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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 30, 2006

February Film Festival Features Contemporary French Cinema

Five contemporary French films will be screened and discussed when the February French Film Series kicks off on the University of Iowa campus Feb. 4, beginning with "Henri Langlois: Phantom of the Cinémathèque" (Fantôme d'Henri Langlois), a 2004 film directed by Jacques Richard.

All events will take place in 101 Becker Communication Studies Building, and admission is free and open to the public. The films are in French but all carry English subtitles.

The films include:

-- 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4: "Henri Langlois: Phantom of the Cinémathèque" ("Fantôme d'Henri Langlois"), a 2004 film directed by Jacques Richard. The film is a richly textured portrait of a visionary who co-founded the most important film archives in 1936. Despite meager financial resources, Henri Langlois was able to save and store thousands of film copies, even during the Nazi occupation of Paris. He was also deeply committed to showing them to the public at the Cinematheque, which became the only place where one could discover classics that were no longer screened, and new films that did not make it to commercial theaters. These screenings, which Langlois presented with buoyancy, helped to turn dozens of young men and women into film lovers and filmmakers.

-- 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11: "Intimate Strangers" ("Confidences Trop Intimes"), a 2004 film directed by Patrice Leconte. Anna has an appointment to meet with Dr. Monnier, a psychiatrist, for the first time. She accidentally knocks on the wrong door and ends up confessing her marriage problems to William Faber, a tax accountant. Surprised by her mistake, unsettled by her distress and somewhat excited by this unexpected situation, William does not have the courage to tell her that he is not an analyst. As the two begin to meet on a regular basis, a strange ritual develops between them.

-- 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18: "The 10th District Court: Moment of Trial" ("10ème chambre- Instants d'audience"), a 2004 film directed by Raymond Depardon. From May to July 2003, Raymond Depardon was granted special permission to film the proceedings of a Paris misdemeanor court's hearings. The result, "10th District Court: Moments of Trial," is a unique documentary on the ins and outs of the French judicial system. Depardon selects the stories of 12 men and women and films their encounters with the law. From drunken drivers to illegal immigrants and violent husbands, all 12 must explain their side of the story to Judge Michèle Bernard-Requin.

-- 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24: "Games of Love and Chance" ("L'Esquive"), a 2003 film directed by Abdellatif Kechiche. Set in a bleak suburban housing project, "Games of Love and Chance" follows a group of teenagers, poor and immigrant for the most part. Many are involved in a class production of Marivaux's 18th-century classic "Les jeux de l'amour et du hasard." The rehearsals, both in and out of the classroom, are often the stage for their daily interactions.

-- 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25: "Notre Musique," a 2004 film by Jean-Luc Godard. Screening and panel discussion. Part poetry, part journalism, part philosophy, Jean-Luc Godard's "Notre Musique" is a timeless meditation on war as seen through the prisms of cinema, text and image. Largely set at a literary conference in Sarajevo, the film draws heavily from the Bosnian war, but also on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the brutal treatment of Native Americans and the legacy of the Nazis.

The festival was made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture, and is locally sponsored by the UI Institute for Cinema and Culture, International Programs and its European Studies Group and the department of French and Italian and department of Cinema and Comparative Literature in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information about the festival, contact Jayne Machak at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Media: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,