Film-lovers might be focused right now on the drama of the Cannes Film Festival, but this summer travelling festivals bring French film to communities throughout the US. Films on the Green, which opens on June 7th, in New York, is a celebration of French film, but it is also a celebration of community. The festival began six years ago as a series of projections in community gardens in lower Manhattan and Harlem. From those humble beginnings the festival now draws a crowd of around 4000, and shows classic and contemporary French film for free in six different neighborhoods across the city. This year, for the first time, the festival will expand beyond Manhattan, to engage a Brooklyn audience with two contemporary French films, one for families and one for adults, in Transmitter Park.
Bringing French culture to different communities – not just providing it to those who seek it out – is central to the mission of the Cultural Services. The festival screens its final film at Columbia University, at the start of the new school year, and DJ’s from WNYU provide music before each screening, inspiring the next generation of French-culture lovers.
Cinephiles in Chicago, Boston, Fort-Lauderdale and New Orleans also have summer French film festivals to look forward to. In Chicago The Music Box Theater hosts a festival of the best of recent French cinema, and in New Orleans, 2013 is the 15th annual French Film Festival at the Prytania Theatre. This festival travels from Paris, France, to ‘Paris, Paramount’ with ‘Funny Face’ starring Fred Astainre and Audrey Hepburn.
In Boston the Museum of Fine Arts hosts the 17th Annual Boston French Film Festival, showing contemporary French cinema, with a special showcase of films that attempt to place themselves outside of narrow definitions of ‘nationality’, which ‘skirt the uncharted social topologies of complex cultural landscapes in France and around the world’. The program includes work by internationally renowed artists Valérie Mréjen, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Eric Baudelaire, Cécile Hartmann, Elsa Fauconnet, Moussa Sarr, and Théodora Barat.