New wave cinema, timeless humor

New wave cinema, timeless humor

The Multicultural Center got a taste of 1960’s French New Wave cinema and even though it’s dated, the laughter from the audience proved that some humor is timeless.

On March 21, the French Film Festival held a screening of the romantic comedy “Baisers volés (Stolen Kisses),” and more than 80 people were in attendance. 

The film follows a man named Antoine Doinel, played by Jean-Pierre Léaud, and the difficulties he faces as he jumps from job to job while finding himself and falling in love with multiple women.

Attendees watch a screening of “Stolen Kisses” at the French Film Festival held in the Multicultural Center at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif., on March 21, 2024. Photo by Finn Andrade.

These events for appreciating French culture are being encouraged by France itself. 

“We have a grant from the French Embassy,” French Language Professor Denis Pra said. “They give us a selection of 14 movies more or less, so I have to watch everything,”

Pra then selects a movie for the festival with the help of his colleague Donna Accardo based on what types of themes and topics they would like to cover. In this case, “Stolen Kisses” is a film in the style of French New Wave, a filmmaking movement started in the late 50s that was contributed to by the director of “Stolen Kisses,” François Truffaut. 

This is the fourth year the French Film Festival has been organized, according to Pra, and they are also working to present newer movies. 

“I believe we have 50 percent of the movies that are done in the 2020s. Even the first movie was from 2023, so it’s very recent.” Pra said. 

Before the movie, Film Professor Kenneth Windrum provided some background details to point out some of the more obscure aspects of the production that were specific to the time.

“I like how we got a history behind the movie and certain Easter eggs to look out for beforehand before we saw it,” film major Christopher Rubenstein said. “It gave a lot of context to the film because I know who Truffaut is, but I’ve never seen any of his films before. To kind of get a background on him and his movies and how some of them are connected, it made me more excited for it.”

Chris Rubenstein asks a question during the Q&A portion of the French Film Festival in the Multicultural Center at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif., on March 21, 2024. Photo by Finn Andrade.

After the lights came back on, Professor Windrum opened the floor to questions and discussed the film with the audience. 

“I think there’s an analytical, philosophical quality to French culture that is very unique in this world,” Windrum said. “As a literary culture, French literature is incredible.”

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