Ciné Français, Dennis Healy’s recurring festival of French and Quebecois films, will recommence Thursday, April 8 at 6 p.m. at Penobscot School, 28 Gay St. The kickoff film this year is “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis (Welcome to the Sticks),” the story of a southern French family, the Abrams, relocated to the frigid north along the English Channel.

Culture clash, here come the Abrams, southerners full of prejudice for whom “the north” is a horror, a frozen region peopled with rustics speaking an incomprehensible language. What they encounter, of course, is vastly different from what they expected and surprisingly pleasing. In this comedy of manners and ideas, nothing is as it seems, particularly when it comes to the human heart.

This year’s Ciné series is going to work a bit differently from those of years past. The films are in French with French subtitles, so the evenings are meant to appeal to at least pretty good French speakers. A fact of acquired languages is the eye often works better than the ear: i.e., we may know the words when we see them in print, but have trouble catching them on the fly. The spoken French with French subtitles offers a way to train and develop the ear to adapt to the sound of the language.

The evening will begin with free popcorn and some guidance by Healy, a few key phrases and some things to watch out for in the film.  Then he will stop the projection at 20-minute intervals to discuss and re-sync the audience.

Ciné Français is a free public event offered by Penobscot school. A second film is set for April 28. For more information, call 594-1084 or visit

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to