Northwestern State University’s Department of English, Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies will host “Vive le Cinéma: Tournées French and Francophone Film Festival” with screenings to run Feb. 21 through March 28 that will feature the best contemporary French and francophone films. Films will be shown in French with English subtitles in Room 206 of the new Creative and Performing Arts Building. Admission is free and open to the public and donations are welcome.
The Tournées Film Festival is made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S., the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée (CNC), the French American Cultural Fund, Florence Gould Foundation and Highbrow Entertainment. Tournées Film Festival is a program of the FACE Foundation, in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, which aims to bring French cinema to American college and university campuses.
“The Tournées program provides all grant honorees with a catalogue of over 80 films to choose from,” said Allison Rittmayer, assistant professor of English and film. She and two other faculty members, Dr. Ben Forkner and Christine Ferrell, went through the list separately and watched the trailers, then met together and came up with a long list on which they voted until they had six films.
“Surprisingly a lot of our students have had exposure to foreign films because they’ve grown up watching Anime, and now Netflix and other streaming platforms have given them access to more films around the world,” Rittmayer said. “In my classes, the majority of the films I assign are from other countries. After the screenings we have informal discussions, and in our classes, Dr. Forkner, Mrs. Ferrell and I will discuss the films.”
Students do not need to do any prep work or research before watching the films, but can watch the trailers or read more about them online. Rittmayer said last year’s Spanish Film Festival at NSU was a success and they hope to continue to expanding programs and seeking support from the community.
“The goal of cultural studies is to examine how popular culture intersects with systems of power,” Rittmayer said. “Programs like the Tournées Film Festival allow us to show our students current films that they might not have encountered otherwise, so we can discuss the dynamics of international film production and distribution. Beyond that, these films expose our students to social and historical issues in other countries that students might not have been aware of, and can open up discussions of representation and how certain stories get told.”