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WKU to present series of French films April 5-9

WKU will screen a series of recent French films during a five-day festival this April as part of a grant sponsored by the French Ministry of Culture and the French Embassy.

The festival will begin on April 5 with Le Hérisson (The Hedgehog), an adaptation of Muriel Barbery’s bestselling novel, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, and end on April 9 with the Berlin Film Festival winner Tomboy. All events are free and open to the public.

As a host school for The Tournées Festival, WKU joins a select group of American universities that the French American Cultural Exchange chose as a festival site. With education reform and issues such as cyberbullying and teen pregnancy dominating the news, the festival will focus on films dealing with adolescent experiences.

“As a result of our numerous projects with local schools and our status as the state’s only university with a film major, WKU is in a prime position to host an event where these two areas of interest meet,” said festival director Dr. Jerod Ra’Del Hollyfield. “My hope is that the festival will foster discussion between WKU and the greater Bowling Green community about how contemporary French cinema reflects the universal struggles of adolescence and how a unique state like Kentucky fits into an international scope.”

In addition to The Hedgehog and Tomboy, the festival will feature several films that have won international critical acclaim, including the Cannes Film Festival-winning meditation on child homelessness Le gamin au vélo (The Kid with a Bike), the Caribbean immigrant family drama 35 Rhums (35 Shots of Rum) by French film icon Claire Denis, and a French take on the pregnancy pact that rocked Massachusetts’s Gloucester High School in 2008, 17 filles (17 Girls). (Read more about the films in The Tournées Festival at WKU)

An assistant professor in WKU’s English and Film departments, Hollyfield sought a series of films that would appeal to scholars from a wide range of departments—many of whom will be on hand to moderate post-screening discussions.

“One of the best aspects of WKU is seeing how the work we’re doing in one department relates to what others are working on in completely different fields,” Hollyfield said.  While the festival features several speakers from the French, Film and English departments, the discussions will also include professors from Nursing, Social Work, Women’s & Gender Studies, History, Pop Culture and Psychology.

“The interdepartmental interest has been amazing,” Hollyfield said. “It’s a true testament to how dedicated faculty are to investigating the issues that resonate with all of us, whether we live in France or Southern Kentucky.”

The event is co-sponsored by WKU’s English Department, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, Centre National de la Cinématographie et l’Image Animée CampusFrance, the Florence Gould Foundation, and highbrow entertainment.

Events will begin at 7 p.m. in Cherry Hall room 125 on WKU’s campus. The schedule is as follows: The Hedgehog (April 5), The Kid with a Bike (April 6), 35 Shots of Rum (April 7), 17 Girls (April 8) and Tomboy (April 9). Admission is free.

Contact: Jerod Ra’Del Hollyfield, (270) 745-3242 or jerod.hollyfield@wku.edu

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