The 20th Annual Festival of Films in French

The 20th Annual UWM Festival of Films in French:  February 17-26

To mark the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Festival of Films in French, the UWM French program is proud to be screening a special selection of 20 films. Tributes to cinema open and close the festival (Voyage à travers le cinéma, a wide-ranging yet very personal documentary by veteran director Bertrand Tavernier and Arrête ton cinéma, a comedy by Diane Kurys, offering an insider’s view of the film-making business). Journeys through time and space comprise the central theme of this year’s festival, obeying the Baudelairian injunction of Germaine Dulac’s impressionist silent film L’invitation au voyage. Many films showcase stories from far-flung places, ranging from Senegal (Touki Bouki) to Haiti (L’homme sur les quais) to Cambodia (Le sommeil d’or) to Quebec (Corbo and Mommy) to the Indian Ocean (L’opéra du bout du monde) to Morocco (L’orchestre de minuit) and to Iran (Poulet aux prunes). Questions of migration and immigration, of integration, friendship and acceptance, are explored in La cour de Babel, D’une pierre deux coups, Dans la cour and Mon amie Victoria among others.  Two films portray how treacherous travel can become in times of political upheaval (World War II in Belle et Sébastien: l’aventure continue and the Algerian War of Independence in Loin des hommes). In this year’s classic film Lola, New Wave director Jacques Demy shows how, although distance makes the heart grow fonder, the reuniting of lovers is always subject to the vagaries of fate. Finally, our planet itself is the star of the documentary Demain, a U.S. Premiere, which offers a hopeful horizon for its survival.