What to expect of year’s French Film Festival

Michelle Ferrand

Disney’s Sleeping Beauty tells the familiar tale of a princess in distress, the three lovable fairies who help her, the heroic prince of her dreams, and an evil witch/dragon. La Belle Endormie, which is French for “The Sleeping Beauty,” takes everything you learned from Disney, smashes it to pieces, and recreates it into a more realistic, adult spin of the classic fairy tale.

While the beginning is still the same — an evil witch puts a curse on the newborn child and then the three good fairies change the curse so that she sleeps for a 100 years — the similarities end there. Catherine Breillat, the director of the film, changes it up by having the audience follow the child, Anastasia, into her adventurous dream world. She wakes up 100 years later — except she’s still 16 years old — and she meets the cold and brutal reality of the present world.

“Here, [La Belle Endormie], the girl is active and goes on a quest,” Dr. Jane Caputi said, a Women’s Studies professor at FAU and the presenter of this film. “The fairytale princesses are always passive in the older and Disney versions.”

La Belle Endormie is being shown as part of the Second Annual Tournées Film Festival, put on by the Department of Languages, Linguistics and Comparative Literature here at FAU. It will showcase four other French films every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Building, Room 101 until April 11. The event’s organizer, French studies assistant professor, Dr. Carla Calargé, said the movies are chosen based on a catalogue given to them.

“This film festival was made possible by a grant from the French Embassy,”  Calargé said. “So we get a catalogue with a list of films we can choose from and that narrows down the selection.”

From the list, Calargé and one of her colleagues choose a film based on what they find interesting and what films are mandatory in their classes. While the showing of these films benefits students in the French program, Calargé said the film festival is open to all students and anyone in the community.

The Tournées Festival will show films from different genres because, according to Calargé, they will appeal to a wider audience. Each film will start with a small introduction presented by a professor familiar with the themes of the film being shown, and after the film the presenter starts a discussion where the audience can express their opinions on the film. All the films are in French with English subtitles.

Though it’s a good idea for French students’ studies, some other students might not take as much from a movie that’s so far from mainstream –– and foreign. “I thought [La Belle Endormie] was more confusing than anything,” Jacob Hines said, a freshman computer science major. “But it was still good and I’ll probably come back to watch the other films.”

For more information on the other films in the French Film Festival, visit www.fau.edu/llcl/pdf/Tournees%20FILM%20FINAL.pdf