The film festival France Noire – Black France opens today at the Forum des Images located at the Forum des Halles in the heart of Paris. The event has been organized by four university professors, including Arlette Frund (Université de Tours), Trica Danielle Keaton (Vanderbilt University) Tracy Sharpley-Whiting (Vanderbilt University), and Maboula Soumahoro (Université de Tours). It promises to be a rich and rewarding experience, as it treats three important themes: how blacks perceive themselves in France; how they perceive France as a country in which they live; and what kinds of intellectual, cultural, and artistic communities have developed among the black communities there.
We had the honor of being invited to attend a pre-festival reception and screening held at the American ambassador’s residence last night. Two documentary films were shown. The first, entitled Un Siècle de Jenny (directed by Laurent Champonnois and Dederico Nicotre), is a tribute to Martinican singer, actress, and activist Jenny Alpha. The second, entitled Noirs, l’identité au cœur de la question noire (directed by Arnaud Ngatcha), treats the thought-provoking question of how French men and women of African descent perceive themselves in French society.
A film about the African-American experience in Paris in the early part of the 20th century will be shown this evening at 9:00 p.m. Entitled Harlem à Montmartre, it was produced by Dante J. James, a filmmaker from Durham, North Carolina.