This month, Hobart and William Smith will host the annual Tournées Festival, highlighting five contemporary French films of differing genres.
The festival began on Monday, Feb. 3 with the film “La Pirogue” (The Pirogue), and will conclude on Wednesday, Feb. 26, with a showing of “De Rouille et d’os” (Rust and Bone). Each viewing is free and open to the public, and will take place at 7 p.m. in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.
Several other films also will be shown as part of the series, including “Le Bonheur d’Elza” (Elza) on Thursday, Feb. 6; “Berlin 1885: La ruée sur l’Afrique” (Berlin 1885: The Division) on Wednesday, Feb. 12; and “L’Exercice de l’État” (The Minister) on Wednesday, Feb. 19. All films will be in French with English subtitles. A brief description of each film is as follows:
The opening film “La Pirogue,” tells the story of a group of men from Senegal who use a small boat to navigate the waters of the Atlantic Ocean to get to Spain in pursuit of a better life. Directed by Moussa Touré and written by Abasse Ndione, Éric Névé, and David Bouchet, the film was nominated in the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, as well as in the 2012 Films from the South Festival in Oslo, Norway.
“Le Bonheur d’Elza,” a 2011 film, directed by Mariette Monpierre and written by Mama Keïta and Mariette Monpierre is the story of a young Parisian woman who returns to her native island of Guadeloupe in search of her father who has been absent from her life.
“Berlin 1885: La ruée sur l’Afrique,” directed and written by Joël Calmettes, exposes the Berlin Conference on Africa. It explores how during this conference at Chancellor Otto von Bismark’s residence, the United States and European countries divided up African land for their personal gain. The film conveys the harmful realities of colonization.
“L’Exercice de l’État,” directed and written by Pierre Schoeller, depicts the life of The Minister of Transport and his journeys through the political hostile world. He faces economic crisis, power struggles, and other issues. This film won three awards and has been nominated for 13.
“De Rouille et d’os,” directed by Jacques Audiard and written by Thomas Bidegain, Jacques Audiard, and Craig Davidson, features a father who is put in charge of his son and moves to live with his sister and his family. A relationship is born between him and a killer whale trainer named Stephanie, which grows even deeper after she suffers a horrible accident.
Hosting the Tournées Festival is a unique opportunity for Hobart and William Smith Colleges, with only a handful of schools throughout the country receiving the privilege.
The HWS French and Francophone Studies Department sponsor the event on campus. In addition, the Colleges offer three popular study abroad programs throughout France, from Aix en Provence to Rennes.
The Tournées Festival is a product of French American Cultural Exchange, as well as the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. The program strives to bring the latest French films to the campuses of American colleges and universities, and commits nearly $200,000 in grants each year to help schools start their own French film festivals.
Now in its 17th year, the program has partnered with more than 400 colleges and universities, providing French films to more than 500,000 students. Along with being closely linked to the French Embassy, The Tournées Festival has begun a new partnership with CampusFrance, an NGO that promotes studies in French universities.
The Tournées Festival was made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S. and the Centre National de la Cinématographie et de l’Image Animée. Additional sponsors: Florence Gould Foundation, CampusFrance, and highbrow entertainment.