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WKU to screen series of French films during 3-week festival

November event to focus on female filmmakers and characters

WKU will screen a series of recent French films with a focus on women 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 Nov. 3 with a reissue of recently deceased filmmaker Chantal Akerman’s One Day Pina Asked and end on Nov. 23 with Two Days, One Night, the film that garnered Marion Cotillard a nomination for Best Actress at this year’s Academy Awards. All events are free and open to the public.

filmAs 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 four academic years. With issues of gender representation and inequality at the forefront of discussions about international cinema, the festival’s focus on female-centric and female-directed stories is even more timely.

“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 we spotlight an issue that is becoming even more central to popular culture,” 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 has a rich history of female protagonists and filmmakers.”

In addition to One Day Pina Asked, an experimental documentary about choreographer Pina Bausch, and Two Days, One Night, the festival will feature several films that have won international critical acclaim, including Clouds of Sils Maria, which made history this year when supporting actress Kristen Stewart became the first American ever to win a French Academy Award, and Abuse of Weakness, an unrelenting critique of misogyny that is loosely based on French film icon Catherine Breillat’s experience recovering from a stroke.

The festival will also screen two films that deal with French perspectives on immigration and Islam: Timbuktu, an Oscar-nominated, intense study of religious fundamentalism, and Girlhood, a story of adolescent female immigrants bonding in the suburbs of Paris.

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, Dance, Women’s & Gender Studies, History, Pop Culture, Theatre and Communication Sciences and Disorders.

The event is co-sponsored by WKU’s English Department, 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 festival schedule is as follows:

  • Nov. 3: Contemporary French Animation Block and Un Jour Pina M’a Demandé / One Day Pina Asked Dir. Chantal Akerman  (classic selection)
  • Nov. 9: Clouds of Sils Maria Dir. Olivier Assayas
  • Nov. 10: Bande de Filles / Girlhood Dir. Celine Siamma
  • Nov. 16: Timbuktu Dir. Abderrahmane Sissako
  • Nov. 17: Abus de Faiblesse / Abuse of Weakness Dir. Catherine Breillat
  • Nov. 23: Deux Jours, Une Nuit / Two Days, One Night Dir. The Dardenne Bros.

More information can be found at the festival’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/tourneeswku.

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

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