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Film Festival: Across Generations: Unveiling the Past, Embracing the Present


August 24, 2023
three women in the mountains with text "Across Generations"

In collaboration with Columbia Maison Française, The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities is co-sponsoring the Across Generations fall film festival.

About the Festival

Columbia University’s Maison Française presents six films in its 2023 film festival, Across Generations: Unveiling the Past, Embracing the Present, curated by Shanny Peer, Fanny Guex, and Ilana Custos-Quatreville. Five of the films are documentaries and one is an historical fiction. Five are recent releases, one has become a reference film, and all are French productions or co-productions.

We are delighted to present two U.S. premieres in the festival, The Life Ahead of Us: Another Face of Immigration directed by Frédéric Lafont and co-written by Arianne Chemin, and A Story of One’s Own directed by Amandine Gay. Amandine Gay and two other directors, David Ernaux-Briot, and Alain Kassanda, are coming to New York to discuss their films after the festival screenings.

The films selected for this festival all explore memories and intergenerational connections within families that reach into the past and help shape the present. They share a number of common themes and storytelling devices in striking ways. Each of the films makes use of personal photographs, home movies, and other private or public archival images—or missing pictures in the case of Rithy Panh’s film—combined with interviews, investigating these visual and oral memories to decipher individual, family, and generational histories and identities and the ways these evolve over time and across national and social boundaries. These movies masterfully weave together past and present, microhistory and macrohistory—whether it’s the history of colonization and decolonization in the Congo (Colette and Justin) and Mali (Dancing the Twist in Bamako), the Cambodian genocide (The Missing Picture), post-colonial immigration of Moroccan workers to France (The Life Ahead of Us), the legacy of international adoption (A Story of One’s Own), or French family life and gender roles in the burgeoning middle classes of the 1970s (Les Années Super 8).

Additional support provided by the Knapp Family Foundation, Villa Albertine, and Columbia University’s Alliance Program, Department of History, Institute of African Studies, and European Institute.

Full Schedule

Wednesday, September 6 | 7:30 PM
Dancing the Twist in Bamako
Robert Guédiguian, 2021, 129 min.
Low Library Plaza (Outdoor Screening)

Thursday, September 14 | 6:30 PM
U.S Premiere
The Life Ahead of Us: Another Face of Immigration
Frédéric Laffont, 2022, 52 min.
Q&A with Emmanuelle Saada and Frédéric Viguier

Thursday, September 21 | 6:30 PM
U.S Premiere
A Story of One's Own
Amandine Gay, 2021, 101 min.
Q&A with Amandine Gay and Joyce McMillan

Thursday, October 5 | 6:30 PM
Colette and Justin
Alain Kassanda, 2022, 89 min.
Q&A with Alain Kassanda and Souleymane Bachir Diagne

Thursday, October 12 | 6:30 PM
The Super 8 Years
David Ernaux-Briot, Annie Ernaux, 2022, 62 min.
Q&A with David Ernaux-Briot and Thomas Dodman

Tuesday, October 17 | 6:30 PM
The Missing Picture
Rithy Panh, 2013, 90 min.
Q&A with Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer

Screenings will be introduced or followed by panel discussions with film directors and invited scholars.