32nd Alliance Française French Film Festival

Palace Electric Canberra
4 to 31 March 2021
COVID restrictions apply – bookings essential

Karine Mauris, Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of France in Australia, has assembled 37 films from established filmmakers for her inaugural season as festival artistic director.

Hailing from a background immersed in cultural creativity, Karine is passionate about nurturing emerging talent and discovering stories that cast a spotlight on the many rich facets of French life.  She aims to make audiences, laugh, enjoy some romance and, importantly in these times of COVID, to breathe.

Barbie spoke to Nancy Ford-Waites, new Director of AF de Canberra and Artistic Director, Karine Mauris, Cultural Attaché to the French Embassy in Australia.

Directors including Ruben Alves, Éric Barbier, Éric Besnard, Quentin Dupieux, Marc Fitoussi, Anne Fontaine, Yann Gozlan, Éric Lartigau, Gabriel Le Bomin, Emmanuel Mouret, François Ozon and Nicolas Vanier, and emerging talents such as Kaouther Ben Hania (The Man Who Sold His Skin), Manele Labidi (Arab Blues) and Chloé Mazlo (Skies of Lebanon).  There are offerings to suit all film tastes with romance, documentaries, comedy and drama. Children’s films are also on the program.

This year’s festival explores diversity through titles such as The Man Who Sold His Skin,; the devastation of civil war as depicted by Small Country: An African Childhood; Arab Blues, a sparkling ‘fish-out-of-water’ comedy about adapting to a new culture; the fraught Night Shift, which explores the moral dilemmas faced by police when dealing with illegal immigrants, the lyrical and poetic 1950s drama, Skies of Lebanon and Fahim, the Little Chess Prince, the story of  Fahim Mohammad, the Bangladeshi refugee boy who became a national French chess champion.

Thank you to AFFFF and Alliance Française de Canberra for inviting us to the media preview – Mama Weed (The Godmother/La daronne, 2020) starring the inimitable Isabelle Huppert.

The film is skilfully written, directed and acted. As long as we don’t ask certain obvious questions inherent in this story, which sees a police interpreter (Isabell Huppert) turn to drug dealing to solve her financial and family woes, we can enjoy the film for its humour, the ideas it raises and the superb performances.

There is certainly something distinctively French about the way morality is treated in this tale – we are unable to simply escape into humour or crime thriller elements without thinking long and hard about the society which spawns the criminal activity and the drug scourge. And in the end it is difficult to be definitive with our judgements of the characters and their actions.

Detailed information and trailers are available at the official AFFFF website. Hard copy programs are available at Palace Electric.

Further information: https://www.palacecinemas.com.au/festivals/af-french-film-festival