News Archive

Randolph College Hosts Free French Film Series

9/10/2008 4:47:28 PM

   

LYNCHBURG — Randolph College will host Beur is Beautiful, an innovative six-week film series that explores a distinct, and often overlooked segment of French culture beginning Sept. 8. Admission is free and open to the public.

The groundbreaking program of Maghrebi-French cinema, was organized by ArteEast [www.arteeast.com] and made possible by the Jeanne Morrissette Ramsey ’47 Fund of Randolph College.

The film series features six unique films that showcase the experience and challenges of immigrants and children of immigrants from the North African countries of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria in France.

Curated by Carrie Tarr, the program premiered at ArteEast’s 2007 CinemaEast Film Festival. The term "beur" is a French slang derivation of the word Arabe, and refers to the French-born children of North African (Maghrebi) immigrants who, for the most part, grew up in the concrete wastelands of the low-income housing projects in the working-class suburbs (banlieues) of France.

“There are films in this series that you will not have the chance to see elsewhere,” said Jennifer Gauthier, associate professor of communication. “The films offer a window on a world seldom seen or acknowledged by those of us in the United States. They also introduce us to a whole new kind of filmmaking - one not dependent on the entertainment industry of Hollywood. This set of films is entertaining, yet also makes us think and look at global cultures in a new way.”

The films will be shown from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday nights through Oct. 13. in Leggett 537. For more information contact 947-8142 or Jennifer Gauthier at 947-8501.

Schedule of Films:

Sept. 8 Thé au harem/Tea in the Harem (Mehdi Charef, 1985, 110 minutes)

Based on Charef’s book of the same name, this classic film gave the beur subgenre its name. The film traces a friendship between two teenagers, one Beur and the other white, and the commonalities that unite them despite their differences.

*Reception following the film sponsored by the Alliance Française of Lynchburg.

Sept. 15 Vivre au Paradis/Living in Paradise (Bourlem Guerdjou, 1998, 105 minutes)

Set in France in 1961-1962 during the Algerian War, this film is a thought-provoking examination of the lives of North African immigrants trying to find a place in the social system of Western Europe. The film focuses on Lakhdar, an immigrant construction worker living in the Nanterre shantytown. When he can no longer bear living without his wife and children whom he has left in southern Algeria, he brings them to live with him in France. Once there, Lakhdar’s relationship with his wife deteriorates as she joins with other immigrants in a political movement to resist French oppression while he increasingly begins to identify with French attitudes and lifestyles.

Sept. 22 Where Fig Trees Grow (Yasmina Yahiaoui, 2005, 82 min)

In this congenial ensemble piece, the setting is Rue des Figuiers, a (fig-tree-less) North African neighborhood in Toulon, where women hold sway and fundamentalist puritanism is given short shrift. Djamila is a middle-aged, belly-dancing femme fatale whose long-term lover, the rakish hairdresser Marfouz, finally gives in to the promptings of his family and imports a demure young bride from the Maghreb. This, needless to say, causes uproar among the street's other inhabitants - including a no-nonsense madame, a teenage girl on the run from her own domineering mother, and an eccentric grandmother. Boisterous and bracingly unpious, Yahiaoui's film is a provocatively upbeat broadcast from the female side of Islamic culture.

Sept. 29 Cheb/Flight from Africa (Rachid Bouchareb, 1991, 79 mins.)

The film follows nineteen year-old Merwan, the s



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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations
434-947-8142