Tournées French Film Festival Offers Plenty of Free Viewings Through February

For the third year running, Rhodes is hosting the Tournées French Film Festival, sponsored by the Communities in Conversation lecture series. The festival runs from Jan. 27 to Feb. 11 and features a wide variety of French films.

All the screenings are free, open to the public, subtitled in English and take place in Rhodes’ Blount Auditorium in Buckman Hall at 7 p.m. They include:

  • “In the House” on Jan. 27 (opening reception at 6:30 p.m.); In acclaimed director François Ozon’s playful thriller, “In the House,” 16-year-old Claude stirs the interest of his literature teacher, Germain, with his reflections about time spent at a classmate’s house. In this sharp inquiry into the power of narrative, Ozon brings up a number of fascinating topics: what it means to be an artist and what it means to be an audience.
  • “The Gatekeepers” on Jan. 28; Dror Moreh’s incomparable documentary couldn’t be any more timely or urgent. The film offers interviews with six former heads of Israel’s internal security service, which was formed in 1949, the year after the country declared its independence. All six men are deeply critical of their nation’s policies—particularly of Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank after the Six-Day War in 1967—a position that has only intensified since they left the intelligence agency.
  • “Grigris” on Feb. 3; Director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun has returned to his native Chad to tell stories played out against the civil war and economic hardship that have racked this former French colony for decades. His latest film opens at a disco in the capital of Chad, where a dancer with a paralyzed leg, “Grigris” dazzles the crowd. Mimi, a local prostitute, recognizes a kindred soul in this marginalized dancer. In an act of desperation, Grigris joins an illegal gas-smuggling operation, setting off a chain of events causing him to flee the city with Mimi in tow.
  • “Augustine” on Feb. 4; Alice Winocour’s first feature explores the relationship between the 19th-century French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot and the 19-year-old housemaid of the title. After an inexplicable seizure, Augustine is sent to Charcot’s clinic, where he has established himself as one of the foremost authorities on “hysteria.” As Charcot continues his work with Augustine, he crosses several ethical lines—a violation that makes her aware of her own ability to fight back.
  • “The Missing Picture” on Feb. 10; How can a filmmaker portray incomprehensible barbarity, especially when he himself and everyone he knew and loved was directly affected by this horror? In this prize-winning documentary, Rithy Panh ingeniously uses carved and painted figures to represent himself and his family (and many others), who had to flee Phnom Penh for agricultural labor camps on April 17, 1975, the day that the Khmer Rouge seized Cambodia’s capital city.
  • “The Lovely Month of May” on Feb. 11 (closing reception at 6:30 p.m.); This landmark documentary, co-directed by Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme, was filmed in May of 1962, just after the passage of the Évian Accords, which officially ended the Algerian War. Marker, unseen, prompts his interviewees—ranging from highbrow engineers to a destitute mother to an Algerian teenager to a West African student—with questions about their personal lives and their feelings about larger political and social matters.