How much of it is an act?

How much of it is an act?

A crime film with a comedy twist set in the 1930s opened the 2024 French Film Festival at Pierce College on March 12. 

The first film of the festival was “The Crime is Mine (Mon crime),” directed by François Ozon. The film follows young actress Madeleine Verdier, played by Nadia Tereszkiewicz, and her rise to fame after being acquitted for murder. Students, staff and faculty attended the event in the Multicultural Center. 

One of the guest speakers during the reception was Benoît Labat, the Higher Education and Language Attaché of the Consulate General of France. After the film, attendees participated in a Q&A session led by Commercial Music Professor Mark Cross. 

Vice President of the French Club Chloe Bassirat said it was about bringing people together while learning more about the culture. 

“It’s just like a way to get people together, to have fun, French food, and it’s just a lot of fun,” said Bassirat, a business administration major. “Just socially, to get Pierce students in one room, talking and just enjoying being there.”

For student Shereen Saiyed, it was her first time attending the French Film Festival. 

“My major is music,” said Saiyed, who is also a student of French professor and co-organizer of the event Denis Pra. “While I’m singing French songs, that’s another reason why I’m here—to learn more about the culture, about the language.”

Music in film and media works best when it is complementing the scene, said Cross in an answer to a question from the audience.

French professor Denis Pra (left) and music professor Mark Cross (right) speak during the first event of the French Film Festival in the Multicultural Center at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif., on March 12, 2024. Photo by Fabiola Carrizosa. 

“What happens in music for film—the film is finished but before they start working on the post-production—the director and the composer will sit down and watch the whole movie as a rough cut, in what they call a spotting session,” Cross said. “And so they’ll identify each section of the movie that the director feels music needs to be there.”

Cross also offered his perspective on the music score of “Mon crime.” 

“I love a full orchestral score,” Cross said. “To me, that’s always fine, but I liked how the music would almost punctuate the comedy. When they would say a very comedic line, then you’d hear this ‘bum, bum.’ Well, of course, but it was done very tastefully, and so it always made me smile.” 

The French Film Festival will run until Tuesday, March 26. The last film of the event will be on April 18 for Multicultural Day. 

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