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Tournées festival brings French films to Beloit Community

Originally published in the September 23rd Edition of the Round Table

This week begins the second half of the Tournées Film Festival, a four week-long event featuring two French and francophone films each week, hosted by Beloit College and open to the community. Given its classically French name, many may not anticipate the unique approach Beloit’s Tournées festival takes to French and francophone cinema. A true smorgasbord of films in regard to content, genre, and directorship, the Tournées festival could provide a glimpse into the breadth and wealth of French cinema often otherwise not afforded to communities like Beloit. 

The Tournées Film Festival is a project supported jointly by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and FACE, an organization established to support French-American cultural exchanges. Together, they provide funding for numerous institutions to hold their own Tournées Film Festival. This year, Beloit College is one of slightly over fifty institutions in the United States to receive a grant allowing them to host a Tournées Film Festival. Securing it for Beloit was a collaborative effort led by Dr. Joseph Derosier, assistant professor of French Language and Culture at Beloit College. The grant approval yielded enough funds to show six films. In order to extend the festivals run by a week and add two additional films, multiple other departments at the college contributed financially. The contributions from other departments, Dr. Derosier stressed during an interview, was an essential part to ensuring not only the number but also the range of films shown in terms of production value. 

Beloit’s Tournées festival isn’t only interdisciplinary in terms of its funding: the range of films chosen also provides opportunities for a plethora of interdisciplinary connections to be made. Each week, the two films showcased are united by a common theme. The festival started off by exploring women and religion in French cinema with Jeannette, l’enfance de jeanne d’arc (2017) and La Religeuse (1966). The second week left continental France to focus on Kinshasa as its theme with two recent releases presented: Felicité (2017) and Kinshasa Makambo (2018 ). This week, the films take a look at dystopian futures through two dramatically different stories. Twenty-sixteen release Nocturama will show this Thursday at 7:00pm. Directed by Bertrand Bonello, Nocturama follows a group of young adults attempting to commit an act of terror in Paris and the chaos that ensues. The second film this week, playing on Sunday at 2:00pm, is High Life by French director Claire Denis. It’s a film that Dr. Derosier is really excited to be able to bring to Beloit, and it is also the only film in English to be included in Beloit’s Tournées Film Festival. The festival will end with two twenty-seventeen films exploring queer identities through French cinematography. The first of the two, Wild Boys by Bertrand Mandico, Derosier describes as a “sureal, nautical, bizarre, hard-to-describe, gender-bending fantasy flick.” The second film chosen is the Cannes Grand Prix winning film 120 BPM by Robin Campillo, which tells the critical story of the AIDS crisis in Paris and activists ‘strides to save lives during it. 

Although the first four of these films have already completed their run in Beloit, the second half of the Beloit Tournées Film Festival will continue to provide members of the Beloit community with opportunities for new inquiries and understanding of French cinema for another two weeks. They will be shown on Thursdays at 7:00pm and Sundays at 2:00pm respectively, and all screenings take place in the film room of Beloit College’s Hendricks Center in downtown Beloit. For more information, interested patrons can go to Beloit College’s event calendar or the Beloit Tournées Film Festival Facebook page.

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