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College holds fifth annual weeklong French film festival

Ashley Charnley | Monday, February 1, 2010

Saint Mary’s Department of Modern Languages and the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) will be hosting their fifth annual weeklong French Film Festival beginning today and running through Friday.

The films will be shown in Vander Vennet Theater in the basement of the Student Center every day at 7 p.m.

Mana Derakhshani, associate director for CWIL and a professor of French at Saint Mary’s, put together the film list with senior French major Jenny Becker.

“Our choice was based on the positive reviews and awards the films had received as well as the interest of the films’ topics and plots,” Derakhshani said.

The festival is made possible because of grants from The Tournées Festival, which encourages French film festivals on college campuses, something Derakhshani learned about when she decided to start the festival five years ago.

“I started it because I learned about a great grant opportunity through the French Cultural Services. These are recent films and the price of screening them is rather high,” Derakhshani said.

The Franco-American Cultural Exchange sponsors the grants that allow colleges across the country to hold events like this week’s film festival and they also provided a list of films for Derakhshani to choose from.

She said she chose the film “Les Amours d’Astrée et Céladon” because it is based on a 17th century novel, which coincides with a class on 17th century French literature being taught this semester.

“It’s always great to be able to complement classroom learning with these extra-curricular opportunities,” Derakhshani said.

She said students who are French majors might take particular interest in the list of films.

“The films could be of interest to students in Film Studies or Popular Culture,” Derakhshani said.

She also said the festival could help students who haven’t been able to experience traveling abroad to learn more about another culture.

“They are also a great way to learn about the world without necessary traveling. Films open windows on different cultures and experiences,” Derakhshani said.

The films include “Entre les murs” (The Class), “Les Amours d’Astrée et Céladon” (The Romance of Astrée and Céladon), “Azur et Asmar” (Azur and Asmar), “Graine et le mulet” (The Secret of the Grain) and “Un Secret” (A Secret).

The movie plots range from high school dramas to romance to a post-World War II Paris.
All of the movies will be shown with English subtitles and are free and open to the public, Derakhshani said.