugural
address made by Alice Jardine, a prominent feminist scholar, professor of
French, and co-founder of the program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality at
Harvard University. This will be followed directly by the first film of the
series 8 WOMEN. Each film will be introduced by faculty of the Williams
College Department of Romance Languages.

This series is a collaboration with Williams College made possible with the
generous support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the
French Ministry of Culture (CNC), the Kagle Gift, the Dively Committee, the
Department of Romance Languages, the Program in Women's and Gender Studies,
the Program in Comparative Literature, the Multi Cultural Center, and the
Center for Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Williams College.

Monday, February 13: 8 FEMMES (8 Women)
1 hour 53 minutes * In French with English subtitles
A murder-mystery musical, François Ozon’s send-up of ‘50s melodramas
features star turns by three generations of France’s finest actresses,
including Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, and Ludivine Sagnier. Comic,
irreverent and nasty, the film’s twisted story, soap acting, camp costumes
and decadent decor suggest a hybrid of Vincente Minnelli, Douglas Sirk and
John Waters. Gathered for the holidays in a secluded, snow-bound mansion, a
seemingly straight-laced bourgeois family discovers the man of the house
murdered in his bed. The phone line has been cut and the only car sabotaged:
clearly the murderer is among them. But who is it? Amid the mayhem
characters break into song, revealing in French variety numbers feelings
hidden behind the artificial decor of the happy family.

Monday, February 20: VIVA LALDJÉRIE
1 hour 53 minutes * In French and Arabic with English subtitles
VIVA LALDJÉRIE explores the lives of three women in Algiers as they manage
to get by despite their daily difficulties. Goucem works at a local photo
shop and lives with her mother Sandjak in a low-rent residential hotel. She
is torn between tradition and modernity, between her mother’s desire for her
to find a husband and her aspiration to live like a modern young woman.
Sandjak, formerly an exotic dancer, hides from fundamentalists who are set
on killing her. Fifi, a prostitute who lives next door to Sandjak and
Goucem, is usually very busy entertaining men in her room, including
influential ones who should not be there. VIVA LALDJÉRIE highlights the
tensions between modern and traditional society in a country emerging from
civil war and dominated by men.

Monday, February 27: UNE HIRONDELLE A FAIT LE PRINTEMPS (The Girl From
1 hour 43 minutes * In French with English subtitles
A successful computer science teacher, Sandrine decides it’s time to leave
her unfulfilling job in overcrowded Paris and take a chance on her life-long
dream: farming. She buys a farm in the rugged and isolated mountains of the
Rhône-Alps, but the seller, a prickly old codger mistrustful of everyone and
dismissive of Sandrine’s ability to manage a farm, insists on living in his
house for another 18 months before moving. Having grown up on a farm
himself, the director doesn’t ignore the hardships--from helping goats in
labor to repairing fences in a winter storm--but he also shows a respect for
farm work traditional and newfangled, and a profound appreciation of natural

Monday, March 6: MOOLADÉ
2 hours 14 minutes * In Jula and French with English subtitles
Director Ousmane Sembene continues to provoke his audience and reiterates
the strong feminist consciousness that marks previous work. This time, he
takes on the explosive issue of female circumcision, a practice still common
in Africa. Four young girls face genital mutilation, and flee to the house
of Collé Ardo Gallo Sy, a strong-willed woman who once managed to shield her
teenage daughter from circumcision. Collé invokes the time-honored custom of
“mooladé” (sanctuary) to protect the fugitives, creating a conflict in the
community and forcing every villager to take sides. Mooladé is the second of
a trilogy of films about heroism in daily life and, to use Sembene’s own
words, about the ‘underground struggle’ of people, which is often overlooked
by their governments and the rest of world.

Monday, March 13: BON VOYAGE
1 hour 54 minutes * In French with English subtitles
Set in June 1940 when Germany invaded France, cabinet members, journalists,
physicists, prisoners, and spies of all persuasions gather at the posh Hotel
Splendide in Bordeaux to escape the Nazi occupation of Paris. In this
sophisticated farce, murderous intrigues, scientific secrets and love
affairs flourish, while elaborate personal schemes and political plots
intersect. With wit and humor, director Jean-Paul Rappeneau explores a
pivotal and serious period from his youth – the turmoil that besieged France
at the beginning of World War II.

One of the few year-round single-screen cinemas left in the country, Images
Cinema has been a non-profit organization for seven years. It continues to
expand programming to meet the educational and cultural needs of the
community, while maintaining its dedication to quality independent film.
Images Cinema is supported in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a
state agency. Current happenings are listed at


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