Culture-clash comedies and 80s romance – our picks for the 2021 Alliance Française French Film Festival
Slip on your favourite striped t-shirt and grab your best beret – Alliance Française French Film Festival 2021 is back for another year! The beloved foreign film festival kicks off on March 17 and runs through to April 13 delivering an emotionally charged line-up of cinematic goodness. Whether you’re in the mood for films injected with a bit of girl power or you’re a sucker for romance, we’ve assembled a few of our top picks for must-see films.
I’m in the mood for some globe-trotting adventures …
Arab Blues: If you want to watch a feel-good flick, Arab Blues a top-notch pick. This fish-out-of-water comedy showcases the hiccups that come with adjusting to a new culture and is a joyful look into the Tunisian way of life.
The Man Who Sold His Skin: Starring Yahya Mahayni and iconic Italian actress Monica Bellucci, The Man Who Sold His Skin is inspired by Wim Delvoye’s 2008 artwork ‘Tim’, a tattooed man that sits in galleries around the world. This story follows a man who will do anything to be reunited with the love of his life – even as far as becoming a living canvas for a tattoo artwork.
Skies of Lebanon: We’re not going to lie, this one is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. A poetic blending of the personal and political, Skies of Lebanon combines live action with animation to create a vivid picture of Lebanon, inspired by the family history of filmmaker Chloé Mazlo. Fair warning – you may shed a few tears.
Small Country: An African Childhood: This powerful coming-of-age tale is inspired by the incredible true story of a young Burundi boy whose world was turned upside down by the tidal wave of violence and unrest from neighbouring Rwanda. A hard but necessary watch.
I’m in the mood for female-centric fun …
Aline: Get ready to tap your feet to some show-stopping tunes – this starry feature is inspired by the extraordinary life of Quebec singing sensation Céline Dion. Not skimping on the glitz and glamour, Aline is bursting with music and drama that will sweep you off your feet. Our hearts will go on.
The Rose Maker: Beloved actress Catherine Frot takes centre stage as Eve, a world-renowned rose farmer that’s been dealt a bad hand. In this easy-going and good-natured comedy, Eve enlists help from some less-than-qualified workers in order to save her business. This one is a heart warmer.
The Godmother: The legendary Isabelle Huppert dazzles in The Godmother, a Breaking-Bad-meets-The-Pineapple-Express story that’s one wild ride. Isabelle plays a police interpreter who switches sides to become a marijuana trafficker who is referred to by law enforcement as ‘Mama Weed’.
Image: Bye Bye Morons
I’m in the mood for a laugh …
Bye Bye Morons: This crowd-pleasing film by French film powerhouse Albert Dupontel blends dark humour, social satire and tragedy into a fast-paced story that will have you both laughing hysterically and sitting on the edge of your seat. This is weird and wonderful French cinema at its best.
#Iamhere: An endearing culture-clash comedy following a man navigating a middle-life crisis, #Iamhere traverses from Paris to Seoul, so you’ll feel like you’ve done a bit of travelling. Oh, how we wish we could collect passport stamps again.
Miss: Grab the popcorn and settle in for a joyful story – Miss follows a boy who dreams of transcending traditional gender norms by entering the Miss France beauty pageant. This pick will have you laughing, crying and cheering from your seat.
Mandibles: A French Dumb and Dumber if you will, Mandibles follows two best friends who discover a giant fly that they decide to train, take on a roadtrip and attempt to make money from. The hijinks that follow make for an entertaining 90-minute viewing.
Image: Summer of 85
I’m in the mood for romance …
Love Affair(s): Direct from the Cannes Film Festival, Love Affair(s) is the quintessential French romance movie that follows a series of interlocking tales of relationships and affairs. It’s kind of like the French Love Actually, sans Hugh Grant.
The Wedding Speech: In this fourth-wall-breaking arthouse comedy we are taken deep into the main character’s mind to experience his anxiety-fuelled memories about his family. This is one wedding you’ll want an invite to.
Summer of 85: If you adored Call Me By Your Name, you’ll love this colour-soaked flick set to a soundtrack of your favourite 80s hits. Directed by French auteur François Ozon, Summer of 85 is a thrilling tale of a friendship that moves from love and further onto obsession.
Antoinette in the Cévennes: An Official Selection of the 2020 Cannes International Film Festival, this hilarious romantic comedy follows a woman who finds herself on a journey of self-discovery in somewhat unexpected circumstances. When we say unexpected, we mean there’s a scene-stealing donkey involved.
The article was created in partnership with our friends at Alliance Française French Film Festival. To peep the full list of films included in this year’s showcase, head to the Alliance Française French Film Festival website.
Image one: Arab Blues