French Film Festival’s eighth season runs March 17-28

Salve Regina’s eighth annual French Film Festival will again bring a French cultural flair to Newport with six important and diverse films from France, Quebec and Belgium, all with English subtitles. The festival, which attracted more than 2,000 spectators from the Salve Regina and Newport communities last year, will open Sunday, March 17 at the historic Jane Pickens Theater. All other films will be screened in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall.

The festival’s opening reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. Sunday with a cash bar hosted by the Jane Pickens Theater, with a selection of wines and French cocktails. The feature film, “Monsieur Lazhar,” will begin at 7 p.m. Enter the raffle for a chance to win a basket of French products offered by festival sponsor French Source.

Festival passes and tickets to opening night may be purchased online at or by calling (401) 341-2250. All other tickets must be purchased at the door. Festival passes to all films and events are $25, weeknight films are $5 and Sunday screenings with receptions are $10. Salve Regina students are admitted free with valid University ID.

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Film schedule:

“Monsieur Lazhar” (drama)

7 p.m. Sunday, March 17, Jane Pickens Theater

This nominee for an Academy Award for best foreign language film tells the poignant story of a Montreal middle school class shaken by the death of their well-liked teacher. Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag), a 55-year-old Algerian immigrant, offers the school his services as a substitute teacher and is quickly hired. As he helps the children heal, he also learns to accept his own painful past.

“The Fairy” (comedy)

7 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, Bazarsky Lecture Hall

Dom is a night clerk at a small hotel in the industrial port city of Le Havre. One night, a strangely dressed woman named Fiona arrives and claims she is a fairy. She grants Dom three wishes, and makes his first two wishes come true before mysteriously vanishing. By now, Dom has fallen in love with Fiona, and he embarks on a search for his elusive fairy. This third feature film from physical comedians Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy presents a series of slapstick set pieces that hark back to the work of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Jacques Tati.

“Point Blank” (action thriller)

7 p.m. Thursday, March 21, Bazarsky Lecture Hall

Gilles Lellouche plays Samuel, a nurse working at a hospital when his pregnant wife (Anaya) is kidnapped before his very eyes. Knocked unconscious, he comes to and discovers that a dangerous criminal named Sartet is responsible, and if he’s ever to see his wife again, he must do Sartet’s bidding. Samuel quickly finds himself pitted against rival gangsters and trigger-happy police in a deadly race to save the lives of his wife and unborn child.

“The Well-Digger’s Daughter” (historical drama)

2 p.m. Sunday, March 24, Bazarsky Lecture Hall

Acclaimed French actor Daniel Auteuil stars as the eponymous well-digger Pascal, a widower living with his six daughters in the Provence countryside at the start of World War I. His eldest daughter has returned home from Paris to help raise her sisters, and Pascal dreams of marrying her off to his loyal assistant Felipe. When she is impregnated by a wealthy young pilot who promptly abandons her for the frontlines, Pascal is left to contend with the consequences.

“Curling” (dark comedy)

7 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, Bazarsky Lecture Hall

Set on the fringe of society in a remote part of the countryside, this film by renowned Quebecois director Denis Cote takes a keen look at the unusual private life of a father and his daughter. Between his unremarkable jobs, Jean-Francois Sauvageau (Emmanuel Bilodeau) devotes an awkward energy to Julyvonne (Philomene Bilodeau). The fragile balance of their relationship will be jeopardized by some dreary circumstances.

“The Kid With a Bike”

7 p.m. Thursday, March 28, Bazarsky Lecture Hall

This new film by the Dardenne brothers delves into the emotional life of troubled 11-year-old Cyril. When his father abandons him, Cyril obsessively searches for his bicycle, placing his last bit of hope in this symbol of their relationship. Almost by accident, he becomes the ward of a kind hairdresser, who seems surprised to find herself so determined to help him. With his wild, unpredictable behavior and his disastrous search for father figures, Cyril risks losing her – though she refuses to give up without a fight.

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