French film festival begins at the Hippodrome

Thomas Doret, left, and Cécile De France star in "Le Gamin Au Vélo," a film by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne about an 11-year-old boy who finds love while searching for his father. (Courtesy photo)

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 1:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 1:17 p.m.

January and February at the Hippodrome Theatre will be predominantly French.


A month of French films

French films take center stage in Gainesville through Feb. 14. Films have subtitles and are shown at the Hippodrome Cinema, 25 SE Second Place, unless noted otherwise. Admission is free.
"Bled Number One," a film by Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche about a man, exiled from Algeria, who watches his country struggle between the modern world and ancient traditions, 7 p.m. Monday. (97 min.)
"Nannerl, La Soeur de Mozart," ("Mozart's Sister"), a film by René Féret about the imaginary younger sister of Wolfgang Mozart and her introduction to the royal French court. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23. (120 min.)
"Les Bureaux de Dieu," ("God's Offices"), a film by Claire Simon about women in a Parisian hospital waiting room who pass the time by discussing the consequences of their sexual activity. 7 p.m. Jan. 24. (115 min.)
"Le Gamin Au Vélo," ("The Kid with a Bike"), a film by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne about an 11-year-old boy who finds love while searching for his father. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30. (87 min.)
"La Guerre Est Déclarée," ("Declaration of War"), a film by Valérie Donzelli about a couple dealing with their son's cancer diagnosis. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6. (100 min.)
"L'arnacoeur," ("The Heartbreaker"), a film by Pascal Chaumeil about a brother and sister hired to break up the wedding of a rich man's daughter. 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9, University Women's Club, 202 Peabody Hall, Gainesville. French snacks served, including Nutella, cheese, baguettes and croissants. (105 min.)
"Les femmes du 6ème étag," ("The Women on the Sixth Floor"), a film by Philippe Le Guay about a conservative 1960s couple who find themselves exploring their own apartment with a group of Spanish maids. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13. (104 min.)
"La France," a film by Serge Bozon about a woman who disguises herself as a man to find her boyfriend during World War I, joining a group of singing French soldiers along the way. 7 p.m. Feb. 14. (102 min.)

The seventh annual University of Florida French Film Festival opened at the Hippodrome Cinema on Jan. 16.

Sylvie Blum-Reid, an associate professor of French and film at UF, is hosting the event in an effort to bring French culture and cinema to Gainesville.

"There's a major interest in French cinema on campus and in [the] community," Blum-Reid said. "We're bringing rare French films to the Hippodrome that wouldn't normally be there."

Three movies will be shown as part of the festival, tagged as "films for consideration, not consumption."

"They're less mainstream in terms of general audience," said Adam Jalali, the assistant program director for the France-Florida Research Institute, a UF organization sponsoring the festival. "They're not wrapped up nicely in a traditional happy ending."

Each of the films, Blum-Reid said, has a strong focus on women's identity.

"I picked films that I thought had not been here or circulated on a commercial scale," she said. "They also all have a musical motif, which is very attractive. They're for people who like film, don't mind reading subtitles and are curious about other cultures."

Jalali said he hopes to fill the cinema, which holds 73 people, for each showing.

"We're trying to get to as many people as possible," he said, "especially students interested in social issues."

The films are not rated, but Jalali said that many of the issues in the films are appropriate for a more mature audience.

"We're aiming the event at anyone in the community who wants to see a good movie, appreciate good cinema and have [an] intellectually stimulating evening," he said.

Meanwhile, the Alliance Française de Gainesville is hosting its second annual film festival at the Hippodrome Cinema, beginning Jan. 23.

"We're here to promote French in our little Gainesville community," said Bernadette César-Lee, the vice president of the Alliance Française. "The Alliance isn't a French clique; it's a bridge between American society and French culture."

The five films shown during this festival, she said, are high-class movies with a complete exposure of French culture.

"They all have topics we know here that also happen abroad in a French environment," César-Lee said. "The last film is hilarious. We want to close the festival with a good French sense of humor."

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