JAMESTOWN - Prendergast Library will host a French film night at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 20, with a showing and discussion of "The Class."
In 2008, this was the first French film in more than 20 years to receive the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
Directed by Laurent Cantet, "The Class" is a drama whose original French title, "Entre les murs," translates to "Between the walls" or "Within the walls." It is based on a 2006 semi-autobiographical novel by Francois Begaudeau about teaching the French language and literature in a middle school in Paris.
Begaudeau co-authored the screenplay and stars in the role of a teacher struggling to instill a passion for learning. Nonprofessional actors portray the students.
"It's fascinating to watch this teacher and novelist negotiate a year with racially-mixed students from a tough Parisian neighborhood," according to Michele Gerring, event organizer and discussion leader.
"The film reveals several critical issues in French society, in particular, the challenging socio-economic conditions that minorities face, which complicate the efforts of educators to encourage all their students to succeed academically and socially," she said.
Ms. Gerring is a doctoral candidate in French, having studied French and Francophone literatures and cultures at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. She has taught French language, literature, and culture for five years, as a graduate student at the Ohio State and Bowling Green State Universities in Ohio, and spent more than a year as a student of French literature and civilization in Paris and Tours, France.
She has a strong interest in contemporary French civilization, and her dissertation topic involves issues relating to the integration of minorities of North African origin in French society, which is addressed in "The Class."
Ms. Gerring is trying to initiate a group for French speakers in the Jamestown area, and hopes that this film night will stimulate local interest in French culture. For more information about the French group, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prendergast Library is located at 509 Cherry St., Jamestown. Call 484-7135 for information about the film night and other upcoming events.