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French-African Film Festival
September 8, 2005

The French Department at Calvin College is taking a long-standing program of using film with its students and expanding the effort thanks to a grant from Tournées.

This fall the department and the Calvin Film Forum will team up to show five films in 15 days (see below for schedule), all of which have a specific French-African focus and all of which are in French with English subtitles. All will be shown at 7:30 p.m. in the Bytwerk Video Theater at Calvin and are free and open to the public.

Calvin French professor Jolene Vos-Camy says the upcoming film series is significant in several ways.

"Through a festival focusing on French-African films," she says, "we will provide a strong background to Calvin College courses in French and in other departments that are tied to African and African Diaspora culture. At the same time we hope we are honoring Calvin College's commitment to providing opportunities for cross-cultural engagement and the promotion of racial justice and reconciliation."

She says the festival will highlight the rich ethnic and aesthetic diversity of French-African film-making and credits Tournées for making the series possible.

"Because of distribution costs we have not been able to hold a public festival," she says. "With the support of the grant we will open up our screenings to the entire Calvin College student body as well as viewers from other colleges and the broader Grand Rapids community."

Tournées was launched in 1995 to encourage the distribution and viewing of contemporary French films at educational institutions. In collaboration with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Centre National de la Cinématographie, the Florence Gould Foundation and the French-American Cultural Fund, FACE Council supports French film festivals and screenings on over 50 college campuses across the country each year.

French-African Film Festival at Calvin

  • September 15 - Le Grand Voyage (France/Morocco, 2004) - A few weeks before his high school final exam, Réda, a young man who lives in the south of France, is chosen to drive his aging father to Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the traditional pilgrimage.
  • September 16 - The Hop (Belgium, 2000) - Justin and his father Dieudonné are illegal African immigrants living in Brussels. In The Hop, director Dominique Standaert treats the subject of childhood and immigrant life with great humor, alternating tragic situations with comic details.
  • September 22 - Raja (France/Morocco 2003) - Frederic, a rich Frenchman who lives an idle life in contemporary Marrakech, tries to seduce Raja, one of his young servants, and ends up falling in love with her.
  • September 23 - Inch'Allah Dimanche (France/Algeria, 2001) - Yamina Benguigui, director of the documentaries Women of Islam and Immigrant Memories, fashions a poignant, often humorous portrait of an Arab woman's initiation into French provincial life in the mid-1970s.
  • September 30 - Abouna (France/Chad, 2002) - In N'Djamena, the dry, dusty capital of Chad, two boys are abandoned by their father, an event quite common in this poor country.