Free Film Series Exploring Secrecy and Passion in New French Film

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Jan. 28, 2011 — Over five consecutive Mondays, from Feb. 7 to March 7, the Williams College Department of Romance Languages will screen five recent films from France as part of the series “Secrecy and Scandal: Clandestine Lives and Passions in New French Film.” Each screening will take place at 7 p.m. at Images Cinema on Spring Street. The screenings are free and open to the public.

The “Secrecy and Scandal: Clandestine Lives and Passions in New French Film” series presents films that explore the role of secrecy and scandal in the lives of women and men in contemporary France, from scandalous passions and romance, to secret talents, motives, and ambitions. Professor Brian Martin from the Williams College Department of Romance Languages, co-organizer of the festival, will introduce each film.

The series begins on Monday, Feb. 7 with Olivier Assayas’s L’Heure d’été (Summer Hours). This film examines a bourgeois family trying to negotiate the past, present, and future in contemporary France. Assembled for the birthday of their widowed mother, Hélène and three siblings celebrate what will be their last family gathering in the Île-de-France. An impeccably observed family study, Summer Hours is also a film about the eroding of a nation’s heritage by the demands of a globalized economy.

The following Monday, Feb. 14, Images will show Martin Provost’s Séraphine (Séraphine), featuring Brussels-born actress Yolande Moreau. The story is about a simple housekeeper who, in 1905 at the age of 41, begins painting brilliantly vivid landscapes in a naïve style with a passion that borders on artistic genius and madness.

On Monday, Feb. 21, Ursula Meier’s Home (Home) will be shown. The film investigates the thin line between sanity and madness, and the moments when family closeness becomes claustrophobia. What begins as a study of idiosyncratic domesticity seamlessly shifts into a portrait of psychological horror, and a cautionary tale about environmental disaster.

Feb. 28 will feature André Téchiné’s La Fille du RER (The Girl on the Train). Examining racism and intolerance in contemporary France, this film was inspired by true events of 2004, when a young woman falsely claimed to be the victim of an anti-Semitic attack on a Paris train by six youth of North and West African descent.

The last film of the series, Abdellatif Kechiche’s La Graine et le mulet (The Secret of the Grain), will be shown on Monday, March 7. The story takes place in southern France, where elderly dockworker Slimane decides to turn an old boat into a floating restaurant. The increasingly ailing Slimane will need all of his family’s help to accomplish this ambitious project.

All films are in French with English subtitles. These film descriptions were adapted from those found at:

The “Secrecy and Scandal: Clandestine Lives and Passions in New French Film” is a collaboration with the Tournées Festival of the French-American Cultural Exchange Council, which was made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and 
the French Ministry of Culture (CNC), as well as the Florence Gould Foundation, the Grand Marnier Foundation, and Highbrow Entertainment. Presented by the Williams College Department of Romance Languages and cosponsored by the Williams College Center for Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

Images Cinema is located at 50 Spring Street in Williamstown, Mass. For more information on each of these films, visit


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