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French Film Festival back for 12th year of free movies

December  19, 2012

Augustana College's French Film Festival is back for the 12th straight year in a shared effort with the Office of Student Activities as part of the Independent and International Film Series.

The French portion of the yearlong series will run on five consecutive Thursdays at 7 p.m., from Jan. 10 to Feb. 7. All films will be screened in Olin Auditorium, are free and open to the public.

The theme of this year's French festival is "The Lighter Side of French Film." Films will be in French with English subtitles.

Films are:

Jan. 10: The Artist. Outside a movie premiere, enthusiastic fan Peppy Miller literally bumps into the swashbuckling hero of the silent film, George Valentin. The star reacts graciously and Peppy plants a kiss on his cheek as they are surrounded by photographers. The headlines demand: "Who's That Girl?" and Peppy is inspired to audition for a dancing bit-part at the studio. However as Peppy slowly rises through the industry, the introduction of talking-pictures turns Valentin's world upside-down. (Academy Award winner for Best Picture, Best Actor, 2012)

Jan. 17: Les émotifs anonymes (Anonymous Romantics). What happens when a man and a woman share a common passion? They fall in love. And this is what happens to Jean-René, the boss of a small chocolate factory, and Angélique, a gifted chocolate maker he has just hired. What occurs when a highly emotional man meets a highly emotional woman? They fall in love, and this is what occurs to Jean-René and Angélique who share the same handicap. But being pathologically timid does not make things easy for them. So whether they will manage to get together, join their solitudes and live happily ever after is a guessing matter. (Cabourg Romantic Film Festival winner for Best Actress, 2011)

Jan. 24: Les femmes du 6ème étage (The Women on the Sixth Floor). In the early 1960s, Jean-Louis Joubert is a serious but uptight stockbroker, married to Suzanne, a starchy class-conscious woman and father of two arrogant teenage boys, currently in a boarding school. The affluent man lives a steady yet boring life. At least until, due to fortuitous circumstances, Maria, the charming new maid at the service of Jean-Louis' family, makes him discover the servants' quarter on the sixth floor of the luxury building he owns and lives in. There lives a crowd of lively Spanish maids who will help Jean-Louis to open to a new civilization and a new approach of life. (Aspen Filmfest runner-up for Audience Award, 2011)

Jan. 31: Les contes de la nuit (Tales of the Night). Six exotic fables are woven together, each unfolding in a unique locale, from Tibet, to medieval Europe, an Aztec kingdom, the African plains and the Land of the Dead. In animator Michel Ocelot's storytelling, history blends with fairytale as viewers are whisked off to enchanted lands full of dragons, werewolves, captive princesses, sorcerers, and enormous talking bees — and each fable ends with its own ironic twist. (Berlin International Film Festival nominee for Golden Bear, 2011)

Feb. 7: Le hérisson (The Hedgehog). Paloma is a serious and highly articulate but bored 11-year-old who has decided to kill herself on her 12th birthday. Fascinated by art and philosophy, she questions and documents her life and immediate circle, drawing trenchant and often hilarious observations on the world around her. But as her appointment with death approaches, Paloma finally meets some kindred spirits in her building's grumpy janitor and an enigmatic, elegant neighbor, both of whom inspire Paloma to question her rather pessimistic outlook on life. (Cairo International Film Festival winner for five awards, including Best Director, 2009)