WKU will screen a series of recent French films that deal with issues of immigration and terrorism during a three-week festival as part of a grant sponsored by the French Ministry of Culture and the French Embassy. The festival will begin on Monday, March 16, with a reissue of Jacques Demy’s classic 1963 film Bay of Angels and end on Tuesday, March 31, with 2013 Cannes Film Festival winner Blue is the Warmest Color. 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. WKU also has the distinction of receiving the award for the past three academic years. With immigration issues and terror attacks such as last January’s Charlie Hebdo massacre dominating the news, the festival will focus on films dealing with diaspora, terror and Islam in Europe. “As a result of our numerous international connections and our status as the state’s only public 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 with identity and against forces such as terrorism.”
In addition to Bay of Angels and Blue is the Warmest Color, the festival will feature several films that have won international critical acclaim, including The Past, a Golden Globe nominated story of an Iranian family living in France, and Bastards, a scathing critique of sex trafficking by French film icon Claire Denis. The festival will also screen two films that deal with French perspectives on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict—the terrorism parable The Attack and the documentary about the Israeli secret service The Gatekeeepers.
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,” said Hollyfield. While the festival features several speakers from the French, Film and English departments, the discussions will also include professors from Philosophy, Journalism, Women’s & Gender Studies, History, Pop Culture, Political Science and Psychology. The festival will also feature representatives from the International Center of Kentucky. “The interdepartmental interest is always outstanding,” Hollyfield said, “But partnering with a local community organization that works with immigrants from some of the nations we will discuss really highlights connections among France, Southern Kentucky and other centers of immigration.”
The event is cosponsored by WKU’s English Department, WKU’s Office of International Programs, the French American Cultural Exchange, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, Centre National de la Cinématographie et l’Image Animée Campus France, the Florence Gould Foundation, and highbrow entertainment.
Events will begin at 7 p.m. in Cherry Hall 125 on WKU’s campus. The schedule is as follows: Bay of Angels (3/16), The Past (3/17), The Attack (3/23), The Gatekeepers (3/24), Bastards (3/30), Blue is the Warmest Color (3/31). More information can be found at the festival’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/tourneeswku.
Contact: Jerod Hollyfield, (270) 745-3242.