Spring 2015 Events

French Language Table

January 21, 2015 5:30 PM  – 7:30 PM
Thorne Hall, Pinette Dining Room

Come and enjoy conversation while strengthening your language skills.

French Language Table

January 28, 2015 5:30 PM  – 7:30 PM
Thorne Hall, Pinette Dining Room

Come and enjoy conversation while strengthening your language skills.

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Film Screening: Charlie Hebdo Documentary, "C'est Dur D'être Aimé Par Des Cons"

January 30, 2015 7:00 PM  – 9:30 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

In the aftermath of the attacks in Paris at the beginning of this month, the Bowdoin French Club, the Famille Francophone, will be holding a public screening of Daniel Leconte's 2008 documentary, C'est Dur D'être Aimé Par Des Cons (“It’s tough being loved by jerks”). The film follows the 2006 court case that was brought against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in the wake of their decision to publish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. It will be shown in French with English subtitles, with discussion to follow in English.  

The movie offers fascinating and unprecedented insight behind the scenes at this controversial publication. It also raises important questions about free speech and satire in France, a country with very different laws concerning freedom of expression. The discussion will provide an opportunity to reflect on these questions as well as the social and political consequences of recent events.

The Bowdoin Famille Francophone (aka “Bowdoin French Club”) is a student-run organization operating under the auspices of the Bowdoin Student Government. It seeks to promote Francophone values, culture and interests to the wider Bowdoin College community.

French Language Table

February 4, 2015 5:30 PM  – 7:30 PM
Thorne Hall, Pinette Dining Room

Come and enjoy conversation while strengthening your language skills.

French Language Table

February 11, 2015 5:30 PM  – 7:30 PM
Thorne Hall, Pinette Dining Room

Come and enjoy conversation while strengthening your language skills.

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Second Annual World Cinema Festival: 'God Loves Uganda' - with Hanetha Vete-Congolo and Laura Premack

February 18, 2015 7:00 PM  – 10:00 PM
Sills Hall, Smith Auditorium

As an American-influenced bill to make homosexuality punishable by death wins widespread support, tension in Uganda mounts and an atmosphere of murderous hatred takes hold. This film reveals the conflicting motives of faith and greed, ecstasy and egotism, among Ugandan ministers, American evangelical leaders and the foot soldiers of a theology that sees Uganda as ground zero in a battle for billions of souls. Through verité, interviews, and hidden camera footage – and with unprecedented access – God Loves Uganda takes viewers inside the evangelical movement in both the US and Uganda.

Presented by Hanétha Vété-Congolo, Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Laura Premack, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow of Latin American Studies, God Loves Uganda (Roger Ross Williams, US, 2013), is a NY Times Critic’s Pick, winner of the Inspiration Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and official selection at Sundance, HotDocs, and AFI Docs. 

Bowdoin’s World Cinema Festival offers a varied program of important contemporary narrative and documentary films from around the world with post-screening discussions moderated by faculty and students.

The public is welcomed at no charge and tickets are not required.

The 2nd Annual World Cinema Festival is sponsored by the Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund, the Latin American Studies Program, the Asian Studies Program, the African Studies Program, the Russian Department, the German Department, the Romance Languages Department, the English Department, MacMillan House, the Bowdoin Film Society, and the Cinema Studies Program.

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Portland Playback Theater: "Letting the World In: Stories of Discovery"

February 26, 2015 7:00 PM  – 8:30 PM
Sills Hall, Smith Auditorium

The Portland Playback Theater comes to campus for a wonderful evening of storytelling and improv theater! This troupe of highly-trained, multi-talented actors featuring Erin Curren, visiting lecturer in French, will "playback" audience stories of discovery, difficulty, culture, realization and more. The group joins the art of improvisation with real-life stories spontaneously shared by members of the audience. Using movement, dialogue and music, the actors seek to honor the countless moments and events that shape our lives. 

Portland Playback Theatre Company was founded in Portland, Maine in 2005. The Playback Theatre style models transformation; a new way to relate to the world. When trained playback practitioners enact a story told by a member of the audience, a deep bond of understanding is established between the “teller” and the audience. Playback helps people see their common humanity. When people join together in sharing their stories and watching the re-enactments, it engenders an ability to focus on commonalities rather then judgments of otherness.  

Hosted by the Off Campus Study office, along with the McKeen Center and other offices on campus.

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Dancer and Choreographer Chantal Loïal: 'On t'appelle Venus (They Call You Venus)'

February 28, 2015 7:00 PM  – 9:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

In her performance piece, On t'appelle Venus, choreographer and dancer Chantal Loial pays tribute to Sawtche (1789-1819), known as the Black Venus, who had been brought to France in the nineteenth century by a "tamer" who prostituted her and exploited her as a circus freak. Swatche's body, deemed abnormal, fascinated the European imagination. After she died, scientists dissected her body and displayed it at the Musee de l'Homme in Paris, all in the name of scientific and anthropological progress. Through this artistic expression of her body, Chantal Loial invites us to think of feminine body and the norms we use to draw laws about both the body and beauty.

Loial created her dance company in 1994. She began dancing her native Afro-Guadeloupean traditional dances at age seven and went on to become a professional choreographer and dancer, earning her diploma in contemporary dance at the National Dance Centre of Pantin, France in 2008. She reinterprets traditional Caribbean and African dances that she mixes with European ballet and other forms of dance. In 2014, Loïal received the highest French Order, the National Order of the Legion of Honor for her work in the Arts (Knight of the Legion of Honor).

Open to the public free of charge.

For more information, contact Hanétha Vété-Congolo at mvete@bowdoin.edu.

Sponsored by the Andrew Mellon Foundation (Mellon Humanities Initiative).

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Film Screening: 'The Man From Oran' with Director, Actor, and Screenwriter Lyes Salem

March 2, 2015 7:00 PM  – 10:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

Corruption in political life, falsification of historical facts, personal loss, and thirst for power are all dealt with remarkable lucidity and conviction in Algerian filmmaker Lyes Salem's The Man From Oran (L'Oranais), a haunting political drama laced with the agony and angst of men and women who lived through the Algerian Revolution. 

Djaffar, the main character and “man from Oran,” has no interest in the liberation movement until he finds himself involved with his friend Hamid in the murder of a French farmer. By the time they manage to run away, Djaffar's beloved wife has been raped by the farmer’s son as a vendetta. She will give birth to a son of her own and die in despair. 

All of this is kept in secret from Djaffar until after the war when he returns home a hero. He accepts the boy as his own, but asks everybody to act as if the rape never occurred and Hamid--now a minister in the new government--helps him rewrite his story. But year after year they grow apart and their deliberate falsification of history has terrible consequences for them, their friends and families, and for the country. The movie enumerates through Djaffar's life how tragic separations, breakdown of families, small sacrifices and strong selfish desires change the tone and tenor of a society.

This event is sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages, the Cinema Studies Program and the Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund.


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Francophone Film Festival - 'In The House' (Dans La Maison)

April 2, 2015 7:00 PM  – 9:00 PM
Sills Hall, Smith Auditorium

A sixteen-year-old boy insinuates himself into the house of a fellow student from his literature class and writes about it in essays for his French teacher. Faced with this gifted and unusual pupil, the teacher rediscovers his enthusiasm for his work, but the boy's intrusion will unleash a series of uncontrollable events. Directed by Francois Ozon and based on the play The Boy in the Last Row by Juan Mayorga, the film was awarded the main prize at the 2012 San Sebastian International Film Festival, the Golden Shell, as well as the Jury Prize for Best Screenplay.

Presented as part of the Bowdoin Francophone Film Festival, a part of the Tournees Festival, and made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, the Centre National de la Cinematographie et de l'Image Animee, and the Franco-American Cultural Fund.

Additional support provided by the Department of Romance Languages, La Famille francophone, as well as the Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund.

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Francophone Film Festival: 'Ernest and Celestine'

April 3, 2015 7:00 PM  – 9:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Beam Classroom

There is a world of where the bears live above ground in their cities and the rodents live below in in their underground ones in mutual fear and hate. However, Celestine, an apprentice mouse dentist, finds at least momentary common cause with Ernest, a poor street Bear musician, that gets them rejected from both their respective worlds.

Even in the face of misfortune, the exiles find a growing friendship between themselves as their respective talents flower because of it. Yet despite this, their quietly profound challenge to the founding prejudices of their worlds cannot be ignored as the authorities track them down. When that happens, Ernest and Celestine must stand up for their love in the face of such bigotry and achieve the impossible.

Based on a series of children's books of the same name, the film was selected to be screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, as part of the TIFF Kids programme at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, and at the 2013 Hong Kong International Film Festival. It was selected for the grand competition at feature film edition of the 2013 World festival of animated film Animafest Zagreb and was screened as the opening film. The film received widespread critical acclaim, and became the first animated film to win the Magritte Award for Best Film.

Presented as part of the Bowdoin Francophone Film Festival, a part of the Tournees Festival, and made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, the Centre National de la Cinematographie et de l'Image Animee, and the Franco-American Cultural Fund.

Additional support provided by the Department of Romance Languages, La Famille francophone, as well as the Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund.

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Francophone Film Festival: 'Ernest and Celestine' (Children's Matinee)

April 4, 2015 10:00 AM  – 12:00 PM
Sills Hall, Smith Auditorium

There is a world of where the bears live above ground in their cities and the rodents live below in in their underground ones in mutual fear and hate. However, Celestine, an apprentice mouse dentist, finds at least momentary common cause with Ernest, a poor street Bear musician, that gets them rejected from both their respective worlds.

Even in the face of misfortune, the exiles find a growing friendship between themselves as their respective talents flower because of it. Yet despite this, their quietly profound challenge to the founding prejudices of their worlds cannot be ignored as the authorities track them down. When that happens, Ernest and Celestine must stand up for their love in the face of such bigotry and achieve the impossible.

Based on a series of children's books of the same name, the film was selected to be screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, as part of the TIFF Kids programme at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, and at the 2013 Hong Kong International Film Festival. It was selected for the grand competition at feature film edition of the 2013 World festival of animated film Animafest Zagreb and was screened as the opening film. The film received widespread critical acclaim, and became the first animated film to win the Magritte Award for Best Film.

Presented as part of the Bowdoin Francophone Film Festival, a part of the Tournees Festival, and made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, the Centre National de la Cinematographie et de l'Image Animee, and the Franco-American Cultural Fund.

Additional support provided by the Department of Romance Languages, La Famille francophone, as well as the Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund.

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Noliwe Rooks: "Because What is Beautiful is Good: Erasing Race and Selling Feminism in the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty"

April 6, 2015 7:00 PM  – 9:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

  • This talk explores the role that Black women played at the beginning and the end of the first international Dove brand "real beauty" campaign and how and why that campaign used feminism as an advertising tool. Noliwe Rooks is currently an Associate Professor in Africana Studies and Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies at Cornell University where she is also the Director of Graduate Studies in Africana Studies. She is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work explores the racial implications of beauty, fashion and adornment as well as the way race and gender both impact and are impacted by popular culture, social history and political life in the United States. Rooks is the author of three books. The first, Hair Raising: Beauty, Culture and African American Women (1996, Rutgers University Press) won both the 1997 Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Book, and the Public Library Associations 1997 award for Outstanding University Press Book. Her second book, Ladies Pages: African American Women's Magazines and the Culture that Made Them (Rutgers University Press) was published in 2004. Her most recent book, White Money/Black Power: African American Studies and the Crises of Race in Higher Education was published in 2006 with Beacon Press. She has two forthcoming edited collections: "Black Fashion: Gender. Art. Politics" a special issue of NKA: Journal of Contemporary Art, Duke University Press, Fall 2015, No. 37 and Women and Magazines in the 21st Century: Race, Writing and New Media (Under Consideration). Her current book project is about the politics of race and economics of K-12 education in the United States and tentatively titled, Apartheid in America and Why it Matters That We Have Reached the Beginning of the End of Public Education. Open to the public free of charge. For more information, contact Hanetha Vete-Congolo at mvete@bowdoin.edu. Sponsored by the Andrew Mellon Foundation (Mellon Humanities Initiative). <strong>Note: This talk will also be live streamed on Bowdoin?s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bowdoin.edu/live/">Live Webcasts page</a>.</strong>

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Akram Belkaid: "The Arab Spring Four Years After: A Failure or the Beginning of a Transition?"

April 8, 2015 7:30 PM  – 9:30 PM
Visual Arts Center, Beam Classroom

In 2011, several Arab peoples rose up against their dictatorial or authoritarian regimes. From Tunisia to Bahrain via Egypt, Yemen or Syria, the same slogans mobilized the masses: freedom and dignity but also bread and employment. "The people want the fall of the regime" was the now famous slogan adopted by protesters committed to ending decades of deprivation of their most basic rights, among them "the right to rights." This shock wave brought down regimes or forced leaders to leave power (Tunisia, Egypt). It obliged many others to open their purse strings to buy social peace (The Gulf monarchies, Algeria). Four years after this unexpected dislocation, the debate is far from over regarding the real and structural outcome of the so-called "Arab Spring." After a quick reminder of the events of 2011, this presentation addresses the following points:

- Should the Arab Spring be considered a failure in light of the dramatic situation experienced by countries like Syria, Libya or Yemen? Or, would it be more appropriate to see it as a long-term transition?

- What are the prospects for the two countries where the Arab Spring began? Tunisia is an exception with its democratic, but fragile, experiment while Egypt has returned to authoritarianism and violence.

- Is the rise of ISIS a consequence of the Arab Spring? How will the Arab world face the extremist threat in the coming years in a context of a rising terrorism and a weakening of states?

Akram Belkaid, born in Algeria, is a journalist and a writer. He lives in France and works for Le Monde Diplomatique, a monthly magazine specialized in geostrategic issues. He is also a columnist with Le Quotidien d'Oran in Algeria and he has published several books about the Arab world, among them: Being Arab Today (Etre arabe aujourd'hui, carnetsnord, Paris, 2011) and Back to Algeria (Retours en Algerie, carnetsnord, Paris, 2013).

This event is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the Departments of Romance Languages, Government and Legal Studies, and Religion.

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Francophone Film Festival: Cousin Jules

April 9, 2015 7:00 PM  – 9:00 PM
Sills Hall, Smith Auditorium

After winning a prize at the Locarno Film Festival in 1973, Dominique Benicheti's magnificent documentary about the quotidian rhythms of an elderly couple in rural Burgundy unjustly remained without US distribution for 40 years. Filmed over a five-year period--and shot in CinemaScope and recorded in stereo--this immersive portrait follows Jules Guiteaux (a distant relative of the director's) and his wife, Felicie, as they go about their formidable tasks. Jules, a blacksmith, is shown hammering out hinges and other implements as his wife tends to their vegetable garden and prepares meals and mid-morning coffee. Benicheti, working with cinematographers Pierre William Glenn and Paul Launay, patiently observes these labor-intensive chores, daily rituals that are attended to with utmost precision and grace and never less than transfixing to watch. Although Jules and Felicie, both born in 1891, rarely speak in the film, their silence conveys the deep intimacy of spouses who have spent six decades together.

Presented as part of the Bowdoin Francophone Film Festival, a part of the Tournees Festival, and made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, the Centre National de la Cinematographie et de l'Image Animee, and the Franco-American Cultural Fund.

Additional support provided by the Department of Romance Languages, La Famille francophone, as well as the Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund.

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Francophone Film Festival: Sister (L'enfant d'en haut)

April 16, 2015 7:00 PM  – 9:00 PM
Sills Hall, Smith Auditorium

A keenly observed examination of class differences and tenuous family ties, Ursula Meier's accomplished second film (after 2008's equally assured Home) focuses on 12-year-old Simon and his desperate attempts to survive. Simon lives in a bleak housing project in the valley of a posh Swiss ski resort. This tiny, cunning boy steals skis and other expensive equipment, later reselling it to his neighbors. The money Simon earns from his illegal trade supports not just himself but his young mother, Louise, a wayward, unemployed young woman in her twenties who tries to pass him as her brother. 

The contrasts between the abundant privilege of the vacationing skiers and the dreary hand-to-mouth existence of Simon are further highlighted by ace cinematographer Agnes Godard: She masterfully shoots the resort as a majestic expanse of bright blue and white, while, down below, Simon's immediate environment is rendered in punishingly drab gray. In his indelible, heartbreaking portrayal of Simon, Klein joins the ranks of cinema's greatest child actors.

Presented as part of the Bowdoin Francophone Film Festival, a part of the Tournees Festival, and made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, the Centre National de la Cinematographie et de l'Image Animee, and the Franco-American Cultural Fund.

Additional support provided by the Department of Romance Languages, La Famille francophone, as well as the Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund.

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Francophone Film Festival: The Lovely Month of May (Le Joli Mai)

April 22, 2015 7:00 PM  – 9:45 PM
Visual Arts Center, Beam Classroom

This landmark documentary, co-directed by Chris Marker and Pierre
Lhomme, was filmed in May of 1962, just after the passage of the Evian Accords, which officially ended the Algerian War. During this "first springtime of peace" - the first time in 23 years that France was not involved in any war - the filmmakers interviewed a random assortment of people on the streets of Paris, an endeavor that was made possible by new technological advances, such as portable 16mm sync cameras. Marker, unseen, prompts his interviewees -  ranging from highbrow engineers to a destitute mother to an Algerian teenager to a West African student - with questions about their personal lives and their feelings about larger political and social matters. Giving shape to these candid responses is Simone Signoret's piquant, poetic narration (co-written by Marker), which balances astringent assessments about Parisians' disengagement
with the world with an unequivocal empathy for many of the film's
interlocutors.

Presented as part of the Bowdoin Francophone Film Festival, a part of the Tournees Festival, and made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, the Centre National de la Cinematographie et de l'Image Animee, and the Franco-American Cultural Fund.

Additional support provided by the Department of Romance Languages, La Famille francophone, as well as the Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund.

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Francophone Film Festival: The Missing Picture (L'Image Manquante)

April 23, 2015 7:00 PM  – 9:00 PM
Sills Hall, Smith Auditorium

How can a filmmaker portray incomprehensible barbarity, especially when he himself and everyone he knew and loved was directly affected by this horror? Rithy Panh ingeniously uses carved and painted figures to represent himself and his family (and many others), who had to flee Phnom Penh for agricultural labor camps on April 17, 1975, the day that the Khmer Rouge seized Cambodia's capital city. 

In calm, occasionally astringent first-person narration, we learn that Panh was 13 when Pol Pot began his genocidal regime; by 1979, the year that the Khmer Rouge leader was removed from power, the director's parents, sisters, and a niece and nephew were dead, among the millions who perished. 
The title refers to the fact that almost all of the documentary footage - snippets of which is interspersed throughout the film - that exists from the Khmer Rouge's horrific four-year reign is nothing but propaganda that glorifies the party and its commander. What was never documented was the legions of Cambodians and their relentless suffering. Against intricately detailed dioramas, Panh's small clay human surrogates inexorably, almost magically, assume the qualities and dimensions of real people.

Presented as part of the Bowdoin Francophone Film Festival, a part of the Tournees Festival, and made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, the Centre National de la Cinematographie et de l'Image Animee, and the Franco-American Cultural Fund.

Additional support provided by the Department of Romance Languages, La Famille francophone, as well as the Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund.