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Réveil News

Centre de la francophonie

The Centre de la francophonie in collaboration with Speaking Place has just made possible a French version of the documentary Réveil-Waking Up French. You can find it at Stay tuned for a schedule of public screenings.

The Centre de la francophonie des Amériques helps promote and highlight a French-speaking community focused on the future of the French language in the midst of cultural diversity by reinforcing and enriching relations and encouraging give and take among French-speakers and Francophiles in America.

A teacher's guide to the film is now available. It includes historical and cultural background overviews, bibliographies, web sites for further research, and topics and questions to guide use of the film in the classroom. Please see "Copies-Schools and Libraries" for ordering information. The Teacher's Guide was prepared by by Dr. Eileen M. Angelini , Chair, Department of Modern Languages, Canisius College and winner of several prizes for excellence in teaching and promoting French Language and culture.

A review of REVEIL also by Dr. Angelini recently appeared in the The French Review, Vol. 81, No. 4, March 2008, pp 790-791.

Réveil to play daily at the Jean Lafitte National Historical and Preservation Park Layafette, LA

Réveil was presented at Université de La Sorbonne, Paris France, January 30, 2006 with a workshop in documentary filmmaking by Ben Levine.


Ben Levine’s new documentary looks at Maine’s invisible French culture

By Beth Brogan

After growing up in a Russian-Jewish household outside Boston and fighting for civil rights alongside Martin Luther King Jr., filmmaker Ben Levine moved to Maine more than 20 years ago braced for culture shock. He expected to be surrounded by French Canadians in his new home. After all, Quebec is just a ways up Route 201. But after living in Augusta, Waterville, and Skowhegan, he still wondered, “Where are the French?”

“I always thought it was strange to be living in a New England town full of French people, just down the road from seven million French-speakers, and yet never, ever hear or see anything French,” Levine says. Now, after 22 years exploring the disappearance of the French-Canadian culture, Levine offers an explanation for this invisible culture in a new documentary, Reveil: Waking Up French, to be shown February 14 at the Center for Cultural Exchange.

Exposing what Levine calls “a campaign in the 1920s and [later] in New England to suppress the French language and the culture,” Reveil is the most recent effort by a filmmaker whose previous works have been seen on US and European television and at the Museum of Modern Art.