Cafes. Baguettes. The City of Lights. The Eifel Tower. Montmartre. The Chat Noir. Lapin Agile. When it comes to France, Paris and all of its iconography, just thinking about it is bound to conjure up thoughts of love and romance.
And, in the cinematic imports from France, romantic films abound. Along with those romantic films, though, come motion pictures that visit other various aspects of sexuality and gender. This upcoming week, the Northern Arizona University 2012 French Film Festival, "Vive la Différence!," explores this with gender comedy features.
The screenings run from next Wednesday through next Friday, March 2. They show in the Liberal Arts Building Room 120. At 6 p.m. March 2, the festival will end with a key-note address by University of Arizona French professor Alain-Philippe Durand.
The film screenings are free and open to the public. A complete listing of films and their descriptions are available at http://nau.edu/cal/. Click on "events." The films are rated R, so viewer discretion is advised.
The films being screened include: "L'Auberge Espagnole (The Spanish Apartment)" at 7 p.m. on Wednesday; "Masculin/feminin" at 4 p.m. on Thursday; "Le nom des gens (The Names of Love)" at 7 p.m. on Thursday; "Potiche (Trophy Wife)" at noon on Friday (this one is in Room 136); and "La cage aux folles (Birds of a Feather)" at 4 p.m. on Friday.
"Gender identity is not only an issue of widespread interest to contemporary society, but is also a topic that is engaging, accessible and highly pertinent to college-age students," explained Patricia Frederick, Associate Professor of French and one of the co-organizers. "Our focus was on comedy rather than other genres because it allows this thought-provoking theme to be treated in a light-hearted and entertaining manner."
Frederick added, "Our choice of films was based upon their popular appeal. Some were chosen simply because they are among our personal favorites -- such as the wonderful drag comedy 'La Cage aux folles' -- while others represent particular movements in the history of cinema such as Godard's 'Masculin-féminin' (from 1966), of France's New Wave."
The movies shown also feature other socio-political issues that make them intriguing, Frederick explained. "Several of the films in the festival, including 'Le Nom des gens' and 'Potiche' (both from 2010), touch upon such important socio-political issues as immigration, multiculturalism and gender equality."
The French Film Festival is an extension of many popular films brought to NAU for the students and the community, including the International Film Festival and the NAU Film Series.
Free parking is available in Lots P11 and P7 after 4:30 p.m. Parking in metered spots at Cline Library parking lot P16 during the day is recommended.
The festival will end with a key-note address by University of Arizona French professor.
For information, visit the festival website, e-mail Astrid.Klocke@nau.edu or call (928) 523-6235.