Whether you’re attending strictly as a Soundings student, enjoying a free movie, or are a sucker for French films, the third-annual Castleton International Film Festival is not something you want to blow off or, “give the rake,” as the French say. (Se prendre un râteau).
Film studies professor Michael Talbott will feature French language films with various nationalities and genres ranging from political thriller, to sci-fi romance, to a poetic realist film.
The festival will kick off with associate professor Gail Regan introducing the first film, “Girlhood” which is also a Soundings event, followed by professor Sanjukta Ghosh introducing the second film, “Timbuk2.”
Talbott explained that he hosts these film festivals every year, regardless of the hard work and planning that goes into it, because it needs to happen.
“It’s a lot of work, a couple dozen hours for each festival gets put into it … it’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it,” Talbott said. “Films like this aren’t shown around here, so this is great! This is the only way to see films like this in a communal environment. And I feel like a big part of watching movies is learning to watch them as a part of a community and there’s a fear that that will get lost because everyone watches things alone now.”
Rutland resident Martha Molnar has been a regular attendee since the festivals began and comes for some of the same reasons: the big screen and comfortable free seats, the conversation unpacking the context of the film before and after screenings, and because she simply enjoys them.
“These are films that I wouldn’t know about. They don’t come up on Netflix, and I wouldn’t choose to see them honestly. They are put into context before they are shown and the discussion after is very helpful … and it’s nice watching it with other people,” Molnar said.
Freshman Martin VanBuren is “stickler” for French films and is eager for the festival.
“Especially black and white french films, so I will probably be most excited to see “Le jour se lève” (Daybreak). However, there is a good chance I’ll go to see most of the other films as well. I think pushing myself outside of black and white French films would be good for me,” VanBuren said.
“There is a certain aspect of French cinema that I really love; the stories are always engaging for an audience, and the outline of the film does not follow traditional Hollywood films. They are also unpredictable; I haven’t seen a French film in which my prediction of the ending has come true. There is somewhat of a thrill of not knowing what the hell is going in a film; it just makes me think harder to understand what is going on. I think there is some value in going to see a film that isn’t in English, because the real world is filled with other languages that we should get to know,” VanBuren said.
But there are other reasons why Van Buren will be in the audience.
“To start, I have to go for class,” he said. “However, I really love French films and it isn’t everyday that I get to go sit in a theater-environment and watch something (for free nonetheless),” VanBuren said.
The festival will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. starting on March 1 with all screenings free and open to the public. And the festivals are likely to keep coming.
“I will keep doing it as long as we need to have that around here,” Talbott said.