by Jennifer Villeda ’20 A&E Staff
People enjoy films that connect them, whether it is through topics like searching for identity and navigating daily issues, or providing an escape through works filled with quirky characters and overactive imaginations. Regardless if it is in another language, the impact of the message can be just as profound and moving as you gain knowledge about another culture and, sometimes, yourself as well.
Taking place from Feb. 28 to March 5, the Providence French Film Festival will be showcasing francophone films at the Martinos Auditorium in the Granoff Center of the Arts at Brown University. This will be the festival’s second year held at this center; prior to 2019, it took place at Cable Car Cinema until its closing in 2018.
This will be the first year for Regina Longo as the new artistic director of the event. She is excited to have the city of Providence see what this festival has to offer. She said, “We want to reach out to different groups and bring the city into our campus; this is not just a Brown or RISD event. It is more of a community event as it has something for everyone.”
The films shown at the festival are pieces that touch upon the diversity of voices that compose French culture or, as Longo stated in how she selected the movies, “I wanted to try to reflect the changes in France and the world, highlight the many faces that make up French and francophone culture.”
Africa Mia, directed by Richard Minier and Édouard Salier, explores the lives of 10 young, talented musicians from Mali who were invited to Cuba by Fidel Castro. They formed a popular band called “Las Maravillas de Mali,” and invented Afro-Cuban music. The documentary goes between the past and present, highlighting what happened to the members after they left Cuba.
The film Zombi Child by Bertrand Bonello is a horror, science fiction, and fantasy piece that takes place in a French all-female private high school. A group of girls invite a Haitian girl into their circle, but she must share a secret to be accepted. From there, things take a dark turn as the film explores issues young women deal with, from identity to relationships.
Another film highlighting women’s issues is by Stéphane Demoustier, titled The Girl with a Bracelet or La fille au bracelet. The courtroom drama follows an 18-year-old girl accused of murdering her friend over a slut-shaming post made about her. She is forced to wear a tracking bracelet while under house arrest. Longo recommended this film, saying, “I think this film does a good job of showing the issues women deal with in the age of social media. The acting is phenomenal and does a great job of not passing any judgment.” This film was adapted from an Argentinian film of the same name in 2018 and made waves throughout the festival circuit.
These are only a few of the many films that will be showcased; attendees will find a range of genres and themes that will appeal to all audiences. The opening night of the Providence French Film Festival is Feb. 28 and offers a glimpse into French culture and its nuances through a showing of a short film exclusively for that night. The trailers for the films that will premiere in Rhode Island are posted on the event’s website.
It will be a lovely Friday evening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. with complimentary French food and drinks, as audience members get acquainted with French cinema and meet the people involved with the festival. The party is open to all and completely free. Tickets will be on sale at the party for the showings on Feb. 29 to March 5, and can be purchased online as well.