Every year I like to catch at least one of the films premiering at my local Focus on French Cinema Film Festival and this year is no exception. This year I’ve actually chosen (tickets already purchased!) two very different but equally inspiring films making their U.S. premiere.
The first is Sur le chemin de l'école (On the Way to School), the winner of the 2014 Cesar (equivalent of an Oscar) for Best Documentary, whose simple trailer so deeply touched me that I not only bought a ticket right away but also felt compelled to share it here with all of you. As I said, Sur le chemin de l'école is a documentary which follows four children from different parts of the world - the Kenyan wilderness, the hills of Patagonia, the Atlas Mountains and the Bay of Bengal – and shares the incredible lengths each must go to each day as they face long, arduous and sometimes life-threatening journeys to attend school.
Incredible, don’t you think? I can’t imagine my knuckleheads being willing to walk more than maybe two blocks to get to school. As it is they bum a ride from their grandmother most mornings so as to not have to stand on the corner waiting for the bus. They won’t just stand and wait so forget about trekking through a desert or wading through a river. Thank God they live in the good ole’ US of A because if not they’d probably be dumb as dirt.
The second film is Belle et Sébastien (Belle and Sebastien); based on a children’s novel, the story is set in the Alps and focuses on the indestructible friendship between a young boy and a wild dog and their attempts to subvert the efforts of the Nazis occupying their village. The cinematography looks breathtaking and the boy and dog are adorable too, so I couldn’t pass this one up either.
In years past the festival had been held at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College but this year’s round of films have been moved to the Bow Tie Cinemas in Greenwich, CT (April 4-6) and New York FIAF – Florence Gould Hall (April 8). Check out the link above and see if there’s something that catches your fancy. Maybe I'll see you there.