Lights, Camera, Action!

The French American Cultural Exchange has provided five French films for viewing during November at Penn State McKeesport. Mary Ellen Higgins, assistant professor of English, was instrumental in securing and selecting the films. "We are pleased that we have an opportunity to provide these fabulous multicultural films to our faculty, staff and students and to the general public. All of the films are recent; a few have only been released in select cities. Some films emphasize aesthetic innovations, while others delve into important cultural issues," said Higgins.

All films will be shown in the Ostermayer Room of the Student Community Center at Penn State McKeesport and are free to the public. For more information, call Academic Affairs at (412) 675-9140. The dates and times for all five films are listed below:

-- Tuesday, Nov. 1: 7 p.m., "Red Light," directed by Cedric Kahn. Antoine's wife has refused to accompany him to pick up their children at camp because of his reckless driving. Antoine picks up a spooky hitchhiker. The rest is a suspenseful story.

-- Thursday, Nov. 3: 7 p.m., "Grand Voyage," directed by Ismael Ferroukhi. Reda, a young student who lives in southern France, drives his father to Mecca. He does not speak Arabic and is indifferent to his father's religion. They travel through the landscapes of Italy, Serbia, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The films contemplates cultural and generation differences and challenges current stereotypes.

-- Tuesday, Nov. 8: 4:30 p.m., "Chaos," directed by Coline Serreau. Helene and her husband Paul nearly run over an Algerian woman, Noemie, who is pursued by angry men. She is beaten into a coma, and Helen becomes fascinated with her. Noemie later wakens and recounts her life as a prostitute in France. It is a suspenseful story that also deals with women's rights.

-- Thursday, Nov. 10: 7 p.m., "Viva Laldjerie," directed by Nadir Mokneche. This film narrates the stories of three Algerian women. It will be part of the November Teaching Africa program. Goucern grapples with traditional and modern expectations for marriage. Sandjak is a former exotic dancer hiding from fundamentalists. Fifi is a prostitute with an interesting array of clients.

-- Tuesday, Nov. 15: 4:30 p.m., "Monsieur Ibrahim," directed by Francois Dupeyron. This is a story about an aging Muslim man, played by Omar Sharif, who adopts a Jewish boy. The film is set in the 1960s, and the characters witness the filming of Jean-Luc Godard's film, "Contempt." The pair travel to Turkey together and the boy learns about poetic and peaceful versions of Islam.

The film festival was made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture.