French Cinema

Sixth Cinématèque Film Festival comes to CFCC

File photo from 2020

Wilmington loves film, and next week we’re in for a special treat–the sixth Albertine Cinématèque Film Festival. The festival, which is hosted by Cape Fear Community College in partnership with the French-American Cultural Exchange Foundation, features five acclaimed, contemporary French films plus a beloved classic. All films are in French and have English subtitles. The festival will be held on Feb. 13-16 at the Union Station Auditorium.

Two CFCC instructors, CAROLINA HUDSON, who teaches French, and LUCINDA MCNAMARA, who chairs the college’s Humanities Department, are the force behind the festival and share some insights into this year’s event below.

WILMA: Why is bringing French film to the school and community important?
Hudson: “I want to help CFCC become an international campus and expose kids to the world. When you watch movies, you become interested in different cultures.”
McNamara: “Also, film is a universal language. To bring these films to a community where people may not have access to international cinema can be a first experience for them, and it can be life-changing.”

WILMA: Who is the audience for the festival?
Hudson: “CFCC students are our primary audience. We want them to see cinema that is not the standard fare, to see cinema that is more purposeful, intellectual, and slower and to experience what another culture looks and sounds like.”
McNamara: “We also have a lot of members of the community who come to the festival every year. At least 50 percent of the audience is composed of community members.”

WILMA: Why is the festival so popular?
McNamara: “The films are so different. French film is interesting because the narrative structure is different. There is mystery and intrigue. It’s something people haven’t seen before, and people are craving something different.”

WILMA: Tell us about some of the films being shown this year.
McNamara: “We have a variety of film genres, including documentaries, biography, and romantic comedy, and each of the films offers something different.  For example, Gallantes Indies is an amazing project where classical music is aligned with hip-hop dance in an opera house. You get so caught up in the project you feel like you are dancing with the actors. And Aline is a romantic comedy that is also a biopic on Celine Dyon. We will show that on Valentine’s Day. Another comedy is Lost Illusions, the story of a poet trying to forge his destiny.”
Hudson: “Another of this year’s films, Gagarine, features young activists who try to save their community’s housing projects; and The Velvet Queen is a beautiful documentary by the award-winning nature photographer Vincent Munier about the elusive snow leopard. I also like Last Year at Marienbad, which is a classic French film that explores the French new wave. Its narrative structure is different and non-literal.”

WILMA: Cape Fear Community College is one of only two community colleges in the nation to receive the Albertine Cinémathèque Grant from the FACE Foundation. Why has CFCC been so successful in being awarded the grant?
Hudson: “We realize there is a real need for the festival in the community, and we work hard to ensure a lot of people attend. The foundation knows that every year a lot of people come to see our movies and they continue to back our festival.”

WILMA: Why is the grant so important?
Hudson: “The grant is essential to the festival. Everything is paid for by the grant. We don’t want the festival to be of any cost to the college students or the people from the community who attend.”

WILMA: Any last words you’d like people to know about the festival?
McNamara: “In an event like this we are trying to promote positivity and have it be a fun experience. The festival is an opportunity to meet people you don’t know and share ideas.”

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Categories: Culture