Thursday, November 16, through Thursday, December 14
Augustana College's Olin Center for Educational Technology, 733 35th Street, Rock Island IL
Four critically acclaimed titles – among them an Academy Award winner and two additional nominees – will be shared in Augustana College's annual French Film Festival, with the subtitled works presented in free, weekly screenings in the college's Olin Center for Educational Technology auditorium.
Nominated for 2012 Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director, Actress, and Screenplay, and a winner for Best Foreign-Language Film, writer/director Michael Haneke's Amour opens the festival on November 16. The film explores the lives of octogenarian married couple Georges and Anna – a pair of cultivated, retired music teachers – whose bond is severely tested after Anna's stroke and Georges' insistence that she convalesce at home. With French acting legends Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva as the spouses and Isabelle Huppert as their daughter, Amour was lauded bny Time Out London for being "devastatingly original and unflinching in the way it examines the effect of love on death, and vice versa."
Written and directed by brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, the series' November 21 title is Two Days, One Night, which earned Marion Cotillard a 2014 Best Actress nomination for a performance the New York Times called “as fine a piece of screen acting as you will ever see.” Cotillard plays a young wife and mother who, after suffering a nervous breakdown, is threatened with unemployment, and whose fate lies in convincing her co-workers to rally for her job. With Cotillard's character given only 36 hours to accomplish the task, Variety magazine called the Dardennes' film a “powerhouse slice of working-class Belgian life.”
Following this Tuesday-evening screening on November 21, the remainder of Augustana's French Film Festival unfolds on Thursdays. On November 30, the Olin Center will house writer/director Abderrahmane Sissako's Timbuktu, the dramatic saga of a Malian family living under the regime of terror imposed by Jihadists – a 2014 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign-Language Film described by The Guardian as “witty, beautiful, and even, sobering though it is, highly entertaining.”
December 7 brings writer/director Celine Sciamma's 2011 Tomboy, the tale of a 10-year-old girl who moves into a new Parisian home, and chooses to introduce herself to the neighborhood children as a boy. Sciamma's movie received the Jury Award at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival, and was described as “tender and affectionate” by the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert.
And on December 14, the festival will wrap up with writers/directors Olivier Nakache's and Eric Toledano's The Intouchables, currently ranked as the 37th top-rated movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database. After he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man from the projects to be his caregiver, and according to The Telegraph, what results is a warmhearted comedy-drama that “gives the audience permission to laugh with, not at, people with disabilities, and see their lives as they have never seen them before.”
All French Film Festival screenings begin at 7 p.m., and more information on the series is available by calling (309)794-7833 or visiting Augustana.edu.