2015 French Film Festival

Join us as we celebrate 10 years of the French Film Festival! The festival will once again bring a French flair to Newport with live music, wine tasting, raffles and seven remarkable and unique films - including a special, free 10th anniversary screening - all in French with English subtitles. Join us from March 15-26 as we renew the event that has become a Salve Regina and Newport cultural institution.

All films will be screened on campus in the O'Hare Academic Center's Bazarsky Lecture Hall. The festival will open with a reception and free wine tasting in McAuley Hall, which is directly adjacent to O'Hare. To avoid lines at the door, buy a festival pass online or call (401) 341-2250.

On My Way/Elle s'en va (comic road movie)

Emmanuelle Bercot's delightful film was written expressly for Catherine Deneuve, who has rarely appeared as loose and vibrant as she does here. The iconic actress plays Bettie, a former beauty queen partial to subdued leopard-print blouses. Crowned Miss Brittany in 1969, she's never left the region, running a bistro and living in the house she was born in with her mother. Shortly after learning that her longtime married lover has taken up with a 25-year-old, Bettie walks out during the middle of the lunch rush, her head-clearing getaway soon turning into a nearly weeklong road trip through deepest rural France. Deneuve's pairing with nonprofessional actors effervesce with their unpredictability, showing off her nimble give-and-take with these game first-timers. But the most exhilarating duet occurs between Deneuve and Nemo Schiffman (Bercot's son), playing Bettie's grandson, Charly, a melodramatic tween who belts out show tunes.

  • 7 p.m. Sunday, March 15 in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall
  • Tickets: $10 (students free with valid Salve Regina ID)

2 Autumns, 3 Winters/2 automnes, 3 hivers (romantic comedy)

Sebastien Betbeder's wry, touching Paris-set romantic comedy explores the hopes and anxieties of characters trying to settle into adulthood. As part of his regimen of self-improvement, aimless 33-year-old Arman (Vincent Macaigne) takes up jogging; while doing laps one day, he bumps into fellow fitness enthusiast Amelie (Maud Wyler). After several unsuccessful attempts to reconnect with her, Arman reunites with Amelie in quite a dramatic way: by saving her from muggers - an act of heroism that lands him in the hospital and that makes Amelie fall in love with him. Divided into several small chapters spanning the seasons of the title, Betbeder's film often pauses for the leads to directly address the camera, their first-person disquisitions further fleshing out the characters' memories, fears and desires. Evoking the spirit of the Nouvelle Vague, the film is above all a paean to real, face-to-face connection in an increasingly isolating virtual world.

  • 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 17 in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall
  • Tickets: $5 (students free with valid Salve Regina ID)

Grand Illusion (classic war film)

Set during World War I, this masterwork by Jean Renoir, once hailed by Orson Welles as the "greatest of all directors," was shot just three years before the beginning of World War II. Renoir, who himself had flown reconnaissance missions during WWI, examines the relationships that form among a group of French officers held in a German prisoner-of-war camp. As the film historian Peter Cowie once astutely noted, the film "escapes the confines of the war movie genre. Scarcely a gun is fired in anger. The trenches are nowhere in sight. Yet through some alchemy, Renoir imbues the film with his passionate belief in man's humanity to man. The accident of war brings out the fundamentally decent nature of people who in peacetime would be unbending strangers to one another."

  • 7 p.m. Friday, March 20 in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall (rescheduled date)
  • Tickets: $5 (students free with valid Salve Regina ID)

Ernest & Celestine (animation)

This charming animated film about interspecies friendship, directed by Stephane Aubier, Vincent Pater and Benjamin Renner, is based on a series of children's books by Belgian author-illustrator Gabrielle Vincent. In an unnamed French city, two different realms of sworn enemies exist: Above ground live bears; below it reside mice. Celestine, a wee mouse orphan who is being trained for a career in dentistry but dreams of being an artist instead, meets a kindred spirit in adult Ernest, an ursine musician whom she convinces not to eat her. They seal their bond by breaking into a candy store together and soon find themselves on the lam from those who are appalled by their amity. These unlikely friends set up their own home in the woods, delighting in both their similarities and differences. The detailed, warm, hand-drawn animation emphasizes the tender companionship between a mouse who loves to sketch and a bear who is happiest when playing a violin.

  • 2 p.m. Sunday, March 22 in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall
  • Tickets: $10 (students free with valid Salve Regina ID)

The Intouchables (comedy/drama)

A box-office sensation in its home country, this film has been the most requested at the festival in recent years. This free screening is designed to thank festival attendees for their patronage over the last decade. Come early to secure your seat.

"Like Jerry Lewis, this French buddy comedy is a huge hit with Gallic audiences. Senegalese actor Omar Sy, whose sublimely funny and touching performance won the French Oscar, is spectacular as Driss, an ex-con hired to care for Philippe (Francois Cluzet), a rich white widower paralyzed after a paragliding accident. Sy and Cluzet are superb actors who demolish stereotypes about race and social class by finding a common humanity in their characters." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

  • 7 p.m. Monday, March 23 in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall
  • Free screening celebrating 10 years of the French Film Festival

Bastards/Les Salauds (film noir)

Claire Denis's scalding examination of the abuse of power and the sin of looking the other way may be the year's most unforgettable film noir. Inspired by William Faulkner's 1931 novel "Sanctuary" and the Sadean sex parties attended by Dominique Strauss-Kahn and other French higher-ups, the film centers on a revenge plot that begins tenuously but grows only more inexorable. Sea captain Marco (Vincent Lindon) reluctantly returns to Paris to assist his disgraced sister, Sandra (Julie Bataille). Her husband has just committed suicide, and her daughter, Justine (Lola Creton), is recovering in a clinic for participation in carnal acts so extreme that she may require a series of delicate operations. Convinced that Edouard LaPorte (Michel Subor), a DSK-like figure, is linked to both incidents, Marco plans his retaliation by stealthily ingratiating himself with LaPorte's much younger wife (Chiara Mastroianni). But when the shipmaster discovers Sandra's complicity in acts of unspeakable depravity, the revelations take on the force of Greek tragedy.

  • 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 24 in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall
  • Tickets: $5 (students free with valid Salve Regina ID)

The Past/Le Passe (family drama)

Full of the same astute and compassionate observations about unraveling, unhappy relationships - conjugal and otherwise - that distinguished his previous work, "A Separation" (2011), Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's latest film is set in a working-class suburb of Paris. Marie (Berenice Bejo) lives in a cramped house with three children, her two daughters and the young son of her boyfriend, Samir (Tahar Rahim), whom she hopes to marry soon. But before the couple can even begin to consider wedding plans, Marie must finalize her divorce from her estranged husband, Ahmad (Ali Mousaffa), who flies to Paris from Tehran for the court procedure. While staying with his soon-to-be ex-wife, Ahmad immediately becomes aware of the resentment, rage and hurt harbored by many of those living under Marie's roof. Farhadi masterfully mines the regrets that have bedeviled the film's adult characters - whose despair permanently marks the younger ones.

  • 7 p.m. Thursday, March 26 in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall
  • Tickets: $5 (students free with valid Salve Regina ID)