French Film Festival at CSU Dominguez Hills Entertains, Explores Historical Themes
The French American Cultural Exchange (FACE) Tournées Festival of French Films at California State University, Dominguez Hills began April 8 and continues through April 19, exploring the historical connections between colonization and immigration.
Assistant professor of history Laura Talamante, who applied for the FACE grant and organized the festival, describes the event as “an interdisciplinary collaboration and a festival atmosphere with educational opportunity, more than a screening of foreign films.” A newcomer to campus as of last fall, she was able to enlist the aid of her colleagues from across the campus, who helped provide everything from fliers to student volunteers to African dancers.
“It’s been a great introduction to the campus because I’ve met so many wonderful people who are bringing [the festival] to life,” she says. “I met more people than I would have as a new person to campus and everybody is excited about it.”
As Talamante selected the films to be screened from the Tournées list of offerings, she focused on themes of historical significance, mainly in relation to the legacy of French colonialism and its legacy, from geographical and historical to contemporary perspectives. Later, she realized that a secondary theme of immigration emerged from the assortment she chose.
“France has very similar questions regarding immigration as the United States,” Talamante notes. “Many debates are happening on a national scale in both countries. In part, this has to do with borders, imperialism and expansion of borders in the 19th century. After WWII [there are issues of] de-colonization and the fight for independence, creating a growing need to address questions of discrimination against outsider groups like many who come from North Africa into France and in the United States, over the southern borders from Mexico.”
The Tournées Festival at CSU Dominguez Hills started this week with a screening of "Indigènes" ("Days of Glory"), a film about World War II and immigrant soldiers fighting for France, on Tuesday and "Monsieur Ibrahim," about the relationship between a Jewish boy and a Muslim man in the changing cultural landscape of Paris in the 1960s, on Wednesday. The festival continues next week with "S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine," on Tuesday, April 15; "Le Plafond de Verre" ("The Glass Ceiling"), Thursday, April 17, and "Paris Je T’aime," Saturday, April 19. Film discussions and related events will accompany each screening, which is free to attend.
With a mission to promote French-American relations through the arts and cultural programs, FACE created the Tournées Festival in 1995 to expose American students to contemporary French films, especially those with limited distribution. CSU Dominguez Hills was one of only 108 institutions nationwide, including Puerto Rico, that the nonprofit FACE selected to host a Tournées Festival this year.
All screenings will take place in the evenings in the Loker Student Union on campus, except "Paris Je T’aime," which overlaps with the “Day at Dominguez” university open house on April 19, and will be shown in the auditorium in La Corte Hall, A-103.
Grants for universities to host Tournées Festivals are made possible with the support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Centre National de la Cinématographie, the Grand Marnier Foundation, the Florence Gould Foundation, the Franco-American Cultural Fund (with SACEM, the Writers Guild of America, the Directors Guild of America and the Motion Picture Association), Highbrow Entertainment and Agnès B.
The Tournées Festival of French Films at CSU Dominguez Hills is sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta, the Multicultural Center, Toro Productions, the College of Arts and Humanities, Africana Studies, the Department of Modern Languages, the Anthropology Department, the Marilyn Garber Fund, the Division of World Cultural Studies, the Office of Community Service Learning, Events and Planning, Sigma Lambda Gamma, and the Department of Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding.
For information about the Tournées Festival at CSU Dominguez Hills, visit cah.csudh.edu/history/filmfestival.
For more information about FACE and the Tournées Festival, visit www.facecouncil.org.
Remaining Schedule for the 2008 CSUDH Tournées Festival of French Films
Thursday, April 17: "Le Plafond de Verre" ("The Glass Ceiling")
Doors open at 6:30 p.m., film begins at 7 p.m.
Director Yamina Benguigui examines the integration in France of immigrants in the workplace and provides moving testimonies of qualified students who, because of their obviously foreign last names, were not called back for job interviews. The documentary also includes interviews with experts who discuss the reasons behind discrimination, which include France's colonial past as well as deeply entrenched corporate practices, and the difficulty that individuals of foreign origins face.
Dr. Laura Talamante, History Department, will introduce the film. A panel discussion on the film’s theme of invisible barriers in society will be held immediately afterward. Panelists include Dr. Clare Weber, Sociology Department, and Ivonne L. Heinze-Balcazar, program coordinator, Women’s Studies Program.
Saturday, April 19: "Paris Je T’aime"
Doors open at 2:00 p.m., film begins at 2:15 p.m.
In 18 short films representing 18 of the 20 Paris arrondissements (neighborhoods), an international cavalcade of directors tells the story of Paris, including Gus Van Sant, Alfonso Cuarón and Joel and Ethan Coen. The cast includes Juliette Binoche, Elijah Wood, Fanny Ardant, Gérard Depardieu, and Bob Hoskins.
Carole Desgroppes-Brown, program coordinator, Toro Productions, will introduce the film and its sponsorship as part of Unity Fest and Day at Dominguez.
- Amy Bentley-Smith and Joanie Harmon
Photo above: Assistant professor of history Laura Talamante (far left) gathered her colleagues together to present discussions at the Tournées Festival of French Films on the CSUDH campus.
L-R: Hamoud Salhi, assistant professor of political science, Kate Fawver, assistant professor of history and chair, Academic Senate, and Munashe Furusa, associate professor, Africana studies. Photo by Joanie Harmon