March 22, 2010

Tournées Festival of Contemporary French Cinema debuts at Homewood

Wednesday, March 24, marks the beginning of the first Tournées Festival of Contemporary French Cinema at Johns Hopkins. The festival, to be held over two weeks on the Homewood campus, will be launched with a screening of The Class (Entre les murs), Laurent Cantet’s cinéma vérité–style story about a junior high school in a tough Paris neighborhood, which won the grand prize at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with students from Baltimore public high schools; Jason Hartling, principal of Northwestern High School; Edmund Mitzel, principal of Pikesville High School; Matt Porterfield, a director and Johns Hopkins faculty member, whose film Putty Hill just premiered at the Berlin Film Festival; and Kristin Cook-Gailloud, director of the university’s French language program. The panel will be led by Bernadette Wegenstein, a documentary filmmaker and faculty member at Johns Hopkins.

The festival’s first week continues on Thursday with Barbet Schroeder’s Terror’s Advocate, an award-winning documentary about Jacques Vergès, a controversial lawyer and hero of the French Resistance—married to a heroine of the struggle for Algerian independence—who defended the Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie. On Friday, Les Témoins (The Witnesses), André Techiné’s fictional account of the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic in 1980s France, with Michel Blanc, Emmanuelle Béart and Julie Depardieu, will be shown.

The second week of the festival will feature Cheik Djemai’s Frantz Fanon: His Life, His Struggle, His Work and The Beaches of Agnès, the acclaimed autobiographical documentary by Agnès Varda, the mythic grandmother of the New Wave. The festival will culminate with the screening of the rarely seen director’s cut of Pascale Ferran’s Lady Chatterley.

All films will be in French with English subtitles; see sidebar for times and locations. The Tournées Festival was made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture.