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French cinema finds home in Vermont

Champlain College commemorates National French Week (Nov. 4-10) by presenting the Tourn es Festival. Five recent French films will be shown from Nov. 5-7 at Alumni Auditorium on the Champlain College campus. National French Week is an annual celebration of French language and Francophone cultures organized by the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). The screenings are free and open to the public and will be followed by a discussion. All the films have English subtitles.

Now in its fourth year at Champlain, the Tourn es Festival of weekend screenings begins Friday, Nov. 5 at 7 pm in Alumni Auditorium campus. Subsequent showings are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 6, at 2, 4:30 and 7:30 pm and Sunday, Nov. 7, at 2 pm. All films will be introduced by Antoine J. Polgar of the Champlain faculty. According to Dr. Polgar who will lead the post-screening discussions, "French cinema adds an important dimension to the teaching and understanding of French language, culture and civilization."

The Tourn es Festival Screenings at Champlain College are made possible by a grant from French American Cultural Exchange, with support from the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Centre National de la Cin matographie, the Florence Gould Foundation, the Grand Marnier Foundation, Highbrow Entertainment, and the Franco-American Cultural Fund. Refreshments will be provided by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

The Tourn es Festival schedule at Champlain is:

Friday, Nov. 5, 7 pm "WELCOME" Director: Philippe Lioret; Screenplay: Olivier Adam, Emmanuel Courcol & Philippe Lioret; Awards: Best Picture - Lumi re Award (2010); Genre: Drama; Running Time: 110 minutes; Production: France, 2008; Not Rated.

A study of a budding friendship and a compassionate look at the perils faced by illegal immigrants. Philippe Lioret's Welcome centers on Bilal, a 17-year-old Iraqi Kurd stuck in Calais, in Northern France, and Simon, a recently divorced swimming teacher. Desperate to join his girlfriend in London, Bilal vows to swim across the English Channel if he has to, setting the stage for his meeting with Simon, the swimming teacher. "The action takes place against a topical background, with the film offering a quietly impassioned critique of the French government's harsh policies towards illegal immigrants." Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily.

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