MSU Cinema International Presents "France" This Week
Murray State's Cinema International presents the 2021 French film France this week. The film, centered around a troubled news reporter, continues the satirical theme of last week's film Network. Derek Operle speaks to program director Dr. Thérèse St. Paul ahead of the upcoming screenings.
From the MSU Cinema International website:
"Léa Seydoux brilliantly holds the center of Bruno Dumont's new film, which stars out as a satire of the contemporary news media before spiraling out into a tragicomic and deliciously ambivalent story—a very 21st-century treatment of the difficulty of maintaining identity in a corrosive culture.
Dumont casts Seydoux as France de Meurs, a seemingly unflappable superstar TV journalist whose career, life, and psychological stability are shaken after an accident, which triggers a series of self-questionings."
"It's as if the character played by Faye Dunaway in Network has been catapulted to the 21st century with her stardom," St. Paul explains. "As the movie unfolds, she connects with her conscience. So, whereas Network leans into an absurdist tale, this goes the other way."
St. Paul says the heavy media criticism was a sore spot for some viewers at the Cannes Film Festival. "Because Cannes is, sorry to say, part of the media that was criticized in France. Networks are after ratings; movies are after making money. Anything they think is too critical, they might give it a boo. We've seen it before. I think this film fell prey to that. It is a good movie—I think it needs to be understood, and you need to understand Bruno Dumont, the filmmaker."
"[Dumont] likes to look at women who are pretty strong. He has two sides to him: realism and avant-garde. This movie, France, is a bit of both. His style is interesting. He focuses on [Seydoux]'s face, and she has an amazing face. She's an excellent actress. She can play emotions, and she does." St. Paul says that unlike Faye Dunaway's character in Network, the character France shows humanity.
"Another thing that's very satirical," St. Paul adds, "is partly stage war zone interviews. We're left to wonder, is that really what's happening? Could that happen? That what you see on the news could be partly staged? So, we are, as a public, asked and left to wonder. It's not totally fake news, but it's adapted news to suit a certain camp or ratings. This is really what the movie's about—having to deal with that, having to juggle with what is being said and from the perspective of the newscaster."
MSU Cinema International presents France this Thursday, September 29th, in the Barkley Room and Saturday, October 1st, in the Curris Center Theater. Both screenings start at 7:30 pm and are located on the third floor of the Curris Center. Screenings are free and open to the public.
For more information on the Cinema International program, including upcoming screenings and how to donate, visit its website.