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The Tournées Festival, a three-week program of screenings of contemporary French film, from February 4 to 25, 2011

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—In celebration of its sesquicentennial year, Vassar College will host the Tournées Festival, a three-week program of screenings of contemporary French films and post-screening discussions, from February 4 to 25. The films will be screened at 6 p.m. in the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film, Rosenwald Film Theater (room 109), unless otherwise noted. The festival is free and open to the public and seats for the screenings will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. This event is sponsored by the Department of French and Francophone Studies and co-sponsored by the departments of Film and Dance and the programs of International Studies and Women’s Studies. For more information please contact Mary Lou Keenan at or 845-437-5720 or visit

Schedule of Films

Friday, February 4
(The Silence of Lorna) (2007)

Dirs. Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne
Followed by the Opening Reception

Presented by Patricia Célérier (Associate Professor, French and Francophone Studies)

The films of the Dardenne brothers are unrivaled in their realist, deeply humane focus on how those who exist on the margins of society face enormous moral decisions in their struggle for more stable lives in a global economy. This film, winner of the Best Screenplay Award at Cannes in 2008, centers around Lorna, an Albanian immigrant living in Liège, Belgium, with heroin addict Claudy. They have a sham marriage and Lorna dreams of opening up a café with her boyfriend. Then one day, she decides to execute the gruesome plans of the mobster who arranged their marriage. Lorna, like all of the Dardennes’ protagonists, isn’t a one-dimensional emblem of suffering, but a multifaceted character.

Friday, February 11

LA BELLE PERSONNE (The Beautiful Person) (2008)
Dir. Christophe Honoré

Presented by Thomas Parker (Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, French and Francophone Studies)

Loosely based on La Princesse de Clèves, Madame de Lafayette’s 1678 novel about forbidden passions and unrequited love among the aristocracy, Christophe Honoré’s pleasingly tart La Belle Personne plays like a Gallic Gossip Girl. Honoré’s wry look at teenage lust and bad adult behavior, filled with dark love songs by Nick Drake, is a pitch-perfect exercise in mood and style, completely besotted with the beauty of its comely cast.

Saturday, February 12

5 p.m.
(The Dance: The Paris Opera Ballet) (2009)
Dir. Frederick Wiseman

Presented by John Meehan (Professor, Dance)

Frederick Wiseman’s magnificent film offers a portrait of suppleness and agility—not just that of the dancers’ bodies but also of the august institution of the title. Like all of Wiseman’s documentaries, La Danse forgoes voice-over and identifying intertitles, allowing for spectators’ full immersion into the action within the walls of the Palais Garnier, the ninteenth-century, neo-Baroque opera house where the company rehearses and performs.

Friday, February 18

WELCOME (2008)

Dir. Philippe Lioret
Presented by Zachariah Mampilly (Assistant Professor of Political Science)

Both a study of a budding friendship and a compassionate look at the perils faced by illegal immigrants, Philippe Lioret’s Welcome centers on Bilal, a 17-year-old Iraqi Kurd who is stuck in Calais, in Northern France, and Simon, a recently divorced swimming teacher. Desperate to join his girlfriend in London, Bilal vows to swim across the English Channel if he has to, setting the stage for his meeting with Simon. Unmistakably a condemnation of xenophobia in  France, Welcome also features richly drawn, fully fleshed-out lead characters.

Friday, February 25

35 RHUMS (35 Shots of Rum) (2008)
Dir. Claire Denis
Followed by the Closing Reception

Presented by Elisabeth Cardonne-Arlyck (Professor Emerita, French and Francophone Studies)

Films about families and their complications all too often pierce eardrums with shrieks of  dysfunction. Amid the din, Claire Denis’s sublime 35 Rhums stands out all the more for its soothing quiet, conveying the easy, frequently nonverbal intimacy between a widowed father and his university-student daughter.

The Tournées Festival is a program of French American Cultural Exchange (FACE) that aims to bring contemporary French cinema to American college and university campuses. The program distributes over $200,000 in grants annually to encourage schools to begin their own self-sustaining French film festivals. Now in its 15th year, The Tournées Festival has partnered with more than 300 universities, making it possible for more than 450,000 students to discover French-language films.

The Tournées Festival is made possible with the generous support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture (CNC), The Florence Gould Foundation, the Grand Marnier Foundation and highbrow entertainment, and the Office of the Dean of Faculty at Vassar College.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Saturday, January 15, 2011