Bonjour, j'adore la langue française et tout ce qui concerne la France. Le cinema français. J'ai le coeur qui bat!
If you can read those sentences, or they stir up inquisitive thoughts about France and cinema, then you might be interested in what is coming to Circle Cinema during the next month.
The 2nd Annual French Film Festival offers Tulsans a varied number of choices--legendary directors, short films, acclaimed animation--all related to the French language. Viva la France!
France has a thriving film industry, ranking only behind the United States and India, so a connection between French films and Circle Cinema is a natural fit that lasts throughout the year.
The festival is just a little bit different, though. Co-organized by The Alliance Française de Tulsa and Circle Cinema, it is an official partner in the worldwide celebration of the French language that takes place every March. The festival seeks to combine cinema and culture with guest speakers, food and other entertainment attached to film screenings.
"Tulsa is a cosmopolitan city, so for our second year of the festival, we've picked films from around the world rather than films from just France," said Terry Cearley, education liaison of the Circle Cinema.
"We are showing five films this year plus a collection of shorts; three are from France, but we also have one each from Canada, Belgium and Senegal. All the films celebrate French language or culture in some way."
The festival grew out of a lesser known aspect of Circle Cinema's free programming: the cinema club. Once a month, individuals gather to watch a movie in the small theatre space dubbed the Quad. The films are selected by the group or an individual, and are usually older films, either classics or lesser known films that are deemed worthy of being reconsidered. Conversation and food often go hand-in-hand with a screening.
The Circle has had as many as five different cinema clubs offering monthly programs at the theatre but currently there are only three: French, Russian and Latin.
The French group has been the most popular of all the cinema clubs, hence the creation of a festival to attract their members and anyone else interested in taking in a French language picture and hearing a speaker.
The first film in the festival is likely the most well known: Small Change. The 1976 movie, screened with a restored 35mm print, is directed by Francois Truffaut, one of France's most revered filmmakers. Small Change is Truffaut's look into the world of children and all the ups and downs that come to all of us in our youth.
Truffaut is no stranger to films about children. His 1959 film The 400 Blows, an early example of what was dubbed the French New Wave, is one of the most influential films of all time. In many ways, Small Change can be viewed as an extension, or a variation of, The 400 Blows.
Similar themes in the two films are the relationships kids have with the adults in their lives--parents, teachers, shopkeepers--and the bonds they have with another.
Small Change appears on its surface less bleak than The 400 Blows because it is more spread out in its focus. The dark undercurrent that makes The 400 Blows such a raw, intimate portrait of childhood has largely been given over to an ensemble cast. Opening on Feb. 26, Small Change is essential Truffaut, at his most joyous and observational, and should not be missed.
Another highlight of the festival is A Town Called Panic, an animated film from Belgium. In 2009, A Town Called Panic became the first stop-motion film to ever screen at the Cannes Film Festival. It is a fun, frenzied adventure tale involving the characters of Cowboy, Indian and Horse.
While other animated films have received a lot of attention in the past year, A Town Called Panic is perhaps the most inspired and fun of them all and has rapidly become a cult favorite for kids and adults who have seen it. A Town Called Panic opens on March 19.
Other films playing at the festival, some of which will have guest speakers, food and other special events: A French short film program with six films; The Necessities of Life (2008, Canada); I Am Alive and I Love You (1998, France); St. Louis Blues (2009, Senegal).
For a complete list of films and for further information on the 2nd Annual French Film Festival, go to circlecinema.com.
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