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Film "en français"

- July 10, 2014

Participants at the Summer Institute in Film Studies. (Nick Pearce photo)
Participants at the Summer Institute in Film Studies. (Nick Pearce photo)

Film is a global language — and, for the next week, it’s decidedly bilingual at Dal.

Dalhousie, together with l'Université Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris 3), is currently hosting the first joint Summer Institute in Film Studies. About a dozen or researchers and graduate students from Paris, Halifax, the British Isles and other Canadian universities are spending the next week discussing emerging issues around “global/local” issues and analysis in film.

The institute is part of an ongoing collaboration between Dalhousie — in particular, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) — and the Sorbonne. The partnership plans for a series of research-related initiatives in the coming years in areas such as literature, film studies and social sciences. (Sorbonne Chancellor Marie-Christine Lemardeley also attended installation proceedings at Dal last fall.)

The institute also follows the participation of several members of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (including Dean Robert Summerby-Murray and Associate Dean Research Julia Wright) at a symposium at the Sorbonne last June.

Expanding collaborations

Jerry White, Dalhousie's Canada Research Chair in European Studies, is the lead organizer of the summer institute.

“We wanted something general, that could include faculty from the Sorbonne but would also attract a variety of graduate students,” explains Dr. White, speaking to the institute’s theme. “’Global/Local Film’ is very broad, very current and it seemed like a topic that would allow a lot of different people to participate.”

Raphaëlle Moine, professor of cinema and media studies at the Sorbonne, explains that her university’s film studies program is one of the oldest in the world, dating back 40 years, and together with its research centre covers film and emerging visual media from a variety of different perspectives.

“One way to support relationships between universities is to organize institutes like this that allow small parts of the university to come together,” she says. “It’s a great way to meet other colleagues and advanced students working in different contexts… You have time to get to know each other, became familiar with our respective research and find a basis from which other collaborations and other types of exchanges can stem.”

Internationalism in action

The summer institute features three days of seminars, followed by a mini-conference for graduate students. Each day features one seminar in English and one in French, along with a mid-day screening connected to those seminars’ topics.

“We want everyone, especially the undergrad students [who are helping with the institute] to be thinking about issues of globalization and localism, and to grow accustomed to dealing with them in a bilingual fashion, in both French and English,” says Dr. White. “We hope it leads to a broader internationalism, both in subject matter and the way the work is approached.”

The institute is also featuring free public screenings this week. So far, these have included The Artist (Michael Hazanavicus, France, 2011), Nostalgia de la luz (Patricio Guzmán, France/Chile, 2011) and a program of political documentaries curated by Halifax filmmaker Sylvia Hamilton. The screenings conclude this evening (Thursday), with the award-winning documentary Arctic Defenders, with director John Walker in attendance.

Future institutes in the works between the two universities will focus on digital piracy and defence and security.


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