2017 French Film Festival

Join us for another year of thoughtful and thought-provoking films, with subjects as wide-ranging as Versailles in the final days of the Ancien Regime, French colonial rule in the mid-20th century, life in contemporary Paris for immigrant schoolchildren and the trials and triumphs of a young medical student in a busy Parisian hospital.

On opening night, a wine and cheese reception will be held after the screening of "School of Babel," while our Sunday matinee "Farewell, My Queen" will be preceded by a pastry and coffee reception.

All films will be screened on campus in the O'Hare Academic Center's Bazarsky Lecture Hall. Tuesday screenings will be followed by a discussion.

To avoid lines at the door, patrons are encouraged to buy a festival pass online. For questions about online ticketing, call (401) 341-2197. For general festival information, email frenchfilmfestival@salve.edu.

We look forward to seeing you March 26 to April 6.

La cour de Babel/School of Babel

"School of Babel" follows a year in a Paris schoolroom for children who have recently immigrated to France. Using an intimate fly-on-the-wall style, Julie Bertucelli’s documentary gives us glimpses into the lives of tweens and teens from Mauritania, Serbia, Venezuela, Rumania, Senegal, Libya, Ireland, Brazil and China. The film's triumph is in its succinct manner of creating complex portraits of the children and capturing the diversity of their experience. While "School of Babel" is full of incidental insights into French immigration policy and various headline-grabbing sociopolitical situations, the focus remains squarely in the classroom and on the children as individuals wrestling with a new language and a new culture (their heroic teacher primarily remains an off-screen presence).

  • 4 p.m. Sunday, March 26 in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall
  • Tickets: $15 (Salve Regina students, faculty and staff free with University ID)
  • A wine and cheese reception will follow the screening.

Valley of Love

Isabelle Huppert and Gerard Depardieu are reunited in Guillaume Nicloux's deeply original "Valley of Love." France's two leading stars play Gerard and Isabelle, a divorced couple of famous actors who meet in Death Valley after receiving a letter from their dead son, a recent suicide, promising that he will reappear in the desert at a specific time and place. While Nicloux fills "Valley of Love" with discordant visions worthy of David Lynch and wry observations of the inevitable culture clash between French and American guests in a godforsaken motel, the heart of the movie is the aura of its two stars and the collective memory they embody.

  • 7 p.m. March 28 in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall
  • Tickets: $10 (Salve Regina students, faculty and staff free with University ID)
  • A discussion will follow the screening.

Hippocrate/Hippocrates, Diary of a French Doctor

Using young medical student Benjamin (played by rising star Vincent Lacoste) as a guide, director Thomas Lilti takes the viewer on a "backstage" tour of a labyrinthine Paris hospital where life and death decisions make fuses run short. During his first internship, timorous Benjamin meets Abdel (Reda Kateb), an older, idealistic intern who already practices medicine in his native Algeria but must be accredited in France to make a better life for his family. When Benjamin's negligence leads to the death of a homeless patient, the two doctors clash and questions of privilege arise. But they discover their shared values when they go against the system to grant a terminally ill elderly patient's last wishes.

  • 7 p.m. Thursday, March 30 in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall
  • Tickets: $10 (Salve Regina students, faculty and staff free with University ID)

Loin des hommes/Far from Men

Algeria, 1954. In a remote one-room schoolhouse in the Atlas Mountains, Daru (Viggo Mortensen) teaches Algerian children French. One day, local French police officers appear with Mohamed (Reda Kateb), an Algerian accused of murder, and charge Daru with escorting him to trial in the closest city while they continue to fight the growing insurrection. David Oelhoffen's film starts off as an archetypal Western - two men thrown against each other as they traverse a barren landscape - but when Daru and Mohamed find themselves stuck between French troops and the rebel army, it turns into a gripping meditation on the fate of individuals tossed to and fro by sociopolitical forces beyond their control.

  • 3 p.m. Sunday, April 2 in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall
  • Tickets: $15 (Salve Regina students, faculty and staff free with University ID)
  • A coffee and pastry reception will begin at 2 p.m.

Chocolat/Chocolate

With the release of her debut feature "Chocolat" in 1988, director Claire Denis appeared as a major talent who used wide shots, associative sequences of images, and an offbeat eye for detail to evoke the complex moods of Africa in the last decade of French colonial rule. "Chocolat" is seen through the eyes of a French district officer's little girl in a remote part of Cameroon. When a French plane crash-lands nearby, the district officer takes in its passengers, a group of colonial administrators and entrepreneurs who soon bring to light the many tensions underlying the family's apparently sleepy existence, not least of which is the deeply sensual attraction between the mistress of the house and the handsome black houseboy Protee.

  • 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 4 in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall
  • Tickets: $10 (Salve Regina students, faculty and staff free with University ID)
  • A discussion will follow the screening.

Les adieux à la reine/Farewell, my Queen

Benoit Jacquot's film about the chaos at Versailles on the eve of the 1789 revolution is told through the eyes of Sidonie, the besotted reader to Marie Antoinette. Compressed to four tumultuous days and taking place almost entirely within the royal palace, "Farewell, My Queen" tracks its protagonist relentlessly: The camera is often positioned inches behind Sidonie as she scrambles down corridors, trying to make sense of the rumors she hears among other courtiers. Sidonie may thrill to the queen's applying rosewood water to her mosquito bites, but she seethes in silent jealousy as she watches Marie Antoinette coo over her most prized pet, Gabrielle de Polignac - who makes la reine lose her mind before she loses her head.

  • 7 p.m. Thursday, April 6 in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall
  • Tickets: $10 (Salve Regina students, faculty and staff free with University ID)