Arts and Entertainment

The French Film Festival Is Back


Thanks to English subtitles, even if you don’t speak French, the Tournées French Film Festival, held at UCBA for the past three years, is a fun, relaxed opportunity. And it’s free. Come to the Muntz auditorium from 7-9 pm on Thursday evenings for six weeks, beginning September 27.

Each festival tries to bring in new and unique films, and this year is no different. Below are the films that will be showing this year, with more information available on the UCBA website and on the Cincinnati Film Society Website.

Sept 27 features Un Beau Soleil Intérieur/Let the Sunshine In
With Guest Speaker, Prof. Matt Bennett from the University of Cincinnati- Blue Ash

 Oct 4 features L’Atelier/The Workshop
With Guest Speaker, Dr Michael Gott, from the University of Cincinnati-Clifton

Oct 18 features Le Grand Méchant Renard et Autres Contes/The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales 
With Guest Speaker, Dr Evan Torner from the University of Cincinnati-Clifton

Oct 25 features Visages, Villages/Faces, Places
With Guest Speaker, Dr Gisèle-Loriot-Raymer from Northern Kentucky University

Nov 1 features Le Crime de Monsieur Lange/The Crime of Monsieur Lange
With Guest Speaker, Dr Matt Norman from the University of Cincinnati-Blue Ash

Nov 8 features Les Fantômes d’Ismaël/The Ghosts of Ismaêl
With Guest Speaker, Dr John Alberti from Northern Kentucky University

It is a festival among many events throughout the year, including the new Latinx Film Festival. Every year the festival brings in often unique and enjoyable films. This year it will be taking residence in the Muntz auditorium.

It is an opportunity to view the works of both new and old filmmakers in appreciation of French culture and style. And the event is open to anyone interested.  Viewer discretion is advised for some of these films, though, so be prepared if you intend to bring the whole family.

IMG_2598 The first evening had refreshments in celebration of opening night,  and each showing will have a guest speaker to discuss the film before and after. Discussions can cover anything from the “meaning” of the film and the techniques the filmmakers used to get their points across, to who people’s favorite characters were and so on. The discussions are supposed to be open and relaxed so that everyone can have a voice and participate.  There’s no pressure to be a professional film critique here.

Designed to be a fun and relaxed opportunity to learn about French films and culture, as well as an opportunity to enjoy a little free entertainment. However, it is important to note that the Tournées French Film Festival won’t be around forever. Next year (Fall 2019) will be the last year that UCBA will be able to host the festival, with the following waiting period of five more years so those interested may want to catch it this year just to be safe.

The festival would not be possible without the enthusiastic faculty, including Professor Jody Ballah who is the head of the festival, who is responsible for bring the festival to UCBA. IMG_2604

She and her committee of colleagues are the ones who choose the films for the festival as well. They are presented with 15-18 films of different genres which they then vote on based on preference and style. The favourites of each voter are taken into account, but the main goal is to get a variety of genres out to the public so that more people are able to enjoy the experience. Usually, five of the films are contemporary and the last one is a classic.

It’s also cool to note that some of the films being shown here were actually shown in theatres in French-speaking areas, while the others have never seen a big screen. The whole event takes a lot of work, but Ballah loves sharing French culture and getting it out to people who may not have ever experienced it before. As a French professor, she also thinks the festival is a wonderful way to give French culture a bigger spotlight in general, as it’s usually not as popular as others.

While professor Ballah plays a huge part in the Tournées French Film Festival, there are others who contribute to the event. These contributors include the Cincinnati Film Society in partnership with the French American Cultural Exchange (FACE), the Centre National de la Cinematographie et de I’lmage Animee, SACEM’s French American Cultural Fund, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.


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About Allison Tyre

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