World Languages Week brings Euro films

Rachel Jenks

“Le Tableau,” or in English, “The Painting” begins by welcoming viewers into the painting where the film’s characters live. Vivid colors and mixed animation styles create a visually beautiful setting, one that is soon revealed to be a façade for the ugly classism and racism that prevails in the painting.

One group of characters, the Allduns, have been fully painted and colored in; the Halfies have been only partially painted, and the Sketchies are just sketches, barely visible.

The Allduns preach that The Painter has abandoned them, only finishing them because they are the “chosen people.” To try to remedy these issues, three characters, one from each class, embark on a journey that takes them outside of the painting in search of the creator.

The film is able to address topics such as race, classism and religion in a barely veiled and easily understandable way.

Released in 2011, the French animated film is written and directed by Jean-François Laguionie.

It is quintessentially French with its attention to social issues, star-crossed lovers and abstract style.

The film tips its hat to several renowned painters, with Georgia O’Keeffe-style flowers and paintings reminiscent of Manet’s “The Fifer” and Matisse’s “Reclining Odalisque.”

The showing of “Le Tableau” was a part of World Languages Week. Other foreign films that were screened include the Polish film “Ida,” Spanish film “Relatos Salvajes” and German documentary “German Town: The Lost Story of Seaford Town, Jamaica.” With a different film event held each day, the week culminated on Friday with six different internationally focused talks and demonstrations.

Each year the Modern Languages and Literature department in conjunction with the English department and college of arts and sciences host World Languages Week.

It’s a time for the language departments to share the importance of learning about foreign languages and cultures.

“What we’re hoping to do is intrigue people,” Tara Foster, associate professor of French, said. “We’d like to give people a little more exposure to different cultures and different language traditions.”

Foster and the foreign language departments hope this film series will inspire people to learn more about foreign languages and cultures.

Bri Rose, a junior French and international studies double major, attended Friday’s events.

“I think it’s good for people to get a view of other cultures and what happens in parts of the world that they don’t really know about or hear a lot about in the news,” Rose said. “I feel like without that knowledge people just have a Western view and Western opinions, and they don’t really get an idea of what other parts of the world are like.”