Friday, September 23, 2011

Randolph College to host screening of French film with director, actress

Prunelle et Melodie is a movie about two best friends, with a twist.

The two French characters cannot talk to each other: Prunelle is blind, and Melodie is deaf and dumb. But the short film tells the story of how they learn to communicate and help each other live their dreams.

Randolph College will present a screening of the film at 4:30 p.m. October 5 in room 537 of the Harold G. Leggett Building. Mathieu Simonet, the director, and Julie Voisin, who plays Prunelle, will be present and will answer questions after the film.

The event is free and open to the public. The film will have English subtitles, said Francoise Watts, a Randolph College French professor.

Every year, Watts works with French professors at other Virginia colleges to arrange for French filmmakers to tour the state. They take students to the Richmond Film Festival each March, select a film, and then invite directors or actors to visit the various colleges.

Prunelle et Melodie impressed Watts on several levels.

The two girls have ironic names. Prunelle is the French word for the pupil of an eye, but Prunelle cannot see. Melodie refers to a melody, but she cannot hear, Watts said.

The girls meet in an education facility that is meant to help people with disabilities adapt to everyday life. They devise ways to communicate and decide to escape the facility.

“They form a very close bond because Melodie can see for Prunelle, and Prunelle can hear for Melodie,” said Watts.

The entire film takes only about 34 minutes.

“That’s the beauty of this film, being able to tell so much in a short period of time,” she said.

Like many French movies, it focuses more on emotion rather than action. “It’s very moving. It’s about the beauty of life. It’s a song for life,” Watts said.

After the film screening, Simonet and Voisin will answer questions. The reception will be held in the lobby of the Leggett Building, where French students will meet French members of the Lynchburg community.