Moviegoers will have the opportunity to broaden their cultural horizons this weekend and next at George Fox University’s first French film festival.
The university will screen four French films in a collaborative effort by the French and cinema media communications departments, made possible through a renewable grant from the French American Cultural Exchange (FACE).
“It’s a great opportunity for our students and for community members to get to see some French films they wouldn’t usually see,” said GFU media communication professor Matt Meyer. “Newberg doesn’t have a lot of foreign films.”
“This is something we have talked about doing for quite some time,” said Sylvette Norré, head of GFU’s French department.
“A Town Called Panic” will show at 7 p.m. Friday; “Welcome” and “Daratt” will be unveiled at 6:30 and 8 p.m., respectively, on Saturday; “Coco Before Chanel” will be on the screen at 6 p.m. Oct. 30 and “Paris, Je T’Aime” will be 8:30 p.m. Oct. 30.
The films cover a broad range of topics and styles. “A Town Called Panic” is a stop-motion animated movie featuring a horse, a cowboy and an Indian — “kind of a cross between ‘Wallace & Gromit’ meets ‘Monty Python,’” Meyers said. Saturday’s films are political, the first about illegal immigration and the second about war and revenge in the African country of Chad.
The Oct. 30 films are “more mainstream,” Meyers said. The first is about fashion icon Coco Chanel, with Audrey Tautou in the title role; the second a series of short films about love and relationships, featuring directors Joel and Ethan Coen and Wes Craven and actors Natalie Portman, Elijah Wood and Catherine Deneuve.
There will be optional talk-back sessions after the films.
“I believe that movies from Francophone countries will offer all of us a look not only at what life is like in Calais or N’Djaména, but also help us see how life can quite possibly be viewed differently,” Norré said. “This is what we do in our French language program when we learn how to communicate appropriately in French in different contexts, and when we learn about practices and perspectives.”
“The main goal is to get people to see films they wouldn’t normally see,” Meyer said. “It should be very accessible. Even if people are afraid of subtitles, they should come.”
GFU’s French and cinema programs joined forces to launch the school’s version of The Tournées Festival, a program of FACE, a New York-based nonprofit that furthers French-American relations through arts and education projects. The program aims to bring contemporary French cinema to American college campuses by giving grants to help schools start self-sustaining French film festivals.
GFU hopes to make the festival an annual event.
The films will be shown in Room 102 of GFU’s Edwards-Holman Science Center. Cost is $3 per movie or $9 for a pass to all. Tickets can be purchased by calling Valerie Rogers at 503-554-2670. Desserts — French pastries, as well as baklava for the films with Middle Eastern themes — will be available, made by Terrie Boehr of the family and consumer science department.