Now in its fourth season and exploring topics from relationships to religion, the Tournées Film Festival will be hosted by the Hobart and William Smith Colleges French and Francophone Studies Department at the Smith Center for the Arts in downtown Geneva.
Co-organized by French and Francophone Studies Postdoctoral Fellow Jennifer Cazenave and Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies Courtney Wells, the festival will feature six films spanning both modern and classic French genres. This year, the festival will be linked with the Colleges’ annual Human Rights and Genocide Symposium. The festival kicks off on Wednesday, Sept. 30, with the last screening taking place on Tuesday, Oct. 27. The films are in French with English subtitles. All screenings are free and open to the public.
“The Tournées Film Festival offers a unique opportunity to access French and Francophone cinema that is otherwise unavailable in the greater Finger Lakes community,” Cazenave says. “This year, we will be working closely with the Human Rights and Genocide Symposium for the presentation and discussion of ‘Timbuktu.’ We will also have faculty presentations of the films “The Nun” and “Le jour se lève,” which will contextualize these literary films for students outside the French Department.”
In past festivals the French and Francophone Studies Department collaborated with Spanish and Hispanic Studies, LGBT Studies, Women’s Studies, Political Science and Media and Society through post-screening debates and panels.
A common thread in this year’s selection of French films is the presence of strong female characters, and the films “If You Don’t, I Will” and “Girlhood” were directed by “two of the most important women film makers in France today,” Wells says.
This is the second time the Tournées Film Festival is being held at the Smith Center for the Arts. The Colleges have sponsored a range of recent events at the downtown venue, including the annual Koshare Dance Collective show, which in 2014, featured more than 25 performances and 175 students. In addition, noted speakers and major concerts also have taken place at the Smith.
“We have been delighted to see many more Geneva and Finger Lakes community members at our screenings, which we hope to see in even greater numbers this year,” Wells says.
- The Film Festival begins on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 8:00 p.m. with “Timbuktu,” a film that tells the story of a Jihadist siege in the city of Timbuktu, where a group of Islamic fundamentalists impose repressive laws, including banning music, sports and socializing.
- On Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m., Sophie Fillières’s, “If You Don’t, I Will,” will be screened. This comedic film explores ways that spouses become fiercely invested in perpetuating their own immiserating dynamic.
- Thursday, Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m., the Smith will show “The Nun,” an adaption of Denis Diderot’s 18th century anticlerical novel, in which Suzanne Simonin is forced by her parents to enter a convent. A scathing examination of religious hypocrisy and a profound treatise on freedom, Guillaume Nicloux’s adaptation imagines Suzanne as a great heroine.
- “Le jour se lève” / “Daybreak” will be screened on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m. The protagonist, François, kills a man in the first minutes of the film. As he is barricaded in his apartment, now under siege by the police, François reflects on his existence by means of flashbacks, showing his relationships over the years.
- On Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m., there will be a showing of “Girlhood,” a film that follows 16-year-old Marieme during her difficult search for freedom and identity, over the course of which she is repeatedly reminded of her severely limited options.
- The festival concludes on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m., with the showing of “Love at First Fight.” This Thomas Cailley film follows the unlikely attraction that develops between Arnaud, a mild-mannered woodworker and carpenter, and Madeleine, a doomsday-obsessed graduate student preparing for an elite army unit.