By Blake Wedding —

Diversity seems to be at the heart of this year’s French Film Festival, as the University of Louisville aims to showcase a varied compilation of uniquely distinguished films for students. 

This year the French Film Festival includes everything from romantic comedies, animated films to more serious dramas. Some of these films reflect on current events, while others offer more detailed character studies. 

Associate French professor Matthieu Dalle is one of the people behind the festival who has worked tirelessly to bring this carefully selected collection of films to students. 

Dalle hopes the festival will shed light on the importance of French cinema to students and act as an introduction to French cinema. He hopes this selection of films might convey how French cinema is unique to American cinema and highlight how it is unique and unparalleled to contemporary American cinema.

He believes the French Film Festival will cater to the needs of any type of casual movie-goer, film-buff and cinephile alike. Dalle believes that the films selected for this year’s festival reflect an urgency for inclusion of all types of movie-goers. 

“We want students to realize that there is something for everyone,” Dalle said. “French cinema does not always have to be experimental or ‘intellectual’ in nature.” 

Dalle also understands there is a common false assumption amongst American moviegoers that French cinema is oftentimes arduous, experimental, artsy or avant-garde in nature. 

Dalle and his collaborators working behind this year’s festival are hoping to dispel those notions and change audience beliefs little by little. “On one hand you have a French romantic comedy called ‘Return of the Hero,’” Dalle said. “And on the other, you have a film like ‘Young Ahmed’, which is directed by the Dardenne brothers, which couldn’t be more different.” 

According to Dalle, “Young Ahmed” is looking to be the best pick of the festival. “Young Ahmed” was first screened at last year’s Cannes Film Festival to almost universal critical acclaim and tells the story about a boy who becomes exposed to radical Islamic principles. Dalle believes this is just one film at the festival that is successful in telling a complex and harrowing story in a nuanced and thoughtful manner.

The French Film Festival is currently screening at U of L’s Floyd Theater on Thursdays and Saturdays now through March 7 with an additional screening of the animated film “Dilili in Paris” at the Speed Cinema Feb. 23. 

Graphic by Alexis Simon//The Louisville Cardinal

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