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When many think of a French Film Festival, thoughts of a steamy movie with an exotic, attractive young lady and a handsome young man come to mind.  (And it better not stay there!  Unholiness alert!)  But the schedule of the Film Symposium and French Film Festival this year did have my idea of a steamy movie:  Politics!  Ideas!  (I wrote about how sustainability was at the last year’s FFF!)   I am glad to see UR and VCU working together!

I was especially impressed with the two anti-colonial/anti-war movies by Rene Vautier:  Afrique 50, a short film of 18 minutes from 1949 that exposed the soft underbelly of French colonial policy (and got Vautier imprisoned to boot!) and his protest against the Algerian civil war of the 50s and 60s, Avoir 20 Ans dans les Aures, (my French does not write better than I speak it, which is none!  The title means something like To Be Twenty in the Aures.)  this film is much longer and very graphic in showing scenes of violence by the French forces in the war against Algerians.  Vautier had to dodge legal issues for this movie, too.  But it was awarded a nice honor at the Cannes Film Festival in 1972.  (By the way, when Vautier was a teenager, he was in the anti-Nazi Resistance and won the Croix de guerre, one of France’s highest military decorations.)

In light of my views against imperialism and in favor of non-intervention, I see Vautier in a different light:  A man willing to stand up for what’s right even though it would be controversial and possibly illegal.  Where were the followers of Christ when Vautier was exposing colonialism?  They should have been there right with Vautier.  Granted, Vautier is probably a Communist.  But, a committed Christian has a lot in common with a committed Communist.  Both of us have a faith.  (Read Whittaker Chamber’s Witness for my inspiration and he writes about the faith of communism and its relationship to Christianity.)  That faith disciplines us to act when there is injustice or wrongdoing or unholiness.  My faith sees billions of lost people who need an abundant, peaceful life on earth and in Heaven.  The Communist’s faith is that as he or she acts, he is bringing the world closer to the goal of communism.  Of course the Communist’s faith is in man and evolutionary forces of history.  My faith is in Jesus.  (There can be only one truth:  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man cometh to the Father but by me.”  [John 14:6(KJV)] Here‘s how to receive Christ today!)  But I can admire Rene Vautier for his courage and willingness to take on a tough subject.  I wish someone would do a movie about how we acquired Hawai’i.

You can see Afrique 50 Wednesday at 9 am at the Ukrop Auditorium/Queally Hall at the University of Richmond.  Maybe even meet Vautier, too!  Thursday at 6 pm, the Avior 20 ans movie is showing at the Byrd.  Both are surprisingly free.  (You can view certain individual movies for $15 and a VIP pass for $115 unless you are a instructor at VCU [$10 off] and student pass for $65)

There’s other politics at the French Film Festival:  La Conquete is at the Byrd at 930 pm Friday and it explores the rise to the French Presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy and how it cost him his wife.  Presume coupable is a drama based on the wrongful imprisonment of Alain Marecaux, unjustly accused of pedophilia.  It’s on Friday at 7 pm.  Finally, try this thriller, L’Ordre et la Morale, about a hostage taking in New Caledonia from the point of view of both the head of the French force sent to free the hostages and the head of the politically motivated kidnappers.  That is at the Byrd Saturday at 330pm.

Here is the website for the French Film Festival.  I love the power movies can have to promote ideas.  If I had the money, I’d start a movie company that would both glorify Christ and promote liberty and sovereignty.  (If Daddy Warbucks is out there, let Tom White know…)


About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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