During the month of March, Dr. Chimegsaikhan Banzar, assistant professor of French, is hosting a French Film Festival entitled the Tournées French Film Festival at Grambling State University. Banzar received a grant from French-American Cultural Exchange (FACE) program. The films were selected from the lists provided by the grant providing institution.
She said, “The main purpose of organizing the French Film Festival is to expose our students to the French language, history, culture and social life of modern France and other French-speaking countries.”
Banzar said the festival will allow students to explore and appreciate French and Francophone culture through the seventh art – cinema.
“These recent films offer a fresh insight into the everyday life of North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and France itself,” she said.
Another reason for the festival is to show the audience recent award-winning films of various genres, from historical documentaries to modern dramas that would illustrate the cultural diversity of French-speaking regions.
The festival began with De batter mon cour s’est arte (The Beat That My Heart Skipped). It is a European remake of a 1978 American film called Finger’s.
This crime drama is centered on Thomas Seyr who is trying to decide if he should follow in his thuggish father’s footsteps and pursue a life of crime or pursue his dream of becoming a pianist.
After the viewing of the film, the audience had a chance to discuss the film with a moderator.
The moderator for the first film was Dr. Jim Kim, a humanities professor in the English department.
He said, “The message of the film is don’t waste your life on short-term gain. Live your life so you don’t have to worry who’s behind you or above you.”
Banzar chose Kim because he has been teaching Western culture for many years, and he uses films as a teaching tool.
“I think the discussion he led on The Beat That My Heart Skipped helped students better understand the film from both cognitive and artistic points of view,” said Banzar.
Portland native Michael McGlothan Jr. is a student who attended the festival to learn more about the French culture.
He said that he enjoyed De batter mon cour s’est arte very much and recognized a few words they spoke from what he has learned so far in Banzar’s French I class.
“What I liked about the movie is that it showed the struggle within a person to follow their dreams or to be influenced from the outside.
“Many American stories follow this plot, but it just seemed to be more passionate because the culture over there is different in some aspects when it comes to their lifestyle,” said McGlothan, a senior majoring in criminal justice.
McGlothan said he enjoyed the discussion because some of the things that were discussed made him look back in retrospect and understand some things better after hearing other people’s interpretation of the situations in the movie.
“I learned some of the culture and gained knowledge of how they speak,” he said.
The next two films will be viewed on Tuesday. They are Frantz Fanon: sa vie, son combat, son travail (Frantz Fanon: His Life, His Struggle, His Work) and Le plafond de verre (The Glass Ceiling).
The first one will be moderated by Dr. Rose Harris and the second by Dr. Janet Guyden.
Other films to be viewed and discussed include Bamako, March 19; Daratt, March 26; and Caché. These films will be moderated by Douglas Thomas and Roshunda Belton.