LAUREN MICHALEC ’17
This weekend commences the 16th annual “April in Paris” film festival that celebrates and explores the cinema of filmmakers with works in the French language. The event was kickstarted by Professors Karen Humphreys and Sonia Lee of the Trinity College Department of Language and Cultural Studies, in conjunction with Cinestudio directors, Peter McMorris and James Hanley. The intention of the festival is to offer the Hartford community an annual event in celebration of cinematography that features the French language. The festival explores a wide range of filmmakers from a variety of different French-speaking regions and countries, such as Africa, French Canada, and the Caribbean.
The festival coincides with a half–credit College Course, COLL 151, offered each spring in conjunction with the festival. The course provides students interested in film studies the opportunity to broaden their horizons with recent and classic films that appeal to both film history as well as cinema studies. This year’s theme is “The Portrait of the Artist/ Portrait de l’Artiste”. The thematic focus allows students and spectators to sharpen their understanding of cinema as a visual language, which varies depending on the director, time period, location, and other contributing factors.
The festival kicks off Sunday, April 3rd at 2:30pm, with L’inhumaine (1924) (The Inhuman Women), a classic silent film by Marcel L’Herbier with musical accompaniment by pianist Patrick Miller of the Hartt School of Music. The film features an opera singer that charms others with her singing. Following at 7:30pm is Eric Rohmer’s, La Collectionneuse (1967), which explores a relationship between a womanizing art collector and a painter both on vacation on the Riviera. The couple find themselves questioning if their previously established norms of love and erotic experiences are art, as they examine a mysterious womAn also staying at their resort that brings home different lovers every night.
The festival transitions to the workweek with a showing of Guillaume Nicloux’s L’evlèvement de Michel Houellebecq (2014), a story based on a false rumor that real-life French author Michel Houellebecq was kidnapped, and then for academic discussion by his captors while waiting for his ransom.
Tuesday features Dans la Maison (2012), a modern psychological twist on a coming of age story, focused around a sixteen-year-old student’s obsession with the idea of the “perfect family”.
Wednesday’s film will be a French documentary Parce Que Jétais Peintre (Because I was a painter) (2014), The film is about the paintings and drawings created by the prisoners of Nazi concentration camps, embarking on a thematic exploration of making art in places and times of horror.
Thursday’s film will be Abus de Faiblesse (2013) directed by Catherine Breillat. The film follows a semi-autobiographical story about a filmmaker recently recovered from a stroke, who hires a rapper to star in her next movie. Tensions escalate when she suspects inauthenticity on the rapper’s behalf.
Friday’s film will be La Grotte des Rêves Perdus ( The Cave of Forgotten Dreams) (2011). Director Werner Herzog goes on a quest to explore the oldest visual artwork known to have been created by humans, in the Chauvet Cave in southeastern France. The thematic focus is inspired by Herzog’s desire to find the moment of mankind’s first creative impulse.
The festival wraps up Saturday with showings of Chantal Ackerman’s, Un Jou Pina M’a Demandé (One Day Pina Asked Me) (1983) and Sembene! (2015) directed by Samba Gadjigo and Joel Silverman, respectively.
In between, there will be a wine and cheese reception at 7pm, before the screening of Sembene!. All films will take place at Trinity College’s Cinestudio. All weekday films will be shown at 7:30pm. For more information, visit aprilinparis.org.
LAUREN MICHALEC ’17