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French film festival at Fort Kent begins February 17

February 10, 2005


Following many months of planning by Katharine Harrington, University of Maine at Fort Kent Assistant Professor of French brings to Fort Kent a French film festival beginning Friday, February 17.

The Fort Kent's Century Theatre will feature a series of five different French language films, some of which Harrington saw at a French film festival held at Brown University, where she completed her doctoral work.

The movies are scheduled for 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. (American time).

The first French film of the festival is Les choristes (The Chorus), which begins Friday, February 17 at 6:00 p.m. and will also be shown on Saturday, February 18 at 6:00 p.m. This film portrays a professor of music, Clément Mathieu, who is hired to supervise children in a school for juvenile delinquents. Under the very strict school director, the educational system is particularly repressive. However, Clément is able to transform the lives of these affection-starved children by teaching them the magic of choir singing and music. The movie is rated PG-13.

The second film, Les Triplets de Belleville (Triplets of Belleville) is an animated film that starts at 8:00 p.m. on Friday. This creative animated film about an orphaned boy named Champion, who is raised by his grandmother, Madame Souza. Her gift of a tricycle to Champion starts a craze for cycle-racing, which becomes the cornerstone of their life together. When her grandson is kidnapped during the Tour de France, Madame Souza and her beloved pooch Bruno team up with the Belleville Sisters, an aged song and dance team from the days of Fred Astaire, to rescue him. The film is rated PG-13. Les Triplets de Belleville (Triplets of Belleville) will also be shown on Sunday, February 19 at 6:00 p.m.

On Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 19 at 8:00 p.m. the theater will feature the film, Les invasions barbares (Barbarian Invasions). The story is about a man who is dying of cancer and is having a difficult time accepting the reality of death and feeling regretful of his past, and tries to find peace in his last moments. His estranged son, ex-wife, ex-lovers and old friends will all come to him to share his last breath. The movie is rated R.

Être et avoir (To Be and To Have) will be featured on Monday, February 20 and Tuesday, February 21 at 6:00 p.m. This documentary film portrays a one room village schoolhouse, in the rural Auvergne region of France, where the students ages 4 to 12 years are educated by a single dedicated teacher. Against a landscape of mountains and farmland, from driving snow to rain to sun, the children gather in Georges Lopez's warm and colorful classroom, to read, write dictation, cook, and sort things out. The documentary is rated PG-13.

On Monday, February 20 and Tuesday, February 21 at 8:00 p.m. the theatre presents Une hirondelle a fait le printemps (The Girl from Paris). Sandrine, a woman in her thirties gets tired of life in Paris and decides to leave her work in computers to become a farmer. She then buys an isolated goat farm from Adrien, an old farmer who decides it's time to retire. However, Adrien wants to stay a few more months before moving away from the farm. The rough winter finds them together. The movie is rated PG-13.

"Celebration of our marvelous Franco Heritage is one of the three central pillars of our mission as an institution," said President Richard Cost. "I am delighted that Professor Harrington has created this wonderful film series for the University and our community."

Harrington's dream of having a French film festival became a reality, in part through a $1,800 grant from the French American Cultural Exchange (FACE) as well as a supplementary grant from the University of Maine at Fort Kent Strategic Planning Special Initiatives Fund.

FACE is a nonprofit organization, chartered by the state of New York. It is dedicated to nurturing French-American relations through innovative international projects in the arts, education, and cultural exchange.

Housed in the cultural services of the French Embassy in New York, and overseen by a board of trustees. FACE serves an extensive network of patrons through its film-based programs. The organization also provides support to various initiatives through its partnership with the cultural services of the French Embassy.

FACE's Tournées Grant was conceived as a program to encourage schools to begin their own self-sustaining French film festivals. Since its inception, the program has collaborated with hundreds of universities and made it possible for tens of thousands of students to discover French-language films.

"I know that both the campus and community here will be very receptive to a French film festival, both to celebrate the French language and also simply to have exposure to international cinema," said Harrington. "I also hope that by showing quality contemporary French and francophone films, it will spark an interest in my students and in community members to pursue their study of French, and to see this French-speaking region as part of a larger global francophone community."

All films will be shown with English subtitles.

A festival pass is available for $10, which includes all French films.

Alternatively, admission to individual films will be at regular theater prices.