Illinois College’s Tournées French Film Festival will be returning for it’s seventh year on February 4th. Devin Bryson, associate professor of world languages and cultures at Illinois College says that the school receives outside help to continue to provide the area with foreign films they may not have heard about. “It’s through a competitive grant from the French-American Exchange Cultural Center. We are lucky to have it and have the opportunity to bring these films to campus. For this year, we have 5 recent films and 1 classic film. That’s been the setup now from the last few years from the organization that provides the funds for the festival. I selected the films for this year. I’m really excited for the final film in the series, The Raven.” Bryson says he saw the film while he was in graduate school and it really intrigued him because of the breakdown of civic order in a small town when a rash of poison pen letters spreads suspicion among the residents are set against the Nazi Occupation of France during World War II.
The film festival is free and open to the public. All screenings are in the Kirby Learning Center Room 6 at 7 p.m. For the remainder of the schedule, Wild Boys will begin the festival on Tuesday, February 4th, Mrs. Hyde on February 6th, Tazzeka on February 11th, Vivre Riche on February 20th, and The Image Book on February 25th. The Raven will bookend the festival on February 27th.
Bryson says that he has seen the festival’s interest growing in recent years as native French speakers have immigrated to the area. Bryson says he has a connection to the African French-speaking community in the area. He says its tough to get many from the community to come to the festival because the showtimes don’t align with their work schedule. However, he has had some members come to showings in the past. He said its a great way for his students to engage with native French speakers in a social setting and share both language and culture together in a casual environment as well as discuss films.
Bryson says he sees the festival’s popularity has risen because of its ability of introducing the wider population to something different that they may not have much knowledge about. He says that streaming services have certainly helped French film gain somewhat of an audience, but he sees the festival as an opportunity for students and the community to learn together and gain awareness about little-known films.
Again the films are free and open to the public, with the first film Wild Boys showing in the Kirby Learning Center Room 6 beginning at 7PM on Tuesday, February 4th.