Six thought-provoking French films featuring a wide range of perennial concerns like love, aging, identity (national, racial and sexual) and survival in the aftermath of war and trauma, will be featured when Salve Regina University for the 13th year presents its French Film Festival on March 25-April 6.
All films are open to the public and will be screened on campus in the O’Hare Academic Building’s Bazarsky Lecture Hall on Ochre Point Avenue. Tuesday screenings will be followed by a discussion.
An opening night wine and cheese reception will be held Sunday, Feb. 25 after the 4 p.m. screening of “Panique,” while the Sunday, March 4 matinee screening of “Things to Come” will be preceded by a pastry and coffee reception at 2 p.m.
To avoid lines at the door, patrons are encouraged to buy a festival pass online. For questions about online ticketing, call (401) 341-2197. For general festival information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following films will be featured during the festival:
Sunday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m.
Critically lambasted and shunned by postwar French audiences upon its release in 1947, Julien Duvivier’s “Panique” has since come to be recognized as a long-overlooked treasure of French film noir. The film was the first of several adaptations of “Mr. Hire’s Engagement,” one of the finest novels by legendary Belgian crime writer Georges Simenon, a coal-black tale of the scapegoating of the eccentric bachelor Mr. Hire. Following the murder of a woman in his Paris neighborhood, Mr. Hire has the double misfortune of knowing too much for his own good and falling for the real murderer’s girlfriend.
Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.
Fatima is a middle-aged, divorced Algerian woman living in a French suburb, cleaning houses and offices from dawn to dusk to provide her spirited teenage daughters with a better future. It takes a workplace accident for Fatima to finally pay attention to her own needs and discover a powerful means of expressing them through poetry. “Fatima” touches on a variety of essential issues: everyday racism, illiteracy, the challenges of the French university system, and the clash between traditional, older immigrant generations and their assimilating children.
Thursday, March 1 at 7 p.m.
When middle-aged gay professional Daniel spots the undocumented teenager Marek at a train station in Paris and invites him back to his place, he unwittingly makes himself the target of a home invasion by a gang of ruthless Eastern European youth. Despite this most unpromising of starts, Marek and Daniel continue to see each other and their relationship shifts from a sexual arrangement to a surrogate father-son bond. As Daniel learns more about Marek’s life in his native Chechnya, he decides to rescue him from the gang.
L’Avenir/Things to Come
Sunday, March 4 at 3 p.m.
Working with Isabelle Huppert, the first major star cast in one of her features, writer-director Mia Hansen-Love creates a luminous portrait of a woman facing difficult changes in late middle-age: in the span of a few months, high school philosophy professor Nathalie (Huppert) is left by her husband of 25 years, buries her mother, and learns that the publishing imprint she edits is being terminated. Though her future might look bleak, Nathalie remains committed to her intellectual values and her personal mission to pass them on to her pupils.
Louise en Hiver/Louise by the Shore
Tuesday, March 6 at 7 p.m.
When elderly widow Louise misses the last train out of the seaside resort she summers in, she finds herself stranded in a ghost town of empty buildings and waxing and waning tides. She soon becomes a genteel Robinson Crusoe, building a hut on the beach and settling in with a raggedy talking dog and the memories of her childhood. A rare example of animation primarily aimed at an adult audience, “Louise by the Shore” is a welcome reminder that animation can be a medium for quiet lyricism and characters rarely given center stage in live action film.
Voir du Pays/The Stopover
Thursday, March 8 at 7 p.m.
A French military unit has just arrived on the island of Cyprus for a three-day “decompression” stay in a five-star hotel before it heads home from Afghanistan. While a motley crew of tourists bask in the sun, these men and women of France’s armed forces participate in group therapy sessions to work through traumas suffered on the field and prepare for life back home. “The Stopover” focuses on two female soldiers as they face the lingering sexism of their male comrades in arms, the memory of a military operation gone horribly wrong, and a nightmare encounter with some aggressive locals.