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First of seven French-language films starts Wednesday, Oct. 4; festival continues through Nov. 15.

COURTESY: GKIDS - 'My Life as a Zucchini' will be the first film of seven that feature the French language. The stop-motion movie dazzled audiences last year.Forest Grove residents will have the chance to brush up on their French thanks to a film festival coming to town next month.

Pacific University, in collaboration with Tournées Film Festival, will showcase seven movies that feature the French language.

The effort to hold the event started when Pacific's Jeanne-Sarah de Larquier, head of the French department, put an application together in May of this year and applied for a grant.

"We found out that in order to successfully get the grant, we had to reach a wide audience," she said. "I reached out to my colleagues around the university and asked if they would be interested in taking part, or including it in their syllabi for the next school year, and many were interested in integrating the films into their teachings."

The Tournées Film Festival is made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, the Centre National du Cinéma et de l'Image Animée, the French American Cultural Fund, the Florence Gould Foundation and Highbrow Entertainment.

In planning for the event, de Larquier strategically picked films from the designated list that would appeal to different audiences. One of the requisites for getting the grant for putting on the festival is that one of the chosen movies must be a classic film — the other picks can be as recent as last year.

The festival will kick off on Oct. 4 with "My Life as a Zucchini," a stop-motion animated film that follows the story of a young boy who is sent to a foster home after losing his mother. Alongside other orphans, he begins to learn the meaning of trust and true love. The screening will start at 7 p.m. and will feature a post-discussion led by Professor Jennifer Hardacker.

Just in time for National Coming Out Day, "Blue is the Warmest Color" will be shown at 7 p.m. on Oct. 11. There will be a pre-screening discussion at 6:30 p.m. led by Professor JayeCee Whitehead and de Larquier. Based on the graphic novel of the same name, the coming-of-age romantic film revolves around Adele, a French teenager who discovers desire and freedom when a blue-haired aspiring painter enters her life.

Held in conjunction with an Around the World event happening on Oct. 20, the festival's classic film choice, "Black Girl," will be aired at 7 p.m. Although all of the other films are being screened in the Forest Theater on Main Street, this one will be shown in Taylor Auditorium 216 in Marsh Hall on Pacific's Forest Grove campus. The film is centered on Diouana, a young Senegalese woman, who moves from her homeland to France to work for a rich French couple. In her new home, Diouana hopes to continue her former nanny job and anticipates an easygoing life. But from her arrival, she experiences harsh treatment from the couple, who force her to work as a full servant.

Professor Rick Jobs will lead a post-film discussion.

"Elle," a 2016 psychological thriller film that generated quite the buzz in movie circles last year, will be the fourth in the festival line-up, and will air on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. with a pre-screening discussion led by Professor Martha Rampton. Based on the novel "Oh ..." by Philippe Dijan, the movie follows the story of a successful CEO of a video game company who tries to learn the identity of the man who raped her.

"Fatima" will kick off National Muslim Month on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. The movie is centered around a woman of the same name. After she is injured in a fall, she writes her two daughters letters in Arabic to express things she has never been able to express in French. The post-film discussion will be led by Professor Ramona Ilea.

The next film will span two nights, Nov. 8 and 9. "Homeland (Iraq Year Zero)" is a 2015 documentary that chronicles the lives of Iraqi citizens before and after the United States' devastating invasion of the country. Both evenings will feature a pre-screening discussion with Professor Jim Moore, with the screenings following at 7 p.m.

The final film to be showcased at the festival is "Frantz," showing on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. The movie is set in the aftermath of World War I — a young German who grieves the death of her fiancé in France meets a mysterious Frenchman who visits the fiancé's grave to lay flowers. The post-film discussion will be headed by Professor Lorely French.

The festival has been supported by numerous faculty members, students and organizations on campus, to the point where there's currently enough money to stage the event again next year. According to de Larquier, schools can only apply for the grant for four consecutive years. She's collecting a list of professors who will be integrating the festival's films into their courses for submitting information to the festival for future grant.

"This is super exciting, of course. [The festival] will benefit the school's French program, but also the community at large," said de Larquier. "It's free and open to the public to attend, so we hope to see lots of people over the course of the event."

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