April and the Extraordinary World

Avril et le monde truqué / April and the Extraordinary World

Campus Cinema @ Witherspoon Student Center

Thursday, February 1 @ 7 pm (103 minutes)
Introduction by Dr. Paul Fyfe, Dept. of English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

This one-of-a-kind animated adventure film ushers the viewer into an alternate reality in which the Bonapartes still rule France, electricity was never discovered, trees are a distant memory, and a steam-driven cable car connects Paris to Berlin. In this dystopic steampunk landscape, scientists have mysteriously disappeared for decades and April Franklin, the brilliant young descendant of a long line of chemists is in danger of being next.

Based on the unmistakable blend of urban grit and historical fantasy found in the drawings of Jacques Tardi, one of France’s most influential graphic novelists of the last half century, April and the Extraordinary World is not only an engrossing, wildly imaginative entertainment for the whole family but a slyly feminist statement, an ode to science, and an earnest plea for world peace. It is also one of the finest showcases for the visionary work being done in contemporary French animation.

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Black Girl

La Noire de… / Black Girl

Campus Cinema @ Witherspoon Student Center

Thursday, February 8 @ 7 pm (59 min + 20 min short)
Introduction by Dr. Samba Camara, Dept. of African, African American, & Diaspora Studies, UNC Chapel Hill College of Arts & Sciences

The first film by Senegalese master Ousmane Sembène and the first feature produced in sub-Saharan Africa, Black Girl is the story of Diouana, an illiterate nursemaid from Dakar who follows her French employers to the Côte d’Azur with dreams of discovering France. Despite its short running time, Black Girl is an extraordinarily dense film, packed with unexpected narrative turns and human and political insight.

The screening also includes Sembène's Borom Sarret, which tells the story of a poor man trying to make a living as a cart driver in Dakar.

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My Life as a Zucchini

Ma vie de courgette / My Life as a Zucchini

Monday, February 12

Hunt Library Auditorium

7 pm (68 min)
Introduction by Dr. Cecilia Mouat Croxatto, Dept. of Art + Design, College of Design

Though bravely realistic, Swiss director Claude Barras’s charming stopmotion animated film is an unexpectedly uplifting look at childhood tragedy. After his alcoholic mother’s death, nine-year-old Icare—known to his friends as Zucchini—is placed in a group home where he soon forms alliances and rivalries with a group of kids in equally difficult circumstances, including the son of drug addicts and the daughter of a deported refugee.

My Life as a Zucchini is imbued with a real-life sense of childhood wonder, both through its inventive animation and its commitment to exclusively telling the story from the children’s perspective. The result is a marvelously nuanced, finely crafted depiction of childhood, as appealing to young people as adults. My Life as a Zucchini was nominated for a 2017 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

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Frantz

Frantz

Campus Cinema @ Witherspoon Student Center

Thursday, February 15 @ 7 pm (113 min)
Introduction by Dr. Michael Garval, Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literatures, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Shortly after World War I, in a provincial German town conspicuously devoid of its young men, Anna discovers a stranger at the grave of her late fiancé Frantz, one of the thousands of young Germans killed in the war. The stranger soon introduces himself to Anna and Frantz’s parents as Adrien, a French friend of the dead soldier.

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Fatima

Fatima

Campus Cinema @ Witherspoon Student Center

Thursday, February 22 @ 7 pm (79 min)
Introduction by Dr. Graham Pitts, Dept. of International Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Writer-director Philippe Faucon’s long-running project of making films about those members of the French population traditionally left off-screen reaches a state of grace in Fatima, perfectly balancing sharp observation of the harsh realities of the immigrant experience with an inspiring story of individual resilience. Fatima is a middle-aged, divorced Algerian woman living in a French suburb, cleaning houses and offices from dawn to dusk to provide her spirited teenage daughters with a better future.

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My Friend Victoria

Mustang

Campus Cinema @ Witherspoon Student Center

Thursday, March 1 @ 7 pm (97 min)
Introduction by Dr. Hatice Ozturk, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering

Deniz Gamze Ergüven goes beyond evoking the mystery and marvels of the world of adolescent girls to decry the denial of women’s rights the world over. Mustang begins at the point when the childhoods of five orphaned sisters in the Turkish countryside come to an abrupt end: when their grandmother and uncle learn they have been seen splashing around in the sea with boys, they lock them up inside the house.

The film holds our interest and carries our hope through the unrelenting rebellion of the youngest sister, Lale, whose long-planned escape from oppression and the sisters’ unbreakable bonds and explosive liveliness in the face of a repressive society are the giddy counterbalances to a sobering account of a state of affairs that holds true for millions of young women. As such, Mustang, a French co-production and nominee for the 2015 Academy Award for best foreign film, is not only a profoundly enjoyable viewing experience, but an essential one.

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