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Third Annual Fort Kent French Film Festival Begins February 28

February 11, 2008

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The third annual Fort Kent French Film Festival will begin Thursday, February 28 and will run through Sunday, March 2. All films will be shown in the University of Maine at Fort Kent’s Nadeau Hall teleconference room.             

According to Katharine Harrington, University of Maine at Fort Kent Assistant Professor of French and the festival’s director, a series of five different contemporary French language films will be played over a four-day period.                       

Harrington also stresses the fact that the films are accessible to everyone, not just French speakers, since they all are subtitled in English.             

“This year’s French film festival will be the most international to date. The theme of immigration and multicultural societies is apparent in nearly all of the films and French is not the only language spoken. I think viewers will really enjoy the feeling of strangeness one gets when watching a film set in an exotic setting hearing various foreign languages,” said Harrington. “This year we will be holding the festival on the UMFK campus in hopes of attracting more college students. Also, in response to requests we received last year, we have added a matinee showing on Sunday.”             

The first film of the festival is Paris je t’aime, which will be shown on Thursday, February 28 at 6 p.m. and can be viewed on Saturday, March 1 at 8 p.m. In Paris, je t'aime, celebrated directors from around the world have come together to portray Paris in a way never before imagined. Made by a team of contributors as cosmopolitan as the city itself, this portrait of the city is as diverse as its creators' backgrounds and nationalities. With each director telling the story of an unusual encounter in one of the city's neighborhoods, the vignettes go beyond the 'postcard' view of Paris to portray aspects of the city rarely seen on the big screen. The film is rated R.                       

The second film of the festival is Days of Glory (Indigènes). In 1944 and 1945 the liberation of Italy, Provence, the Alps, the Rhone Valley, Vosges, Alsace was essential to the victory of the allies. What is little known is that these victories were largely due to the accomplishment of recruits from Africa. One hundred thirty thousand natives from North Africa and 20,000 Africans fought to liberate France, a country they had never seen before. With a reputation for endurance, sense of orientation and great courage, they were sent to the front lines of the battlefields. Days of Glory relates the forgotten story of these soldiers known as “Indigènes” through four of these courageous men. While fighting for freedom, these soldiers must face tremendous racism in the military, and in French society, forcing them to struggle for equality of treatment at every turn. The film will be shown on Thursday, February 28 at 8 p.m. and on Saturday, March 1 at 6 p.m. It is rated R.                       

The third film, Since Otar Left (Depuis qu’Otar est parti), will be shown on Friday, February 29 at 6 p.m. The bittersweet tale of deception and affection tells the story of three Georgian women who live together in contemporary Tbilisi, the capital of the former Soviet republic. The strong-willed matriarch Eka longs for her beloved son Otar, a physician turned construction worker living in Paris. Her daughter Marina is deeply resentful of her mother’s obsession with her absent brother. Ada, Eka’s rebellious grand-daughter, endures their bickering and yearns for a more adventurous existence. When Marina and Eka learn of Otar’s death, they face the seemingly impossible question: Should they tell Eka the truth? This poignant film deftly highlights the challenges that mothers and daughters from three generations inevitably confront in an ever-changing world. The film is rated PG-13.                       

On Friday, February 29, the fourth film Le Petit Lieutenant will be shown at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, March 2 at 8 p.m. A gripping police noir, Le Petit Lieutenant tells the story of Antoine, an ambitious young cop who joins a plainclothes crime unit in Paris. Antoine spends his days eagerly awaiting his first assignment, drinking with his fellow detectives and developing an unlikely relationship with his superior, a veteran policewoman with a troubled past. But when the body of a drifter is found murdered along the Seine, a seemingly routine investigation suddenly turns violent and forever changes all their lives. It is rated R.            

The final film of the festival is Hop and will be featured in two showings on Sunday, March 2 at 2 p.m. and at 6 p.m. Hop tells the story of Justin and his father Dieudonné, illegal immigrants from Burundi living in Brussels. One night, during a crucial soccer match, Justin rigs up the cable feed from downstairs so he and his father can watch the Congolese Emile M’Penza play. The neighbors, unable to get any reception on their television, come upstairs to protest and throw the TV out the window, forcing Dieudonné and Justin to run away from the police. While Justin narrowly escapes, Dieudonné is caught by the police and immediately slated for deportation. Meanwhile, Justin is taken in by a retired anarchist and his girlfriend who unite to help Justin get his father back. This morally rich yet lightly uplifting story is shot in black and white yet is an incredibly colorful film. The film is rated PG.                       

A festival pass is available for $10, which includes all films. Admission cost to each movie is $3.50. UMFK students attend for free.             

For more information, contact Katharine Harrington at 834-7629. To purchase a pass or tickets, contact the University Relations at office 834-7557.