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Vive la France: Celebrating Diversity in the French-speaking World

9/17/2008 —
Beginning in September and extending into November, Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus is celebrating French culture around the world with a film festival, musical performances, an art show, and literary readings. The events—all open to the public—are designed to be a season-long celebration.

Susan Crampton-Frenchik, coordinator of Penn State Fayette’s International and Intercultural Programs Office, says, “The very broad scope of this fall’s cultural series is a first for the campus. There are many opportunities for students and the community to come together to learn, have fun and share the French and Francophone experience.”

The Tournées French Film Festival features six films, all free in Swimmer Hall in the campus’ Williams Building. Penn State Fayette’s Head Librarian John Riddle, who heads up the film festival, explains the films were specially selected as part of the larger theme of Vive la France. “Five of the six films are the best of contemporary French films. And we wanted to do something different, so we will open the series with a classic French film, The Red Balloon (Le Ballon Rouge) from 1956, and will close the series with The Flight of the Red Balloon (Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge), a 2007 tribute to the original.”

Crampton-Frenchik explains, “Fayette County was named for Marquis de Lafayette, so this series gives us all many occasions to celebrate the culture of Fayette County’s namesake. French culture is found in many parts of the world, including Louisiana, Canada, Haiti, West Africa, Tahiti, and elsewhere. Using music and art, there are many aspects of French culture that are easily shared through these interactive events.”

Riddle adds, “The film festival, now in its sixth year, is really growing with this expansion into multimedia events—film, music and visual arts. The festival’s evolution into this kind of multi-faceted series is a wonderful opportunity for the whole community.”

For some Penn State Fayette students, the Vive la France celebration will culminate in March 2009 with a student trip to Montréal, Québec, Canada. “Students participating on this upcoming trip will have the opportunity to expand their linguistic and cultural horizons,” says Crampton-Frenchik.

Funding for the Tournées Film Festival is provided by the French American Cultural Exchange.
Additional sponsorship is by the Penn State Fayette Library, the Diversity Task Force, and the Chancellor’s Office.

Details about the Vive la France cultural series are as follows:

Tournées French Film Festival Events

September 30
Opening Night Reception and screening of The Red Balloon (Le Ballon Rouge)
5:00-7:00 p.m.
Cultural Center, Williams Building
All invited; free of charge, R.S.V.P. to 724-430-4101
The Red Balloon (Le Ballon Rouge) is a 1956 French film by director Albert Lamorisse. This classic tribute to the power of love and friendship depicts the unique relationship between a young Parisian boy and a red balloon.

October 7
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le Papillon)
Film begins at 6:00 p.m.
Swimmer Hall, Williams Building
All invited; free of charge
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le Papillon) is a 2007 French film by director Julian Schnabel. This poignant film depicts fashion editor Jean-Dominique Bauby’s struggle to communicate after suffering a devastating cerebro-vascular accident. This film celebrates Bauby’s strength of character and his remarkable imagination.

October 8  
La Vie en Rose
Film begins at 6:00 p.m.
Swimmer Hall, Williams Building
All invited; free of charge
La Vie en Rose is a 2007 Belgium film by director Olivier Dahan. Marion Cotillard won the 2007 Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal of Edith Piaf, the famous French singer whose chaotic life was filled with equal measures of joy and tragedy.

October 15
Persepolis
Film begins at 6:00 p.m.
Swimmer Hall, Williams Building
All invited; free of charge
Persepolis is a 2007 French/Iranian film by directors Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. This story, based on the graphic novel of the same name, traces Marji’s courageous journey to adulthood as she confronts regime change and war in Iran.

October 21
Paris, I love You (Paris, je t’aime)
Film begins at 6:00 p.m.
Swimmer Hall, Williams Building
All invited; free of charge
Paris, I love You (Paris, Je t’aim) is a 2006 French film by directors (among others) Olivier Assayas, Sylvain Chomet, and Ethan and Joel Cohen. Twenty filmmakers provide unique perspectives of the various lifestyles and atmospheres of the neighborhoods of Paris. This exceptional collective film celebrates Paris in all its incarnations.

October 28
The Flight of the Red Balloon (Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge)
Film begins at 6:00 p.m.
Swimmer Hall, Williams Building
All invited; free of charge
The Flight of the Red Balloon (Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge) is a 2007 French film by director Hou Hsiao Hsien. In this modern tribute to Le Ballon Rouge, a young Taiwanese university student and a familiar red balloon offer a new perspective to a struggling French family.


Vive la France Events

September 24-25   
Coal and Coke Music Festival: French and Francophone Literature Readings and the Indomitable Human Spirit
1:00 p.m. each day
Coal and Coke Heritage Center, Penn State Fayette Library Building  
All invited; free of charge

October 21  
Music Beyond Mountains: A performance of music and culture of Haiti
Noon
Swimmer Hall, Williams Building
All invited; free of charge

October 28
Rock Rimbaud: Arthur Rimbaud and Jim Morrison
Noon
Swimmer Hall, Williams Building
All invited; free of charge

November 3-7
Vive la France student art show
8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. daily
Cultural Center, Williams Building
All invited; free of charge

November 6
Grand Bon Rien: A performance of traditional Cajun music
6:30 p.m.
Swimmer Hall, Williams Building
Closing reception immediately following performance  
All invited
Performance: Penn State Fayette students free; non-students $5  
Reception: free of charge, R.S.V.P. to 724-430-4101

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