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French Film Festival Begins March 4 at Washington and Lee University

The department of Romance languages at Washington and Lee University will show five recent French films in the Stackhouse Theater of the Elrod Commons at 7 p.m. on the Tuesdays and Thursdays from March 4 to March 18.

These films are being shown thanks to a grant from the French American Cultural Exchange and an additional grant from the dean of the college at W&L. The films show a broad range of styles and subject matter.

The films, which are free and open to the public, are all in French, with English subtitles.

Thursday, March 4 – Romance of Astrea and Celadon (2006). Legendary director Eric Rohmer adapted this movie from Honoré d’Urfé’s 17th-century novel, a romance set among the charming young shepherds and shepherdesses-as well as the nymphs, fairies and druids-that dwell among them in 5th-century Gaul.

Tuesday, March 9 – Being Jewish in France (2007). Yves Jeuland’s sweeping documentary explores the rich and complex history of Jews in France-the first country to grant Jews citizenship.

Thursday, March 11 – Dreams of Dust (2006). Director Laurent Salgues gives a taut portrait of a Nigerian peasant who lost his entire family in a terrible accident and tries to rebuild his life. He looks for work at a gold mine to forget his past and is introduced to a small community of miners.

Tuesday, March 16 – The Last Mistress (2007). The film gives a portrayal of a betrothed couple, the woman a “gem of the French aristocracy.” Some whisper that the young man will never break off his passionate love affair. France’s foremost provocatrice, Catherine Breillat, continues to surprise as she pursues her career-long interest in the ramifications of female desire.

Thursday, March 18 – The Secret of the Grain (2007). This stunning film by Abdel Kéchiche takes place in the Southern French city of Sète where the job of the patriarch of a large and vivacious North African family is suddenly no longer secure. He decides to restore an old boat and turn it into a floating couscous restaurant, but becomes ill and needs the help of his family.