Famous Quebec filmmaker coming to Francophone Fest
March 9, 2007
KALAMAZOO--Renowned Quebec film director Robert Favreau is coming to Western Michigan University to introduce his latest creation as part of the sixth annual Francophone Film Festival, running Wednesday through Sunday, March 14-18, in WMU's Little Theatre.
Favreau will present his film, "A Sunday in Kigali" at 7 p.m. Friday, March 16. Since the 1970s, he has written and directed close to 30 productions for television or cinema.
Among Favreau's feature films are "Portion d'eternite." 1989; "Trois Femmes, un Amour," 1993, which was nominated for a Genie award for best director; and "Les Muses orphelines," 2000, which earned four Genie nominations and six Jutra awards.
"A Sunday in Kigali" is among six international award-winning feature films being presented in the Little Theatre, which is located on the corner of Oakland Drive and Oliver Street. In addition to Quebec, films this year come from Senegal, Morroco, Burkina Faso, Lebanon, France, Belgium and other countries. All of the films have English subtitles. As in previous years, this year's festival also will include a screening and competition of several short films.
General admission is $8 per film and $5 for students with ID.
Passes for the whole festival are $18 for students and $40 for the general public.
For detailed film descriptions and screening times: www.wmich.edu/fffkazoo.
The festival is one of only a few of its kind in the world. It is dedicated to the presentation of original creative cinema from the Francophone world, focusing on North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Quebec and the French Caribbean. The festival represents a unique venue for independent films that are not distributed in the United States, including the works of some of the best foreign filmmakers in the world.
"As always, we have some wonderful films this year," says Dr. Vincent Desroches, WMU associate professor of foreign languages and the festival's organizer. "It's a great chance to see some very wonderful and extremely rare films."
New this year will be a scholarly conference on Friday, March 16, titled "Francophonie en Images." The conference will address the topic of the Francophone films in the classroom. That evening also has been designated "Canada Night." Canadian Consul Robert Noble will attend the festival and make a brief statement.
Francophone Film Festival Feature Films
"Moolaade" by Ousmane Sembene, 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17, and 7 p.m. Sunday, March 18. Winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at the Cannes Film Festival. African cinema's founding father, Ousmane Sembene, uses his last film to speak out against the still common African practice of female circumcision. Colle is the only individual in her village to rebel against the ancient tradition of female circumcision. She had earlier refused to allow her daughter to be circumcised; now she protects four village girls by taking them into her home. To protect them, she calls upon the Moolaade, an ancient spell that prevents anyone from harming the girls as long as they are on her property. Thus Colle combats one ancient tradition with another while actually striving to progress.
"Tideline" (Littoral) by Wadji Maouwad, 9:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15 and Friday, March 16. Wahab, a young man born in Montreal, decides to bury his deceased father in the man's native Lebanon. In Lebanon, along with a few friends, all of whom dream of a better life, Wahab confronts a country scarred by war where an additional corpse is one too many. The young Montrealer then embarks on an unexpected journey with a body that takes up too much space.
"Night of Truth" (La nuit de la vérite) by Regina Fanta Nacro, 7 p.m. Saturday, March 17, winner of the "Grand Prix" of the Fespaco and Vues d'Afrique films festivals. Mirroring the political strife and genocide in contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa, this film opens as preparations are being made to end a decade of civil war in a fictitious country. A peace agreement is about to be signed and celebrated in a night of reconciliation with a "laying down of arms". As the powerful drumming begins, both rebels and government forces gather, bringing with them years of rage, grief, hope, suspicion and bitterness. In this first feature film, Fanta Régina Nacro presents the sometimes unintentional but inhuman behavior inherent in all people.
"Bosta" by Philippe Aractingi, 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, and 7 p.m. Thursday, March 15. Bosta (the Autobus) is set in Lebanon with some of the most popular actors, dancers, and choreographers in the Arab world. It is the first post-war Lebanese musical with contemporary Middle Eastern and, more precisely, Lebanese rhythms, such as the Dabke dance, which is at the foreground of the Lebanese national folklore. The film deals with contemporary Lebanese society in a creative way and offers a positive outlook apart from the stereotypical image of war and terrorism.
"A Sunday in Kigali" by Robert Favreau, 7 p.m. Friday, March 16, presented by the filmmaker, and 4 p.m. Sunday, March 18. Nominated for the Genie and Jutra awards. Bernard Valcourt is a disillusioned journalist living in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. He is there to make a film on AIDS while all around him the racial tensions between the Tutsis and Hutus grow. At the Hôtel Des Mille Collines, headquarters for the Western expatriates, he finds a source of inspiration in Gentille, a shy and beautiful waitress. The attraction is mutual, but the first steps hesitant. They're so different: she, so young, he so white. When the violence erupts, Bernard and Gentille are brutally separated. A few months later, with nearly a million Rwandans massacred, Valcourt returns to Kigali, looking desperately for the woman he loves. Between the beauty of the love story and the horror of the genocide, "Un dimanche a Kigali" depicts the best and the worst of humanity.
"The Sleeping Child" by Yasmine Kassari, 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, and 4 p.m. Saturday, March 17, award winner for the Best European Film in the Mostra of Venice. A day after their wedding in the countryside of northeastern Morocco, a young bride, Zeinab, is left alone by her husband as he joins his countrymen to work clandestinely in Europe. Zeinab discovers that she is pregnant. Not wanting her baby to be born before her husband's return, she prolongs her pregnancy. Time passes. Her husband does not return.
"Me and My Sister" (out of competition). The festival concludes with an awards ceremony and screening of the out-of-competition film "Me and My Sister" with Isabelle Huppert. Louise comes to live with her sister, Martine, in Paris for three days. During her stay, Louise and her obvious happiness exasperate Martine.
The Francophone Film Festival is supported by Western Michigan University and by the Alliance Francaise of Kalamazoo and the governments of Quebec and Canada. The festival is presented in collaboration with the Kalamazoo Film Society.
Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, email@example.com