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Sue Bush
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Images To Host Williams College French Film Series

12:00AM / Friday, February 02, 2007

Williamstown- For five consecutive Mondays, Feb. 12 through March 12, the Williams College Department of Romance Languages and Images Cinema will screen five French language films on the theme of "In the Best of Families: Domestic Drama in New French and Francophone Film." The screenings are scheduled for 7 p.m.

The prominent French film scholar Professor Tom Conley of Harvard University will give an inaugural address on Feb. 12 at 6 p.m., before the first film screening at 7 p.m. at Images Cinema. The principal organizer of the festival, Assistant Professor of French Brian Martin at Williams, will give introductions to each film.

The films are COTE D'AZUR, WHEN THE SEA RISES, CHANGING TIMES, THE CHILD, and LOOK AT ME. The screenings are free and open to the public. Images Cinema is located at 50 Spring Street in Williamstown, MA. http://www.imagescinema.org/french07.htm

From France, Belgium, and Morocco, these films examine the diversity of contemporary families in the French-speaking world. Representing a wide array of ethnicities, sexualities, and cultures, the films explore the complex relationships between lovers, spouses, parents, and children, in both traditional and non-traditional families: from working mothers to urban poverty, marital infidelity to post-coloniality, teenage moms to deadbeat dads; and from midlife crises to family feuds, nuclear heterosexuality to queer kinship, sexual identity to summer romance.

This series is a collaboration with the Tournees Festival of the French-American Cultural Exchange Council, and made possible through the generous support of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture (CNC), as well as the Florence Gould Foundation, the Grand Marnier Foundation and the Franco-American Cultural Fund. Presented by the Williams College Department of Romance Languages and cosponsored by the Center for Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, the Program in Women's and Gender Studies, the Multicultural Center, the Dively Committee, and with generous funding from the Kagle Gift.



Monday, February 12: COTE D'AZUR (CRUSTACÉS ET COQUILLAGES)

1 hour 33 minutes. In French with English subtitles. 2005

Marc takes his wife Beatrix and their two children to the seaside house of his youth on a summer vacation. The Mediterranean wind blows; the sea and the heat of summer stoke their desires. Their daughter Laura leaves for Portugal with her biker boyfriend. Their son Charlie, age 17, is left to roam around with his best friend Martin. Sensitive to the charged atmosphere that exists between Charlie and Martin, Beatrix imagines that her son is gay. Charlie tries to explain to his parents that he is not gay but, as he will soon discover, they are more enthralled by their own love affairs. Beatrix's lover Mathieu shows up, inventing all sorts of excuses to steal time with her. Marc's old flame, the local plumber appears reviving Marc's repressed homosexuality. Complications escalate in a series of misunderstandings but the story has a happy ending. This typical vaudeville has fast rhythm, witty dialogue, and an energetic storyline that concludes with an erotically charged musical number about the aphrodisiac powers of shellfish.

Monday, February 19: WHEN THE SEA RISES (QUAND LA MER MONTE)

1 hour 30 minutes. In French with English subtitles. 2004

When the Sea Rises tells the story of Irene (Moreau), a 45-year-old actress traveling from one small town to another with her one-woman show, "Dirty Business." Slyly funny in her masked onstage persona, Irene is a genial pro at touring alone, phoning home to her husband and child, and sleeping in a new hotel each night. Things change when a scooter-driving vagabond named Dries fixes her stalled car. After accepting an invitation to her show, Dries soon appears at every stop on her tour as her "randomly selected" audience participant. What develops is a remarkably natural and tender affair between two true eccentrics, their exuberance, and playfulness mixing with a mature, mutual longing.

Monday, February 26: CHANGING TIMES (LES TEMPS QUI CHANGENT)

1 hour 30 minutes. In French with English subtitles. 2004

Antoine arrives in Tangiers from Europe to supervise the building of an audiovisual center. The secret aim of his journey is to link up with Cecile, whom he has continued to love with a silent passion for more than thirty years. Cecile emigrated to North Africa and married Natan, a Jewish-Moroccan doctor. Sami, their son, arrives at his parents' place with his girlfriend Nadia, who is raising Said, a young child. Sami and Nadia help each other to pursue their separate passions. Nadia tries to reconnect with her twin sister, Aicha, who lives in Tangiers. Aicha has distanced herself and refuses to see Nadia. Sami attempts to reconcile his relationship with Bilal with his love for Nadia. Antoine tries to win over Cecile and reignite the passion she once felt for him. While at first she thought he was crazy and immature, Cecile feels restless and begins to question her life. When a terrible accident sends Antoine into a coma, Cecile stays at his bedside in Tangiers while Natan moves to Casablanca.

Monday, March 5: THE CHILD (L'ENFANT)

1 hour 35 minutes. In French with English subtitles. 2005

Dispossessed twenty-year-old Bruno lives with his girlfriend Sonia in an Eastern Belgian steel town. They live off Sonia's unemployment benefits, panhandling, and the petty thievery of Bruno and his gang. Their lives change forever when Sonia gives birth to their child Jimmy. She returns home from the hospital to learn that Bruno has sublet their apartment to total strangers. The two are forced to make do under a highway bridge. Bruno feels little attachment to their baby and Jimmy becomes little more to him than a new source of wealth. Desperate for money, Bruno sells Jimmy through the black market. Upon learning what Bruno did, Sonia faints and ends up in the hospital. Realizing his terrible mistake, Bruno sets out to get his baby back. He eventually does but is forced to come up with the money that his black market contact lost in the failed deal. After stealing the day's earnings from a small store, Bruno and his young associate are caught during a chase with the police. Transformed by his newly discovered sense of responsibility to his son, Bruno steps forward and takes responsibility for the crime and lands in prison, whereas his young partner goes free.

Monday, March 12: LOOK AT ME (COMME UNE IMAGE)

1 hour 50 minutes. In French with English subtitles. 2004

This newest character-rich comedy centers on 20-year-old Lolita, a stocky, dark-haired aspiring singer acutely aware that she doesn't fit into a world ruled by skinny blondes. Compounding her low self-esteem is her inconsiderate father Etienne, a jaw-droppingly boorish literary celebrity whom she worships and despises. Orbiting in Etienne's sphere of influence is a retinue of devotees and wannabes, including a voice coach (played by director Agnes Jaoui) who plots on behalf of her struggling novelist husband. Brimming with music, food, and parties, Look At Me paints a vibrant portrait of the Parisian social whirl, but one, which doesn't gloss over the undercurrent of backbiting and backstabbing that flows just beneath the glittering surface. The film ends with a heart-warming country-church recital that affirms the transcendent power of art.

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 http://www.imagescinema.org
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