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FRENCH_DEPARTMENT

Timbuktu at The Strand

Timbuktu, winner of seven Cesar Awards including Best Picture, will be shown at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at The Strand Theatre, 921 Main St., Grinnell. The screening is free and open to the public.

The film centers on proud cattle herder Kidane, who lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife, Satima, his daughter, Toya, and Issan, their 12-year-old shepherd. Their home is near the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu in the West African nation of Mali.

Jihadists determined to control the faith of Timbuktu residents have imposed a grinding interpretation of Sharia law. Music, laughter, cigarettes and even soccer have been banned. Kidane and his family have avoided the chaos that reigns in Timbuktu — but their destiny changes suddenly after a tragic accident.

A nominee for the 2015 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, Timbuktu also garnered seven of France's Cesar Awards. In addition to Best Picture, the film won Best Director for Abderrahmane Sissako, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Music, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound.

Timbuktu is rated PG-13 (for violence and thematic elements). Sponsors of the screening are the French and Arabic department, Center for the Humanities, Center for International Studies, Intercultural Affairs, and the Cultural Film Committee.

Synchronizing Mind and Body

Wellness on Grinnell’s campus comes in as many forms as its students have passions, and they don’t have to be strictly athletic passions.

Synchronized swimming has been a fixture in Tea Cakarmis ’17’s life since her childhood, and it wasn’t something she could leave behind her when she came to Grinnell. After arriving on campus, she formed the Grinnell Synchronized Swimming Club to keep synchro in her life and make it possible for other students — regardless of skill level, body type, or experience — to fall in love with it as she has.

Bringing Synchro to Grinnell

I envisioned the Grinnell Synchronized Swimming Club as a community, one that encourages both artistic expression and the development of athletic abilities.

At the age of 13, I was selected as a swimmer of the Serbian National Synchronized Swimming Team. I was both petrified and extremely honored. The five years I spent on the team before coming to Grinnell have been the most meaningful of my life. My teammates became my sisters as we shared countless hours of training, frustrations at being away from home, and pride in our accomplishments.

Swimmer performing move in a pool is mirrored by the pool's surface above.While competing internationally, we traveled together from Jerusalem to Geneva, we made countless friends and memories, and we spread our love for a unique sport that unifies ballet, gymnastics, swimming, and theatre. We performed routines requiring physical abilities equal to those of any other professional athletes — endurance, core strength, and flexibility. And we executed our routines gracefully, in sync, and while smiling — even underwater, we smiled. Although we were all too aware of the fact that our sport enjoyed little recognition in our country, we knew the value of what we were doing; we were our country’s ambassadors, painting the accurate picture of our people and our culture through our talent.

Through it all, the competitions and the pressure, synchro always remained my safe space. And it’s because it is such a beautiful mixture of all different athletic and artistic disciplines that it allows the performer to communicate any type of emotion or state of mind. It gives the performer an ability to enact their own reality or create a completely new one in the water. Because it is so subjective and open to interpretation, I believe that it is enhanced by the diversity of its performers.

Synchronized swimming is traditionally viewed as a sport that strictly prescribes the body type of the performer and thus excludes a lot of possible perspectives on the discipline. Although this remains somewhat true even today, the sport in general is becoming more accepting. I formed the Grinnell Synchro Club in that spirit. I wanted all of my club members to establish their own unique approaches to synchro.

Forming the Grinnell Synchro Club offered me yet another opportunity to be an ambassador, to represent the sport I love and my home country. It is a club that, to my surprise and excitement, has been growing during the past year. During my year abroad it will be led by two inspirational swimmers — Zala Tomasic ’18 and Tess Fisher ’18 — and it will be accepting all new members, with any level of experience.

Author Teodora Cakarmis ’17 is a French and political science double major from Belgrade, Serbia; Tess Fisher ’18 is an undeclared major from Oak Park, Ill.; and Zala Tomasic ’18 is an undeclared major from Skofja Loka, Slovenia.

Molière's First Scandal: L'Ecole des Femmes

 

French scholar Jean Garapon comes to Grinnell to lead a three-week short course on Molière's first five-act play, L'Ecole des femmes (The School for Wives).  

Garapon, who has published widely on French literature during the age of Louis XIV, will be guiding students through the play, which was labeled obscene and anti-religious when it was first performed in 1663.  In addition, Garapon will discuss the social context that determined Molière's unique form of satire.

 

French

The French program explores the diverse literatures, identities, and cultures of the French-speaking world. All courses are taught in French, provide intensive work in oral and written expression, and are approached from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students may meet prestigious artists, intellectuals, and government figures hosted by the department.

International Scholars and Writers, Films and Events

Recent visitors include the following:

  • Mabrouck Rachedi (French author of Algerian origin)
  • Alain Geismar (French leader of 1968 strikes)
  • Michel Wieviorka (French sociologist who studies violence, racism and antisemitism)
  • Glenn Myrent (Film critic and author; taught a short course on "La Nouvelle Vague")
  • Mohamed Kacimi (Algerian author and journalist)
  • Ken Bugul (Senegalese author)
  • Véronique Tadjo (Ivoirien author)
  • Lawrence Kritzman (Professor of French at Darmouth College)
  • Slimane Benaïssa (Algerian author)
  • Philippe Manière (journalist from Le Point)
  • Daniel Vernet (journalist from Le Monde)
  • Didier Rousselet and Monica Neagoy (directors of Le Néon, a Washington based Franco-American theatre company)
  • Fatima Gallaire (Algerian playwright)
  • Euzhan Palcy (film director from Martinique)
  • Aurélien Recoing (French actor)

Alumni Recitation Hall (ARH)

The Alumni Recitation Hall contains classrooms for classes in the Social Studies and Humanities, as well as faculty offices for departments of foreign languages and Classics. The facilities also include a 158-seat screening auditorium, the multipurpose Meredith AudioVisual Center, and an additional computer lab with multiple printers for both classroom and general student use.

ARH is wheelchair accessible. An elevator at the south end makes it easy to reach the auditorium and accessible restrooms on the third floor. Automatic door operators are located on the southeast and southwest sides, and accessible parking is available along Park Street.