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Festival of French Cinema opens March 17

Released: 02/24/2006

LSU Alexandria is giving its students and the public an opportunity to view some of the finest contemporary French-language films as part of its first-ever Festival of French Cinema.

Five films will be shown free of charge on three consecutive weekends beginning March 17 on the LSUA campus.

It is a first for LSUA, which competed with hundreds of universities throughout the United States to participate in The Tournees Festival, a film grant program launched in 1995. LSU Alexandria is one of 84 American universities selected to participate in the program this year.

The festival was made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture (CNC).

The Tournees Festival was introduced to encourage the distribution and viewing of contemporary French films at educational institutions. Some 250,000 students have attended the screenings over the past 10 years.

At LSU Alexandria, a different film will be shown each evening at 7 p.m. in the Nursing Auditorium, 132 Coughlin Hall, on March 17, 18, 24, 25 and 31. There is no charge to attend any of these films, which will be in French with English subtitles.

Organizers got to pick the five featured films from a wide variety of choices.

“We have quite a stimulating selection,” said event organizer Dr. Shonu Nangia, assistant professor of foreign languages at LSUA. “The festival will be very enjoyable and should appeal to a wide cross-section of the community.”

The five films, and the dates they will be shown, are as follows:

Friday, March 17: “8 Femmes” (8 Women) A murder-mystery musical, director Francois Ozon’s send-up of ‘50s melodramas features star turns by three generations of France’s finest actresses.

Saturday, March 18: “Viva Laldjerie” This film explores the lives of three women in Algiers as they manage to get by despite their daily difficulties.

Friday, March 24: “Carnages” (Carnage) A wildly original story that defies classification, this film traces the bizarre, often magical, effects that a 1,000-pound bull has on a disparate group of characters.

Saturday, March 25: “Le Placard” (The Closet) This film is described as a broadly funny, trenchant satire on political correctness in the corporate world.

Friday, March 31: “Etre et Avoir” (To Be and To Have) Documentary filmmaker Nicolas Philibert trains his camera on the microcosm of a one-room schoolhouse in a remote mountain village in the Auvergne, following 12 students ages 3-11 through an academic year.

Tournées distributes approximately $75,000 in grants annually. The program is made possible with the support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Centre National de la Cinématographie, the Grand Marnier Foundation, the Florence Gould Foundation and the Franco-American Cultural Fund (SACEM, the Writers Guild of America, the Directors Guild of America and the Motion Picture Association).

For more information about the five films and the LSU Alexandria festival, visit or contact Dr. Shonu Nangia at 767-3978 or

For more information on the Tournees Festival grant program, visit