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TED xpresses Ideas in Providence

TED talks have helped define viral video with their characteristic format. If you have email and a pulse, you’ve been forwarded at least a few TED talks over the last several years. Their “Ideas Worth Sharing” places experts and thought leaders — often people you might not have heard of, sometimes in fields you didn’t realize existed — on a large, round red carpet in front of an audience, and lets them talk.

Presentations are kept brief, topping out at 18 minutes. Often informative, sometimes intriguing, these pieces of video have been known to change the way people think about major issues. To encourage outside-the-box thinking, TED opened up regional offshoots called TEDx. Rhode Island’s took place on May 11.

Three segments presented local experts in arenas of social enterprise, arts and culture in our society, and gastronomy. The talks should be available on video soon.

Look for wise words from state poet Rick Benjamin and Rasoi creator Sanjiv Dhar, and learn about the origins of AS220 in a rousing anecdote by founder Bert Crenca. Waterfire founder Barnaby Evans describes the origins of that esteemed art event, and Davide Dukcevich has a charming and funny presentation on the wonders of gourmet ham.

Educationally, Khalil Fuller makes math fun and describes proven methods for engaging kids to learn practical math skills, while Angela Jackson discusses her involvement with the Global Language Project, which expands students’ horizons with foreign language education. Terry Nathan talked about creating jobs that are also art at the International Yacht Restoration School, and Hilary Jones talked about empowering and educating girls through Girls Rock!

There were presentations on the importance of being connected to your food, and to having it connected to natural and local processes — in the earth (by Emily Jodka) and in the sea (by Sara Schumann), and a remarkably well-spoken and self-possessed teen (Cassandra Lin) who created a community grease recycling program. Lisa Raiola shares a compelling personal story that led to the creation of an innovative commercial kitchen at Hope & Main in Warren.

In the realm of social enterprise, Meg Wirth described Maternova, a company bringing safer obstetric care to developing areas. Andy Posner described the Capital Good Fund, a program that helps combat poverty by connecting smaller investments with those who can leverage them.




Motif TV for May 9

Tattoos, plays and festivals happening over the next few days…




MotifTV April 24 Edition

This week, we have interesting events coming up, covered by Katie and Josh.

“Take Two”, a new monthly segment with Nicholas Iandolo and Rosemary Pacheco, discusses “The Place Beyond The Pines”.

And Rosemary gives her Scene and Heard breakdown on local filmmaking.




MotifTV Coming Soon

We believe in expanding media opportunities – so one of the new things we’ll be launching this year is MotifTV – video productions that give you more insight into some of the things we’re writing about.

This project is in Beta – so, the bugs are NOT worked out yet. But if you’re into watching your arts news instead of reading it – here’s a preview!

MotifTV – our first run down of interesting things coming up.

Film run down – a MotifTV segment by Rosemary Pacheco.

CCCP does Ten31 (it’s like a secret code!)

Gallery Night Providence – follow DebraLee and Caitlin on this trolly ride of artisticism.




Publisher’s Note

A good website is never done. I’ve told that to countless people and companies over the years, in my past life as a web developer. Now it’s a daily truth for me from a different perspective.
Motif’s web site took a big evolutionary step this month. If you’re a fan of the slick flip-book version of Motif that’s been online for a few years, we still have it (under “latest issue” on the right). But now there’s more – now you can like, share, tweet, forward or pin, and search the site for articles that interest you.
It’s far from done, though. We want to get more of the remarkable artwork Rhode Islanders produce into the site. We want to get every event we can lay our brains on into the event listings. We want to create space for more diverse reviews and opinions. I could give you our full list of what we have planned for Motif’s web presence – but there isn’t room in this column (darn you, print!).
We will be posting these sorts of thoughts online – and we’re looking for your help. If you’ve made it this far down the page, you’re more than a casual reader. You’re someone we want to hear from. You’re someone we’d love to get involved. Basically, you rock!
Our mission is to elevate awareness of the arts in Rhode Island, to celebrate those communities and to help them connect to their audiences – to get the word out.
For a state our size, there is so much happening. Any night a person within 50 miles of RI stays in because he or she didn’t know what else to do, that is a missed opportunity, a minor tragedy. Motif can help! (On the other hand, if you stay in because you’re tired, hung over, wearing one of those police-ankle monitors, or some other good reason – more power to you. Perfect opportunity to check out our website.)
Help us reach this goal. Tell us what will make our new web presence more exciting for you. More useful for you. More user-friendly. Share your ideas on making it better – and if you don’t have any, then share the site with your FB friends! Mostly, all I can think about is how far it still has to go, but we’ll be going there. Your patience is also greatly appreciated!
Right now, you can check it out at www.motifri.com – you’ll find 181 articles from the past year, 1,454 upcoming arts events listed, a few hundred images and some other good stuff. And all those numbers will have changed by the time you get there! Because we will never be “done” improving this site.
In this issue we reveal the nominees for the Motif Music Awards. This is an august tradition intended to recognize some of the often unsung musical talent around the state. Our nominees were selected by local performance venues, and the winners will be selected by you, our Motif readers.
So when you have a minute, get over to that website I was just prattling on about, and cast your vote for the bands or performers you feel represent excellence in each category. It only takes a couple of minutes, it’s free, and if you’ve had the opportunity to appreciate a musician at a venue in RI, this is a great way to show them. It’s like digital clapping! Only with a mouse. Click-clapping? I think that’s what you do with your fingers. Someone needs to invent a word here. Maybe your phone needs a clap-app.

 




Publisher’s Note

For years now, I’ve been picking up Motif to find out what was happening in local theater, music, events and entertainment – as well as who’s been caught with a hand in the cookie jar by Jim Hummel, or what shows and events are coming up.

I’ve enjoyed writing Motif’s film column for the last several years, but have always been interested in doing more to work with our high-octane arts community.

I have grown deeply convinced that the depth of artistic endeavor in Rhode Island, in its many, many varied forms, far exceeds what anyone should expect from a community our size. RI has a justified national reputation in numerous areas – for achieving the highest standards in arts, from the theatrical to the culinary, the musical to the written. Yet many times these artists don’t gain the same notoriety right here in our community.

At Motif, we want to help change that – to draw attention to highlights in the creative economy, and show locals and visitors the diversity and talent RI and nearby areas have to offer. In publishing Motif, I saw an opportunity to help that cause.

In our part of the world, some amazing things are happening – and some just plain fun, interesting or challenging things.

I’m stepping into some pretty big shoes – nobody pays more attention to what’s happening in RI arts than Motif founder and outgoing editor Jim Vickers. I want to thank Jim for creating Motif and for all his advice. We’ll continue to see some of his often controversial opinion pieces in these pages. Agree with him or disagree with him (I usually do both), but he’s fun to read.

There’s a tremendous team behind Motif that’s keeping things on track as I transition into the role of your new Publisher. Please feel free to let us know what you think of any of the new features we’ll be gradually adding – we have some exciting plans for content, for a new website, and more coming up.

We’re also exploring new niches in the entertainment scene – I’m excited that this issue explores Electronic Dance Music, a genre that’s escaped mainstream notice while thriving through newer social and online media, building a sub-culture and fan base almost invisible to those not involved in that scene. RI is full of stories like this – about robust cultures secreted in the crannies of our cobbled streets!

For now, we wanted to let you know there’s been a transition, but Motif’s mission in life hasn’t changed – to celebrate the local, the different and the undiscovered treasure. So wish us luck, and enjoy!




Waterfire Sparks Documentary

The air crackled with anticipation before the unveiling of the first official documentary to cover the WaterFire phenomenon.

The  premiere of “WaterFire: The Art and Soul of a City,” took place at the Vets Auditorium on Saturday, December 1st, to a full house that included Mayor Tavares, Buddy Cianci, MCs from the Rhode Show, numerous local luminaries and countless volunteers, on whose shoulders so much of WaterFire rests.

Musical warm up acts set the tone for the evening, with performances by WaterFire regular, fire dancer/musician Spogga and others.  The screening was enthusiastically received, concluding with a prolonged standing ovation.

The closing QA session was followed by a significant announcement for WaterFire: the organization, which currently scatters its boats, wood, staff and equipment across several spaces around Providence, will be renovating a new, extensive headquarters. The space will be shared with other arts and entertainment organizations – indeed, as the announcement was being made, supportive Roller Derby Players and members of ERB, filed on stage in silent, albeit visually striking, support. Mayor Tavares then announced that the city will support the project with a grant of $500,000.

Entering the premiere, I was concerned that we’d be watching one long infomercial. While the film certainly has some self-promotional elements, it very aptly avoids that trap, celebrating the event without waning self-congratulatory. The documentary ties in elements of Providence history, from the birth of the “Creative Capital” and “Renaissance City” all the way back to Roger Williams.

There’s a fun exploration of the earliest incarnation of WaterFire and how close it came to being a one-time-only event. In the middle of winter.

Fortunately for all who have enjoyed a fire-lit, musically accompanied stroll along the Providence River, the event took deeper root in the city. Estimates of the number of people who’ve been to WaterFire over the years exceeds the entire population of Rhode Island, several times over (estimated 15 million).

The documentary explores the impact of these visitors on the state, on other artistic ventures, and on attendees, sprinkling in fun facts. For example, one poll shows that support of WaterFire may be the only issue RI politicians all agree on. The film also follows the WaterFire team as it carries the torch to other cities, especially a recent excursion in Rome, Italy.

The cast of characters is diverse and lively, and director Joe Rocco of RocJo Productions keeps his story moving at a comfortable pace, with moments that are touching, surprising and funny. While artistic mastermind and creator of WaterFire Barnaby Evans and irrepressible former Mayor Cianci deliver most of the best lines, numerous other interviews contribute wit and wisdom, and the narration by Robert John Hughes (written by Mary Steele) ties the piece together well.

Capturing this night-time imagery is no small cinematographic challenge, and capturing the grandeur of an outdoor event is another real challenge in video – both are handled skillfully by director of photography (and editor) Jim Karpeichik, with assists from several videographers including Louis Leta, Thomas Payne and Scott Santos.

At 59 minutes, this video nimbly passes the “itchy bottom” test. And for hard-core WaterFire fans, there are 50 minutes of bonus features, extra interviews and a loop of some of the best footage, which you can play anytime you’re looking to create a little of that “WaterFire feeling.”

More information and DVDs for holiday stocking stuffing available at www.waterfire.org or www.rocjo.com .




Motif Talks to Chewbacca

Actor Peter Mayhew has portrayed Chewbacca, the lovable “walking carpet” from the Star Wars films, since the original film. He took a moment to speak to Motif writer Mike Ryan about his upcoming visit to Rhode Island.

Motif: How did you end up living in Texas?

Peter Mayhew: Well, I’m from the U.K., but I married a Texas girl, so here I am.

M: Are you looking forward to RI ComicCon?

PM: It’s fun to go these events – I’ve been to conventions all over the world, and you see people you know and people you like. I usually find it easy to get along with everybody.

M: What is it about Chewbacca that’s made him such a fan favorite?

PM: You know, I’ve been wondering that for 30 years. I think it boils down to how he looks after everybody. He is a teddy bear. He’s loveable and cuddly in a lot of ways, but he’s also always looking out for his friends. He’s got their backs. He’s a good listener. And he can fly the Millennium Falcon, which is pretty cool.

M: How do you get into character?

PM: Something happens every time I put on the mask or get into the costume, and Chewy just comes out. He sort of has a life of his own. And I’m amazed and grateful that after all this time, he still comes back. Which came in handy when they had me play him again in the “Return of the Sith” (Star Wars episode 3, released in 2005).

M: How did you get the role of Chewbacca?

PM: I was working in a hospital as porter. A local newspaper did an interview, and someone associated with “Sinbad and the Eye of Tiger” saw my picture. They were looking for a Minotaur. My role in that film led to Star Wars.

M: What’s it like to work as such a non-verbal character?

PM: You look at things differently. I think that if I hadn’t become an actor, I would have liked to be a puppeteer. I really enjoy finding ways to express things through body language, through movement.

M: Did you do the vocals?

PM: In the movies, the voice was added afterward. Then, later, I was doing a public interview and they asked me to do the voice. I did, and I ended up being cast to do the voice in the Clone Wars animated series. So I have done the voice of Chewy.

M: From an actor’s perspective, was the filmmaking experience different on the newer films?

PM: It was slightly different. In the newer films, there’s a blue screen and you’re reacting to objects or things that the director and crew have suggested are there. In the original, they were there.

M: Were you surprised to learn that Chewbacca was old enough to appear in the newer set of movies?

PM: It was great when I found out I’d be able to play Chewy in the Return of the Sith. I did know he was old enough – Stewart Freeborn, the amazing make-up artist who created the masks, told me he was making Chewy old enough to have a chance to be in the prequels.

M: What do you do when you’re not roaring at Stormtroopers?

PM: I have a couple of children’s books out – they help young people to accept their differences and be happy with who they are. And I work with the Peter Mayhew Foundation, which works with the 501stcorp of Stormtroopers and other people from the science fiction realm to help with events that benefit a number of good causes. It’s very rewarding.

M: How tall are you? Is your height related to the messages in your children’s books?

PM: I’m 7’2”. And yes, that’s part of what makes it important to me for people to accept that you are who you are. You know, I’m friends with Kenny Baker, who played R2. When we would hang out, it attracted a lot of funny glances. And my wife is 5’2”. Don’t ask how that works.

But when we walk across a room, you can see people noticing, and wondering, “How tall is he?” and then when we get closer, it can be funny to watch their faces.

M: What do you like to watch?

PM: Crime Procedurals. I like anything with a scientific element, like CSI.

M: What do you do for fun?

PM: My wife and I have a cabin we go to on the countryside. We have parrots, goats, pecan trees, four dogs.

M: Any final thoughts?

PM: Come visit us all at the ComicCon!




Salve French Film Fest Grows

Film Festival Brings French Culture to Newport

Salve Regina U brings a taste of French culture and film to Newport with their seventh annual French Film Festival.
This excursion into Gallic culture includes dance, music, food and wine at opening and closing events, and features 6 films over two weeks, from Sunday, March 18 through Thursday, March 29.

Originally inspired by a national foreign culture grant, the Salve French Film Festival has connected with a strong community interest in cinematic alternatives to standard Hollywood fare.
“It turned out to be a much bigger event than we ever expected,” says Allen Antone, Festival Coordinator and Special Programs Librarian at Salve Regina University. What started as a campus event tied to a class with roughly 30 students now draws viewers to fill a campus theatre with over three hundred seats and, for certain screenings, Newport’s Jane Pickens Theater. Many screenings sell out.
When the original grant expired, the festival had to become self-sustaining.
“We keep all the costs as low as possible,” Antone says, who notes that both individual tickets and festival passes are available online through salve.edu/frenchfilm. “A lot of people go for the passes, which has been a pleasant surprise over the years.”
Book-ended by receptions after the opening and closing films, where refreshments, wine and live music are featured, the festival includes a mix of genres and tones, “movies that are a little different, but good movies that stick with you,” Antone says. In most countries, film is seen as entertainment or commerce, but in France, it’s considered “the seventh fine art.” There’s greater focus on aesthetics, and the results may have a very different feel.
During the past year, this rich cinematic tradition associated with France did go mainstream in some surprising ways, featuring prominently in Oscar favorites Hugo, about Georges Melies’ work near the birth of French filmmaking, and French-made The Artist, a silent, black and white modern retelling of the life of silent film star George Valentin.
All the films at the Salve University French Film Festival are contemporary (from 2010-12), and all will be screened with subtitles. The selection committee chose films that vary in tone and flavor – some are serious, others lighter.
“We’re opening with a comedy – there are references to politics in France, and some uniquely French cultural references, but the students on the selection committee universally enjoyed it. The filmmaker is strongly influenced by Woody Allen, and has created a wonderful romantic comedy,” Antone says, describing the opening night film, Le Nom des Gens / The Names of Love (literally, “the Names of People.”), which will be shown March 18 at 7pm at the Jane Pickens theatre.
Other films will be shown at O’Hare Academic Center’s Bazarsky Lecture Hall on the Salve Regina Campus. These include Rapt, a thriller based on a true story from the 1970s, about a kidnapped industrialist, with an emphasis on the psychological aspects of how he and his family react to his abduction – and what they learn about his life after he’s taken. The third film, The Princess of Montpensier/La Princesse de Montpensier, is a historical drama based on Madame de Lafayette’s 1622 novella about love and desire during the brutal Catholic/Protestant wars. This is followed by Le Havre, a dramedy about friendship and politics in the titular French harbor city. The fifth film, A Screaming Man/Un Homme qui crie, is a quiet drama from Chad, a former French colony, and follows the relationship of a father and son during trying post-colonial times.
The festival also closes on an upbeat note with, “An upstairs / downstairs style comedy set during the 1960’s, when a lot of immigration was taking place from Spain to France,” says Anton. In France, the upper class would live downstairs and the servants upstairs (the reverse of the traditional British upstairs/downstairs relationship). This film, “The Women on the 6th Floor/Les Femmes du 6e Étage,” follows the mixing and interaction between families living in one such arrangement.
To learn more about the Festival and see trailers for the films, visit
www.salve.edu/frenchfilm

Correction: Note in a previous article about Murder University, I quoted Lenny Schwartz’ Facebook page as saying “Even though the politicians can’t suport each other, let’s make a statement here that THEATER and FILM folks can support EACH OTHER!” This quote should have been attributed to Mr. Schwartz’ publicist, Mary DeBerry.




Prov French Film Fest Holds Edge

From art & existential films to rock ‘n’ roll to lesbian vampires, Brown U continues bold programming

As it enters its 19th year, Providence’s French Film Festival brings a greater variety of French-Language films to Rhode Island for local audiences.
“We try to get films that can’t be seen here, but we’re also lucky to have such a diversity of genres and tones this year. In past years, we’ve often had a theme – but this year, it wasn’t really appropriate. We have a rock film, science fiction, animated films, fashion films, gangster films – genres French films are not typically known for,” says Shoggy Waryn, Artistic Director of the Festival and a Senior Lecturer in Brown’s Department of French Studies.

In the US, “French Film” has become almost synonymous with “Art Film,” Waryn says. “Internationally, there’s a reputation for being either artsy fartsy or cutesy wootsy – either a silly crowd pleaser or obscure, existential work.” In France, however, there’s more diversity.
“Those are the films that can most easily find international distribution, so they are the ones we are most likely to see in US theatres,” Waryn says. “But there were over 180 films produced in France last year, and more French-language films from Toronto.”
They represent French and Canadian cultural perspectives, but “there is a lot more variety, and much more mainstream sensibility to many of these films – they’re not the international blockbusters of Hollywood, but some have done very well in theatrical release in Europe.”
This year also features Blu-Ray projection and five films that will be shown from 35mm prints.
“35 mm is especially difficult – both to find with subtitles, and to get shipped from Europe and back, so we’re excited about these prints,” Waryn says.
The festival began as a cooperative effort at Brown University between the French Studies and Film / Modern Culture and Media Studies Departments, but over the years it has developed strong followings both with local sponsors, and with Rhode Island francophiles and cinephiles – a significant part of the audience has no direct relationship with the University, and last year 12 of the screenings attracted enough viewers to sell out.
Highlights from this year’s festival include the opening film, which will be shown at the Granof Center on Brown’s Campus. Bus Palladium, the directorial debut of Brown Alumnus Christopher Thompson, an established French actor and writer, is named after a famous Paris nightclub and explores the glory days of the 1980’s French Rock scene, following the rise and explosion of a band named Lust. The filmmaker has taken a detour from pre-production on his next film to visit Providence and speak at the film’s talk back, after the screening on February 22. “Convincing him to come was easy,” Waryn says. “Getting it scheduled – that was not so easy.”
The screening will start at 7pm, and is free and open to the public.
In its regular screenings at the Cable Car Cinema, the festival will also feature two films by graphic novelist Pascal Rabaté, Ni à vendre, ni à louer (Holidays by the sea), and Les petits ruisseaux (Wandering Streams), adaptations of his printed works. Also of note, Une vie qui commence (A life begins), an experimental film from Quebec, where the main character occupies almost every frame of the film.
“We can’t hear his thoughts,” Waryn says. “But the effect definitely brings us inside his head, inside his life.”
There’s Film Socialism, a Godard film “collage” about the future of Europe and the disintegration of traditional values. And Mammouth, a brutish film about a retiring slaughterhouse worker, played by award-winning actor Gérard Dépardieu, who takes a motorcycle trip that’s both cross-country and into his past.
“It’s done with handheld and low-budget film technology, but it’s the actor’s strongest performance in years,” Waryn says.
In what may be the festival’s first apocalyptic selection, Les derniers jours du monde (Happy ends), is a romance set right before the end of the world.
“It’s the end of everything,” Waryn says. “If you’re French, what do you do? You make love, of course!”
Another first is that the festival will present one film at the Cable Car and the Granof Center, at the same time.
Les Frisson des Vampires, also known as The Shiver of the Vampires or Vampiros Lesbos, will start at 9pm at the Cable Car and 10pm at the Granof Center on Friday, Feb 24. Presented in cooperation with the Arkham Film Society, this ’70’s cult film classic features a striking and sometimes eerily repetitive soundtrack, whimsical metaphysical musings, very unusual camera work, and a visual style that shows equal love for the distinctive, disturbed architecture of its dilapidated medieval castle setting and for its titular bevy of vampiric lesbian lovelies.
The festival opens on February 22nd and concludes on March 4th. Remember that a number of screenings have been known to sell out, so if you’re buying tickets at the door, try to arrive early.
www.brown.edu/Project/French_Film_Festival.

[movies]

Bus Palladium, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – The film depicts the euphoric highs and nauseating lows of musical stardom. Childhood friends Lucas, Manu, Philip, Jacob and Mario are all trying to make it big in the music industry. They seem unstoppable, with talent and ambition, sincere dreams of musical glory, and a very catchy band name: Lust. Speaking of which, enter Laura, an up-and-coming rock icon who seduces the young friends with her alternative sounds and her all-too-familiar feminine wiles. Runs – Wednesday February 22nd, 7:00 p.m. (The Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, 154 Angell Street, Providence)/ Sunday Feburary26, 12:00 noon

Tomboy, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – Tomboy sees Sciamma further exploring and meditating upon the culture and sexual politics of youth. While adapting to a new neighborhood, 10 year-old Laure is mistaken for a boy and chooses to sustain that “switch.” Runs – Thursday February 23, 6:30 p.m. / Sunday February 26 4:30 p.m.

Les derniers jours du monde, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – What would you do if you knew the world was coming to an end and there was not a thing you could do to stop it? The Larrieu Brothers attempt to find closure for the end of the universe in their latest film, which provides a fresh spin on the age-old question of imminent apocalypse. The film mixes genres, imagining the apocalypse as part sci-fi thriller, part romantic comedy, and with a splash of surrealism à la Luis Buñuel. Bathtub salesman, Robinson, is our unlikely protagonist. Robinson sees the end of the world as a timely opportunity for romance. After abandoning his wife and daughter for Laetitia, Robinson resolves to chase after his new lover, countering the end of times with an impossible quest for romantic fulfillment. With a hazy narrative structure that mimes the logic of a dream sequence, we follow Robinson from Taiwan to Canada and from France to Spain, alternating between images from his immodest past and his catastrophic present. Runs – Thursday February 23, 9:00 p.m./ Friday March 2, 9:00 p.m.

Les petits ruisseaux, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – Emile is a retired widower whose safe and uneventful existence is enlivened by his friendship with fishing companion Edmond. This peaceful life is shattered when Edmond reveals his secret life just before dying, leaving Emile suddenly aware that life is short and he’s not living his to the fullest. The film has a great cast, including a rare appearance by Bulle Ogier. Runs – Friday Feburary 24, 4:00 p.m. / Sunday March 4, 12 noon

Sans queue, ni tête, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – Jeanne Labrune, a past Festival guest, continues her sophisticated seriocomic study of the battle of the sexes. Utilizing the talents of the great Isabelle Huppert as high-class prostitute Alice who is introduced to Xavier a psychotherapist by a mutual friend. Both in some form of “mid-life crisis” bond in what cannot be simplified as a “therapist-patient” or “prosititute-client” relationship. Labrune is savvy enough to refrain from any easy categorization and we the audience benefit. Runs – Friday February 24, 6:30 p.m./ Monday February 27, 6:30 p.m.

Incendies, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – Canadian twins, Jeanne and Simon, are left two envelopes in their mother’s will asking them to find a brother and father they never knew existed. Journeying from Canada to Lebanon, the twins experience the twists and turns of their mother’s mysterious past, revealing emotionally charged and gut wrenching truths that are deeply rooted in Lebanon’s tumultuous history. Individual memories and national histories intersect in this adaptation of Wajdi Mouawad’s hit play,a moving story that brings the extremism and violence of today’s world to a starkly personal level. Runs – Friday February 24, 9 p.m. / Monday February 27, 9 p.m.

Le frisson des vampires, The Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, 154 Angell Street, Providence – Newlyweds Isa and Antoine travel to visit Isa’s distant family in their rural castle to celebrate their honeymoon, only to discover that the family is not what they expected. Not to mention that the family and their servants have less than the best of intentions for the couple. Frisson is one of Jean Rollins most beloved films, featuring his unique approach to exploration of the themes of love, life, sex, death, and vampirism, borrowing stylistically from surrealism and psychedelia. Presented by The Arkham Film Society and Kino Lorber and the Providence French Film Festiva in a newly restored copy. This film is R rated. Runs – Friday February 24, 10: p.m.

Ni à vendre, ni à louer, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – The influence of Jacques Tati’s Mr. Hulot’s Holiday is evident as the film follows a motley group of tourists and locals making the traditional French pilgrimage to the seaside. The ensemble cast works seamlessly as they bounce and bop around golfing, sunbathing, bed-hopping, attending a funeral, and a nudist camp. Rabaté impressively straddles the line between out-and-out farce and scathing critique. Runs – Saturday February 25, 12 noon/ Tuesday February 28 6:30 p.m.

Le vendeur, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – Calling to mind the seminal 1960s documentary Salesman by the Maysles Brothers, first-time director Pilote has fashioned a tough, uneasy narrative about a car salesman. Gilbert Sicotte stands out as the aging old-school salesman who, through a combination of failing to adjust his methods and the economy’s harm to his town, faces a bleak new world. Runs – Saturday February 25, 2:00 p.m. / Thursday March 1, 9:00 p.m.

Le jour d’avant, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – Loïc Prigent explores the world of high fashion by looking at great designers under the greatest amount of stress: the countdown to their latest fashion show. At times hilarious, at times extremely candid, these portraits give us exclusive access to the world of the high fashion industry that is unexpected as they highlight the amount of work and passion that animates the staff involved in the shows. The personality of the head designers, Gaultier and Lagerfeld, come in sharp focus under the lens of the camera and nothing is held back. In French and English. Runs – Saturday February 25, 4:00 p.m./ Sunday March 4, 4:30 p.m.

Mammuth, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – The venerable Gerard Depardieu takes center stage as Serge, a retiring slaughterhouse worker who may lose out on his pension due to bureaucratic errors and omissions. Serge takes action by returning to the village of his youth in search of missing employment documents. The return renews and recalls old friendships, old regrets, and one tragedy. Director Kerven is wise enough to let the cameras run on Depardieu as his under-rated acting comes through. Runs – Saturday February 25, 6:30 p.m./ Tuesday February 28, 9:00 p.m.

Les femmes du 6ème étage, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – Paris, 1962. Jean-Louis Jouvert, a wealthy stockbrocker lives astaid bourgeois existence with his perfectly-presentable socialitewife. But when the family’s maid abandons them, into the residence comes Maria: young, hardworking, and – quelle horreur – Spanish! Remarkably, it doesn’t take long for the building to become enchanted by the new arrival; Maria rallies the friendship of the other servants on the sixth floor (Almodóvar’s favourite señoritas, Carmen Maura and Lola Dueñas) and soon, the balance of the household ruptures into wild, cross-cultural chaos… Luchini and Kiberlain are terrific as the austere couple brought to life and then – potentially – breaking point. Still, the show arguably belongs to the lively ladies upstairs,including beautiful breakout star Verbeke. Runs – Saturday February 25, 9:00 p.m./ Thursday, March 1 6:30 p.m.

La fée, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – La fée follows an old school approach to light-hearted comic scenarios; a series of slapstick episodes recall the silent film era. Dom works the night shift in a small hotel near Le Havre. One night Fiona arrives with no luggage and no shoes. She tells Dom she is a fairy and grants him three wishes. Fiona makes two wishes come true then mysteriously disappears. Dom, who by then has fallen in love with Fiona, searches for her everywhere. Runs – Sunday February 26, 2:15 p.m. /Friday March 2, 4:00 p.m.

La mémoire dans la chair, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – Spain 1975: after a fifteen-year exile, Thomas returns home. He is there to bury his father, a Republican fighter who was jailed by Franco’s regime and had just died without regaining his freedom. The story of Thomas is the story of a man alone, back in his home country which he now barely knows. Nevertheless, ancient hates and grudges live on. Runs – Sunday February 26, 6:30 p.m. / Sunday March 4, 2:15 p.m.

Hors-la-loi, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – The French occupation separates three Algerian brothers: one joins the French Army in Indochina, one becomes a leader of the Algerian Independence Movement, and the third opts for debauchery in the shady clubs and boxing halls of Pigalle. The film strings us along through the many twists of fate that we hope will reunite the brothers. Director Rachid Bouchareb effectively steers us away from easy answers, with each possible resolution always leading to thornier complications. This is a film that lingers long after the screening, interweaving family stories with traumatic colonial histories. Runs – Sunday February 26, 9:00 p.m. / Saturday March 3rd, 9:00 p.m.

Film socialism, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – The film has three settings: a yacht populated by upper class whites, a small film crew readying a documentary on a self-employed French family, and a frenetic trip through Western European colonies. There are multiple conversations spoken in multiple languages, including some form of Navajo. And there are multiple media formats with jarring shifts from high to low quality. It all works to give a sometimes illuminating, sometimes obvious, and sometimes maddening meditation on freedom, liberty, and the unintended consequences of one nation’s “benevolence” to another. Runs – Wednesday February 29, 6:30 p.m. /Sunday March 3rd, 4:00 p.m.

Magic Lantern: French avant-garde shorts, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – Though created by independent artists with distinct orientations, all of these works emerge from a cinematic encounter with the substances once held to comprise the fundamental components of the natural world: earth, water, air, & fire. What happens when this classical subject is engaged through a distinctly modern medium like cinema? While certain of these artists utilize film to rediscover, harness, or communicate the import attributed to the elements by ancient thought, others offer more timely variations on this theme, refracting it through the lens of contemporary aesthetic developments, modern philosophy, or current political and cultural realities. Runs – Wednesday February 29, 9:00 p.m.

Une vie qui commence, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – Une vie qui commence opens with a life ending. The peaceful, safe existence of an early 1960s upper-class Quebec suburb family is shattered with the father’s (a doctor) death from overdose of a prescription med. Director Michel Monty then shapes the narrative into a meditation upon the family’s bereavement – particularly the oldest son, Étienne. How will Etienne work through the esteem he had for the father along with a torrent of memories? Runs – Thursday March 1, 4:30 p.m./ Saturday March 3,6:30 p.m.

Les mains en l’air, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – A curious mix of serious issues, humor, and suspenseful cat-and-mouse told from the point of view of 10 year-old Milana. Milana and her mother are Chechen exiles living illegally in France. Milana bands together some of her classmates and neighborhood kids to prevent deportation. Runs – Friday March 2nd, 2:00 p.m. / Saturday March 3rd, 2:00 p.m.

le gamin au vélo, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – Set in Belgium, the story centers on eleven-year-old Cyril whose father has abandoned him at a state-run youth farm. Cyril searches everywhere for his father, unhindered by the fact that his father hocked Cyril’s beloved bicycle just before disappearing. Cyril will do anything, even resorting to armed robbery, in his quest to reconnect with his only family. Runs – Friday March 2, 6:30 p.m. / Sunday March 4, 9:00 p.m.

Les émotifs anonyms, Cable Car Cinema, 204 south main street, providence. – Jean-René, the timid owner of a failing chocolate factory, hires Angélique, a talented but equally timid chocolate maker. While working together at the chocolate shop and trying to overcome their timidity, the two fall madly in love. With the future of the chocolate business hanging in the balance, both Jean-René and Angélique must struggle to overcome their self-effacing tendencies in order to confess their amorous feelings and save their business. Runs – Saturday March 3, 12 noon / Sunday March 4, 6:30 p.m.