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French Film Festival

2013 9th annual

"Bridging Cultures"

All films are subtitled in English, and will be shown in The Bytwerk Theater on the campus of Calvin College in the DeVos Communication Center. Free admission. For more information call (616) 526-6361.
Sponsored by the Calvin French Department and the Calvin Film Forum.

by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano (2011)
Tuesday, September 10 at 7:30 p.m.

In Paris, the aristocratic and intellectual Philippe is a quadriplegic millionaire who is interviewing candidates for the position of his carer, with his red-haired secretary Magalie. Out of the blue, the rude African Driss cuts the line of candidates and brings a document from the Social Security and asks Phillipe to sign it to prove that he is seeking a job position so he can receive his unemployment benefit. Philippe challenges Driss, offering him a trial period of one month to gain experience helping him. Then Driss can decide whether he would like to stay with him or not. Driss accepts the challenge and moves to the mansion, changing the boring life of Phillipe and his employees.

Rated R. Running time: 112 min.

by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette (2012)
Thursday, September 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Chloe is a young Canadian doctor who divides her time between Ramallah, where she works with the Red Crescent, and Jerusalem, where she lives next door to her friend Ava, a young Israeli soldier. Increasingly sensitive to the conflict, Chloe goes daily through the checkpoint between the two cities to get to the refugee camp where she monitors the pregnancies of young women. As she becomes friends with Rand, one of her patients, Chloe learns more about life in the occupied territories and gets to spend some time with Rand's family. Torn between the two sides of the conflict, Chloe tries as best she can to build bridges between her friends but suffers from remaining a perpetual foreigner to both sides. Following up her acclaimed debut-feature Le ring, filmmaker Anais Barbeau-Lavalette delivers with Inch'Allah the moving tale a young woman's encounter with war and its everyday life. Avoiding any political agenda, Chloe's story questions how one can internalize a foreign conflict without incurring any scars of their own.

Rated R. Running time: 102 min.

by Michael Haneke (2012)
Thursday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m.

A staggering, profound examination of love, Michael Haneke’s compassionate film centers on Georges and Anne, long-married octogenarians and retired music teachers who still take great delight in each other. Their bonds will be tested, however, as Anne grows increasingly debilitated, both mentally and physically. In depicting what has rarely been shown onscreen before—two elderly people struggling to maintain their dignity in the face of the unremitting cruelties of aging—Haneke brilliantly shows that the greatest crucible of life’s final chapter is figuring out how to best honor the past. Never sentimentalizing his two main characters, Haneke nonetheless portrays them tenderly; viewers grow deeply attached to Georges and Anne thanks to the astonishing performances by Trintignant and Riva. Both actors are legends of French cinema: he is best known for Eric Rohmer’s My Night at Maud’s (1969), and she for Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959). Watching these two icons, we are reminded of nothing less than our own mortality—and our own past and present relationships.

Rated PG-13 . Running time: 127 min.

Le gamin au vélo (The Kid with a Bike)
by Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (2011)
Friday, September 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s sublime tale of love and redemption begins with an 11-year-old boy in frantic, desperate motion. Refusing to acknowledge that he’s been abandoned by his father, Cyril escapes the children’s home where he’s been living, hoping to be reunited with his dad—and to find his lost bicycle. He returns to the apartment complex where they once lived, only to find a deserted flat. As the authorities from the children’s home catch up with him and try to bring him back, Cyril, refusing to return, tightly grips a total stranger, a kind, patient woman named Samantha, who will prove to be the heartbroken boy’s savior. Samantha becomes the parent that Cyril so desperately needs, one who will soothe him during his rages and help him cope with the devastating news that his father never wants to see him again.

Rated PG-13. Running time: 87 min.