Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"When I was your age, I had to drive through 18 inches of snow just to see a French film!"

Me and the family at the 5th annual Tournees French Film Festival.  Photo by Hanna Smolan.
 Last weekend I sat with my dear friend Janna Jones in the Wettaw building on campus to watch five french films.  Over 400 people braved the 18 inches of snow to watch them with us!!

  It was our fifth and final year for the Tournees French Film Festival.  I was really happy to have my mom and dad in town to watch a couple of films with me.  And it was fun that my son enjoyed the animated film (A Town Called Panic) so much that he came--to watch it again for the 3rd time! (It's somewhat gratifying that my offspring likes subtitled movies, even though they are animated.)

  So after trekking through the snow to get to the films, and driving adventurously to get home after it had been coming down for awhile, I felt like I needed to relax.  What did I do?  I poured myself a glass of wine and...turned on a film!

  For some reason, I appreciate film while I can't really stand television.  I think it's because film viewing is more interactive for me--I can start to appreciate the nuances of the work.  And even more than Hollywood, I really, really like foreign film.  I've gone through a Spanish horror movie phase, black and white French phase, Swedish-anything phase, and a Bollywood phase.  I also like shorts and animated films, and I think Europe is really good at both of these genres.

  A good film is challenging, like a good piece of art work, one that you can look at again and again and not get bored.  There's a sense of achievement when you "get" it, especially when you get it in another language and another culture. Jokes are funnier when you get them in another language, because you have to work a little bit harder to understand it all! Foreign films take me out of my everyday experience without having to travel.  I know that I will come away with a new understanding of another culture.  And I certainly know how to read subtitles, (it's easier than you think for those who criticize it!) 

  As I come to know myself better, I realize that what activities produce a good feeling in me, which things I will go to great lengths to be able to accomplish. Call me crazy, but an 18-inch snowstorm is no match for the good vibes I get from seeing good french film. 

Me and Hanna, student photog. extraordinaire



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