Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tournées Film Festival Continues

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Illusionist

Sylvain Chomet’s delightful follow-up to 2003’s The Triplets of Belleville is another exquisitely animated film, one based on an unproduced script by the French comic genius Jacques Tati (which was given to Chomet by Tati’s own daughter). The Illusionist is set in the early 1960s, the time when Tati wrote the screenplay after his huge success with Mon Oncle (1958).  As an homage to the source material, Chomet’s title character is the spitting image of Tati and is given his real name, Tatischeff. This middle-aged, slightly stoop-shouldered magician is upstaged by his rabbit during
performances in Paris; at his shows his London, the illusionist can’t begin to compete with a wildly popular proto-Beatles band.  But he finds far more appreciative audiences in small pubs in Scotland—and makes a devoted teenage friend, Alice, a poor cleaning girl who follows him to Edinburgh.  The two form a touching father-daughter bond, with the illusionist determined to secretly provide Alice with the nice clothes she so admires—finery that isn’t procured through magic, but through a series of funny odd jobs that the conjurer takes. Though neither the magician nor his young charge speak each other’s language, The Illusionist, like Tati’s work, beautifully shows the ways people understand each other nonverbally.

“Here, cinema is envisaged as a magical hall of mirrors in which Chomet can conjure an impossible dance across time and space between himself, the late director who has been his greatest inspiration, and their own respective filmic personae.”   Anton Bitel, Sight and Sound.

DIRECTOR                                                                                                            GENRE
Sylvain Chomet                                                                                                      Animation

SCREENPLAY                                                                                                      RUNNING TIME 80’
Sylvain Chomet. Original screenplay by Jacques Tati.

Best Animated Feature – César Awards (2011)
Best Animated Film – New York Film Critics Circle (2010)

Friday, October 14, 2011

A recent review of Dr. Rathbun's Afterglow

A Monthly Feature of New Poetry Books

Alberto Blanco is one of the more prominent poets emerging in Mexico, after the Octavio Paz era, since the 1950’s. Afterglow is his twenty-eight published book of poems, along with dozens of essays, translations and children’s books. Jennifer Rathbun, accomplished in the field of Latin American Literature, translates from Spanish.  The trick for a translator is to keep the melody and not miss the harmony. Perhaps because Blanco was a chemist by profession, he has a passion for precision and order. Craft is the cage that holds his huge existential themes. We’d be lost without Blanco’s careful cadence and supreme control of the line. His poetry is an unending silver ribbon of thought, sometimes appearing without premeditated unity or symmetry, but once assembled, the poems are perfect performances on the page. These poems tackle meditations on the biggest issues of love, life, death and make it all new. I’m grateful when ordinary words, world weary, are dazzled into a new order.

SQUARE ROOT OF TWO                               

When lightning arrives

enchantment ends

and time commences.

When time arrives

concentration concludes

and the couple begins.

When the couple arrives

duration ends

and harvest commences.

When autumn arrives

harvest concludes

and knowledge begins.

and the second poem in an 18 part section titled “Cages of Creation:”


Moon, crystal of melodic embassies,

in the dripping net of this mirror

its poplars the bridge buttons.

With direct help from mercury,

with the white shadow of he who ignores

the symmetric amalgam of birth

causal limits break.

It is the constant weight of days,
the alliance of love and its bite.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Persepolis is the poignant story of a young girl coming of age in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It is through the eyes of this precocious nine year old, Marjane, that we see a people's hopes dashed as fundamentalists take power - forcing the veil on women and imprisoning thousands. Clever and fearless, she outsmarts the “social guardians” and discovers punk, ABBA and Iron Maiden. Yet when her uncle is executed and bombs fall around Tehran, during the Iraq/Iran war, the daily fear that permeates life in Tehran is palpable. As she gets older, her parents worry for her safety and decide to send her to school in Vienna when she turns fourteen. Vulnerable and alone in a strange land, Marjane endures the typical ordeals of a teenager. She also has to combat being equated with the religious fundamentalism she is trying to escape. Over time she finds acceptance and even love but remains terribly homesick. Marjane decides to return to Iran to be close to her family. After a difficult period of adaptation, she enters art school and gets married, all the while continuing to speak against the hypocrisy she witnesses. At age 24 she realizes that although she loves her country she cannot live there anymore and she decided to leave for France. 
“The same history translated into a live-action drama could never be depicted with the clarity and narrative drive that bold, simple animation encourages.”   Stephen Holden, The New York Times
DIRECTOR                                                                           AWARDS
Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud                                    Jury Prize, Cannes Film Festival (2007)
                                                                                          2007 Best animated feature, New York Film Critics Circle SCREENPLAY                                                                     Best Adaptation and Best First Film, Césars Awards (2008)  
Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud
VOICES                                                                                RUNNING TIME: 95’
Marjane: Chiara Mastroianni                                                 PRODUCTION: France, 2007    
Marjane's mother:
Catherine Deneuve
Marjane's grandmother:                                                       RATING: PG-13
Danielle Darieux
Marjane's father: Simon Abkarian
Young Marjane: Gabrielle Lopes

Thursday, October 6, 2011

FL Chair's presentation in Mexico City's Palace of Fine Arts is making the grade

Professor Rathbun and Author Alberto Blanco in the 
Palace of Fine Arts on October 2, 2011:

Read what the Jornada, one of Mexico City's largest newspapers, has to say about Professor Rathbun's recent presentation in the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City.

Monday, October 3, 2011

2nd Annual French Film Fest Coming Soon!

COMING SOON!  On Wednesday evenings from Oct. 19 to Nov. 16, Foreign Languages and French Club present the second annual Tournées Film Fest: five award-winning French films you won't want to miss!  In French with English subtitles, free and open to the public. HCSC Auditorium at 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 19 : PERSEPOLIS
Wednesday, Oct. 26:  COCO AVANT CHANEL  / Coco Before Chanel
Wednesday, Nov. 2:  L'ILLUSIONISTE  /  The Illusionist
Wednesday, Nov. 9:  DES HOMMES ET DES DIEUX  /  Of Gods and Men
Wednesday, Nov. 16:  UN SECRET /  A Secret