Ah, French. The language of luuuuuve. It also the second language of Janora Curtis, an 18-year-old Palmer High senior who is helping to coordinate this year's District 11 French Film Festival. Each year, French students in grades 8 to 12 submit short films on any topic, in which the actors must each speak at least five lines in the romantic tongue, expressing their command of the language. The films are judged by Colorado College French students, and then shown at the festival. While Janora is too busy with her final year of school to submit her own film, she is clearly in love with French language and culture, and has no problem taking time out to "help Madame" Poucel, her teacher.
What kind of plot lines do the entrants come up with? Oh, they're so great. One year we had been studying Russia and Communism, so one of the winning films was this spy film, shot in black and white with kind of a reddish tinge over it, and a few of the lines were actually in Russian with French subtitles over it. One of the students from North Middle School did a Barbie thing, with Barbies acting out the parts. It was really great. I think it won too. Barbie's all, "Je m'appelle Barbie!"
Do you get a lot of stereotypically French, i.e. striped shirt and beret, wine and a cigarette flicks? We try to do things that are appropriate, because most of us are underage. We do have a lot of homicides, though. One year we had a homicidal cheerleader. It's really anything you want. Maybe not a sex scene.
Do you have any favorite French actors? I really like ... what was her name ... she was in that Mission Impossible movie. Emmanuelle Beart. She's a really good actress, in what I've seen her in. The funny thing about French films, there's always the same group of actors in everything.
Are you going to go to France before college? This summer I'm actually going to China, but I do plan to go to France in college and spend a semester there. My friends are all planning it, going the same month and meeting in the same part of France and hanging out. I love French culture. I also want to see the country, but I figure I can wait for that and maybe just spend that month with a French family.
Are you fluent enough to get around the French countryside? I could carry on a conversation, maybe not so much in the slang. A French person would be able to understand me. French people don't mind if you can't speak it all that well, but they prefer that you at least try. They're not going to say, "You're saying that wrong," but they might not pay attention to you if you're saying, "Hey, hey! Where's the bathrooms? Where's the bathrooms? WHERE ARE THE BATHROOMS?"
What's your favorite French word? Hmmm... I don't know. A really cool word is 'sausage.' Saucisson. It's such a cool word. And I mean, it's sausage.