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Tournées Festival Will Feature French Films in October University News
For release: October 2, 2009

For press information, contact Jonathan Judaken, 901-488-7475

The University of Memphis Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, in conjunction with the Marcus Orr Center for the Humanities, will present the Tournées Festival, a series of French films not seen before in Memphis. All are free and open to the public. The movies are in French with English subtitles.

Comme un Juif en France (Being Jewish in France), will be shown Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 6 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, 6560 Poplar Ave.

All other films will all be screened at 7 p.m. in the Psychology Auditorium at the U of M. They include: Thursday, Oct. 8, Un Secret (The Secret); Monday, Oct. 12, La Graine et le Mulet (The Secret of the Grain); Wednesday, Oct. 21, Le Fils de l’epicier (The Grocer’s Son); and Thursday, Oct. 22, Peur(s) du noir (Fear(s) of the Dark).

Parking is available in the Central Avenue parking lot or the Fogelman parking garage on Innovation Drive.

The Tournées Festival is made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture, as well as Public Service Funds at the University of Memphis.

For more information, email Dr. Denis D. Grélé at or visit

Below are brief reviews of the films.

Comme un Juif en France

Yves Jeuland's sweeping documentary explores the rich and complex history of Jews in France, the first country to grant Jews citizenship. The film investigates the complex relationship that French Jews have had with the French Republic and, in turns, the multiple ways in which French society has dealt with its Jewish population over the course of history. At a time when France is often portrayed as one of the most anti-Semitic nations in Europe, Being Jewish in France represents a unique opportunity to better understand the history of Jews in that country.

Un Secret

A Secret follows the life of a Jewish family in post-World War II Paris. François, the son of Maxime and Tania, is a solitary and imaginative child who invents for himself a brother and the story of his parents’ past. One day he discovers a dark family secret that shatters his life forever. When François discovers the truth, the family will be forced to revisit their difficult past.

La Graine et le Mulet

The Secret of the Grain takes place in the southern French city of Sète where Slimane, the patriarch of a large and vivacious North African family, is an elderly dockworker. When his job of many years is suddenly no longer secure, he decides to restore an old boat in the harbor and turn it into a floating couscous restaurant. Vibrant cinematography and dynamic editing make this personal story all the more engrossing; each individual character is amazingly distinct, while their interpersonal dynamics are rendered with startling clarity and familiarity.

Le Fils de l’epicier

When his father has a sudden heart attack, it’s up to jaded and distant Antoine Sforza, a young man who has distanced himself from his roots, to take over the family business at the age of 30. Leaving behind his dead-end job as a waiter and his tiny apartment in Paris, he grudgingly moves home to Provence, in the south of France, to run a small mobile grocery store. This subtle, closely observed film was directed and co-written by Eric Guirado, who has a sharp eye for detail and dialogue.

Peur(s) du Noir

Six leading graphic artists and cartoonists turn their personal terrors into reality in this nightmarish animated anthology. Stylistically connected, the stark black-and-white imagery adds a layer of the surreal to the already disturbing subject matter. Narrated by well-known French comedians, these stories raise goosebumps that only recede when Nicole Garcia tells a much more lighthearted story in a humorous and harried voice.

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