Foreign film gives students perspective on French culture

Justin Shepard

A group of approximately 20 Washburn students enjoyed a foreign film and pizza Wednesday night in the Memorial Union. The viewing was part of a joint collaboration between Faculty In Resources member Gaspar Porta, professor of mathematics, and Courtney Sullivan, assistant professor of French. While originally scheduled to start at 7 p.m. in the Blair Room, minor technical problems with the subtitles required everyone to move upstairs to the Myriad Developmental Corp. Seminar Room and a different DVD player, where the movie began without any further difficulties.

The French film, “La Cité des Enfants Perdus” (“The City of Lost Children”), was an extremely visual work that told the story of a slow-witted strongman trying to rescue his adopted younger brother from the clutches of an evil scientist who kidnapped children in order to steal their dreams, all set in the backdrop of a dreary, post-apocalyptic city. The movie stars Ron Perlman of “Hellboy” fame and has an 84 percent “Fresh” rating from popular film review Web site RottenTomatoes.com.

“It was kind of hard to understand right after you first finished,” said student Ni Yinbin after the show. “I liked it. It had kind of a new style … different from the mainstream.”

While most, like Yinbin, attended to receive extra credit for their French class, some students simply came to enjoy a good show, including a few random walk-ins.

“Our intention is to show films with redeeming qualities that are culturally valid,” said Porta.

Both professors said their objective was not only to choose films that were entertaining, but that would also challenge students to think differently.