Tournees Film Festival at Boston University

The Departments of Romance Studies and International Programs at Boston University are delighted to announce the Tournées Film Festival at BU!

Our film selection focuses on the new face of French cinema, showcasing a fresh variety of Francophone filmmakers, subjects, genres and styles.

Tickets are FREE TO BU STUDENTS and $2 at the door to the general public. All films are in French with English subtitles.

Film showing schedule:

9/23: Les Témoins [The Witnesses]
9/24: Peur(s) du noir [Fears of the Dark]
9/28: Le Fils de l’épicier [The Grocer’s Son]
10/1: Un secret [A Secret]
10/2: La Graine et le mulet [The Secret of the Grain]

All films show at 7:00pm, doors open at 6:45pm.

Boston University Photonics Center, Room 206
8 St. Mary’s St., Boston, MA


Battles, both literal and metaphorical, have dominated André Téchiné’s last three films: Strayed (2003) saw Emmanuelle Béart and her children fleeing German planes in 1940; Changing Times (2004) featured Gerard Depardieu trying to win back romantically intransigent Catherine Deneuve at any cost. In the director’s bold The Witnesses, set in 1984–85, the body itself becomes a battleground. Or, as Adrien, a gay physician spearheading AIDS research, says to Sarah, a straight female friend, “You’re in love and I’m at war.” Within the film’s foursome—Sarah is a novelist who has a child with vice cop Mehdi, who begins a torrid affair with Manu, a country bumpkin who befriends Adrien while cruising in a park his first night in Paris—dyads will form, split, and recoalesce, particularly after Adrien discovers KS lesions on Manu’s chest. Like Wild Reeds (1994), Téchiné’s film about two young men falling in love during the Algerian War, The Witnesses brilliantly combines the personal and the political, and is one of the rare films about the early years of the AIDS crisis. Beyond gay versus straight, Techiné’s film is equally committed to exploring other opposites: rich vs. poor, male vs. female, Muslim vs. non-Muslim. (9/23/09)

Six leading graphic artists and cartoonists turn their personal terrors into reality in this nightmarish animated anthology. Stylistically connected, the stark black-and-white imagery adds a layer of the surreal to the already disturbing subject matter. As reality crosses over into the unknown, these six interlocking stories bring to life fears of the dark, injections, pursuit and more. One by one, a noble man unleashes his angry dogs on peasants and city-dwellers; a young Japanese girl suffers from the cruelty of her peers and deals with her own demons; a young student quickly moves in with an overbearing girlfriend who ultimately uses his body as a breeding ground for strange creatures; a man enters a dark and empty house to escape a snow storm… Narrated by well-known French comedians, these stories raise goosebumps that only recede when Nicole Garcia tells a much more light-hearted story in a humorous and harried voice. (9/24/09)

When his father has a sudden heart attack, it’s up to jaded and distant Antoine Sforza, a young man who has distanced himself from his roots, to take over the family business at the age of 30. Leaving behind his dead-end job as a waiter and his tiny apartment in Paris, he grudgingly moves home to Provence, in the south of France, to run a small mobile grocery store. His family’s food truck is integral to the daily shopping of the feisty elderly French neighbors who inhabit the local countryside and emerge from their homes to purchase his vegetables. Although Antoine is curt and surly with his customers (as well as with most of the people he meets), he succeeds in bringing to Provence his favorite aspect of Paris: his beautiful, confident neighbor, Claire, upon whom he harbors a secret crush. Antoine and Claire both move into his mother’s home, where Claire studies for an exam and Antoine slowly begins to get to know the community and himself a little bit better. This subtle, closely-observed film was directed and co-written by Eric Guirado, who has a sharp eye for detail and dialogue. (9/28/09)

A Secret follows the life of a Jewish family in post-World War II Paris. François, the son of Maxime and Tania, is a solitary and imaginative child who invents for himself a brother and the story of his parents’ past. One day, he discovers a dark family secret that shatters his life forever: before the war and well before François’s birth, his father Maxime was married to Hannah with whom he had a son. At a wedding Maxime met Tania, a young, athletic and beautiful swimmer. He felt madly in love but decided to remain faithful to Hannah. When the Nazis invaded France, their Jewish families and friends were deeply divided on what action to take and how they should live their religion and cultural heritage as Jews. Maxime decided to move his family to the free zone and left ahead of them. On her way with her son to meet Maxime, Hannah made a decision that would change her life and that of her family forever, leaving both Maxime and Tania to make difficult choices to survive the war. With the birth of François, the pair started a new family in post-war France, hoping that the existence of Hannah and her son would remain a secret. When François discovers the truth, the family will be forced to revisit their difficult past. (10/1/09)

This stunning film takes place in the Southern French city of Sète where Slimane, the patriarch of a large and vivacious North African family, is an elderly dockworker. When his job of many years is suddenly no longer secure, he decides to restore an old boat in the harbor, and turn it into a floating couscous restaurant. It’s a wildly ambitious project, and the increasingly ailing Slimane will need the help of all of his family members in order to pull it off—from his ex-wife and their children, many who have families of their own, to his longtime lover and her quietly charismatic, determined daughter, Rym. But even if their conflicts can be patched together in time, will this immigrant family’s energy and verve be enough to overturn the will of the powerful white townspeople who hold the bureaucratic keys needed to make Slimane’s dream a reality? Writer and director Abdel Kechiche is a master at communicating the finest aspects of his colorful brood of characters. Vibrant cinematography and dynamic editing make this personal story all the more engrossing; each individual character is amazingly distinct, while their interpersonal dynamics are rendered with startling clarity and familiarity. (10/2/09)

The Tournées Festival was made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture (CNC).
Enjoy the films!
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