WKU will screen a series of recent French films with a focus on coming of age in postcolonial French culture as part of a grant sponsored by the French Ministry of Culture and the French Embassy. The festival will begin on Oct. 17 with French rapper Abd Al Malik’s debut film May Allah Bless France! and end on Oct. 26 with My Friend Victoria, an adaptation of a work by Nobel Prize-winning writer Doris Lessing. 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 five academic years. With issues of migrancy and Islam central to discussions about international cinema, the festival’s focus on adolescence in postcolonial France 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 that spotlights issues that are 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 addressing otherness and migrancy in a way that is applicable to our own region.”
In addition to May Allah Bless France!, a tale of a young rapper in the Strasbourg projects, and My Friend Victoria, the festival will feature several films that have won international critical acclaim, including Mustang, an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, and a restoration of Claire Denis’s classic Chocolat about a young girl’s childhood in the French colony of Cameroon. The festival will also screen two films that deal with French perspectives on immigrant youth: School of Babel, a documentary on a school that teaches French as a second language, and Eastern Boys, a story of queer identity that focuses on the relationship between an older business professional and an undocumented teenager.
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 Arabic, History and Pop Culture as well as graduate students in Gender and Women’s Studies and WKU’s new MFA in screenwriting program.
“I’m especially excited to involve our graduate students in a greater capacity this year,” said Hollyfield. “They are all doing innovative research and writing and this is a great forum for them to begin their careers.”
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 schedule is as follows:
- Oct. 17: Qu’Allah bénisse la France! / May Allah Bless France! (Dir. Abd Al Malik)
- Oct. 18: Mustang (Dir. Deniz Gamze Ergüven)
- Oct. 19: Eastern Boys (Dir. Robin Campillo)
- Oct. 24: La cour de Babel / The School of Babel (Dir. Julie Bertucelli)
- Oct. 25: Chocolat (Classics Selection) (Dir. Claire Denis)
- Oct. 26: Mon amie Victoria / My Friend Victoria (Dir. Jean Paul Civeyrac).
More information can be found at the festival’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/tourneeswku.
Contact: Dr. Jerod Ra’Del Hollyfield, (270) 745-3242 or email@example.com