International Film Series to feature dozen films

When film director Bong Joon Ho accepted the Golden Globe award for Best Foreign Language Film, he told the audience, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

Baldwin Wallace students will have this opportunity at the 2020 International Film Series & Tournées Festival of New French Cinema.

The film festival, which began on Friday, Feb. 14 and continues the weekend of Feb. 21, showcases a combination of classic and recently released films not in the English language. All screenings are free and open to the public and take place in Marting Hall Room 114.

One of the classics presented as part of the Tournées Film Festival is “Rendez-vous de Juillet (Rendezvous in July),” a 1949 film that was revolutionary in its depiction of youth in France according to Dr. Nadia Sahely, chair of the Department of World Languages.

“It is one of the early films about an early youth culture,” said Sahely. “I think we often think of youth culture in the late sixties in the French new wave, and this is actually earlier.”

Throughout the two weekends, a total of 12 films will be shown, each selected to display the diversity of the international film industry. In the French-language portion of the selections, the film “Vivre Riche,” a film from the West African nations Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, was included, according to the event’s student coordinator Klementyna Pozniak.

“It gives you a really rich diversity of the Francophone speaking countries,” Pozniak said. “It gives you a broader range of what French cinema and French culture is.”

Other countries represented at the festival include Belgium, Italy, Germany, China, Mexico, Lebanon, Cyprus, Qatar and Poland.

The International Film Series and Tournées Film Festival is made possible due in part to grant funding from the French Embassy, the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée, the French American Cultural Fund, the Florence Gould Foundation and Highbrow Entertainment. According to Sahely, BW was one of about 50 universities across the country to receive this funding, which catalyzed the reintroduction of the Tournées festival to campus this year.

As part of the International Film Series, BW has collaborated with entities across the state to engage fans of foreign film.

“Our outreach ranges from local high schools in this area to [university] world language programs throughout a lot of Northeast Ohio,” said Pozniak.

According to Pozniak, the International Film Series offers BW students a chance to expand their cultural awareness and expose themselves to new and unfamiliar experiences in the arts.

“It’s opening horizons and making us more cosmopolitan which I see as a benefit,” said Pozniak. “The better you can understand another culture, the better you can understand not only yourself but the world around you.”

Pozniak said that the International Film Series’ goal of broadening cultural understanding across campus fulfills the Baldwin Wallace University mission statement.

“BW preaches this idea of ‘we’re creating global citizens,’” she said. “How can you be a global citizen if you don’t see other cultures and the art that they create?”

For a full schedule of the films and events included in the 2020 BW International Film Series and Tournées Festival of New French Cinema, visit