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UNA French Film Festival brings international cinema to Florence

University of North Alabama

A yearly showing of international media is beginning at an Alabama college. The University of North Alabama’s seventh annual French Film Festival starts on Monday, March 4, with a French themed reception.

Six movies will be presented through Wednesday, March 20, with each screening beginning at 6 p.m. in the Wesleyan Hall Auditorium. The festival will include all films subtitled in English.

The festival kicks off with a French-themed reception full of croissants, coffee and mini quiche tartlets. Before every film, UNA faculty will give a brief description and overview of the show. Genres include classic, comedy, drama, mystery thriller and other categories.

Each film has a release date ranging from 1961 to 2022. UNA faculty will open discussion after each showing for the audience to reflect on themes, characters and any other topics.

Stephanie Coker, associate professor of French at UNA and associate dean at the Cole Honors College, is one of the organizers for the festival. She said these films are different from Hollywood’s happy endings.

“European films, or international films in general… sometimes we're left with a sense of ‘Oh, maybe this wasn't resolved’ or ‘What happened to this character?’ It's really sometimes open-ended, and it's kind of left to interpretation. So, that generates a really good discussion at the end,” she said.

The festival comes from a grant with the Albertine Cinémathèque program of the French-American Cultural Exchange, or FACE, Foundation. The FACE Foundation focuses on supporting cultural education through the arts. This grant is awarded to selected universities across the country to give students a look into a diverse group of films.

Coker said the community aspect of the festival makes going to the theater more enjoyable compared watching a film on a streaming platform.

“It's really a different experience when you see it in the community, and we're all laughing at the same things or shocked by something we see on screen,” she said. “I think it’s just a great chance for folks to see an international film in a community, because we really don't have many international cinemas.”

Admission for the film festival is free and open to the public. Nine departments on the UNA campus are partnering to host the event. The last day of the festival concludes with a special dessert prepared by The Jeff Eubanks Culinary Arts Department.

Selected films and dates include the following:

- Monday, March 4: The Innocent (2022)

- Wednesday, March 6: Saint Omer (2021)

- Monday, March 11: Casablanca Beats (2021)

- Wednesday, March 13: Paris Memories (2022)

- Monday, March 18: Chocolate (1988)

- Wednesday, March 20: Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

Click here for more information on UNA’s seventh annual French Film Festival.

Grayce Kilkenny is a student intern in the Alabama Public Radio Newsroom. She is a sophomore majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Digital, Professional and Public Writing. Outside of the newsroom, Grayce enjoys photography, running and fashion.
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