Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde is a fun adventure

Reading Time: 5 minutes

A very funny, tongue-in-cheek adventure film showing at AFFFF 2023 is Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde. An unlikely team set out on an adventure to the island of Val Verde at the behest of Aurélie, the beautiful daughter of an archaeologist father who went on a solo mission to the island decades earlier and never returned.

Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde

The film was co-directed by both Ludovic Colbeau-Justin (who also directed Rumba Therapy from last year’s festival) and Malik Bentalha (who also played the titular character in the film). Malik Bentalha is also one of three screenwriters on Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde – the others being Tristan Schulmann and Florent Bernard. The script contains some very witty one liners and some absurdist comedy which French cinema is well known for.


Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde has a small but wonderful cast. Many will be familiar to you having appeared in AFFFF films in this or recent years’ programs. Malik Bentalha (Employee of the Month, AFFFF 2022) plays Jack Mimoun, a TV adventurer known as the Survivor of Hell after he was believed to have survived 3 months alone on Val Verde. Joséphine Japy plays Aurélie, the beautiful daughter of an archaeologist father who went on a solo mission to Val Verde and never returned. She tricks Jack Mimoun into going with her to the island to try to find the treasure her father had gone there for.


Jérôme Commandeur (who was also in Employee of the Month, AFFFF 2022 plays Jack Mimoun’s manager, Bruno Quézac. He is even less equipped for adventure than Jack and is keen to get off the island ASAP. Transporting them, and potentially leaving them stranded on the dangerous island of Val Verde is the unpredictable, ex-military, gun toting, conspiracy theorist Jean-Marc (played by François Damiens, who was in Love Song for Tough Guys at AFFFF 2022 and Just to be Sure which was released a few years ago). Benoît Magimel (also in Paris Memories at ths year’s AFFFF) plays Jonas, archaeology lecturer and the assistant who worked with Aurélie’s father before his fateful trip to Val Verde.

Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde / Jack Mimoun et les secrets de Val Verde
Image: © 2022 Mandarin Compagnie/Pathé Films/Bellini Films/TF1 Films Productions/Scope Pictures

A majority of the comedy in the film forms out of the personalities of each of the characters. Jack for example is all ego and his cluelessness makes for some funny moments. Bruno’s freaking out and wanting to get off the island juxtaposed with Jean-Marc’s don’t talk rubbish or I’ll shoot, or even if you don’t talk rubbish, I still might shoot attitude is great as is the impression he gives us that while he may have survived the 6 wars he claims to have been in, he may well have suffered significant brain impairment in them if he was in them at all. Of all these supposedly brave men, it seems that Aurélie is the most fearless!


Beautifully filmed on location in Thailand, Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde transports audiences to the lush wild greenery of the jungle with beautiful waterfalls and stunning caves along the way. If this film could be described in a colour it would be green.


Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde is a fun film which is well worth seeing for a laugh at the adventure genre with its over the top commentary and its “daring” stunts. Imagine seeing your TV/ film adventurer being revealed as a fraud but then being thrown into a real life or death situation all because they’re trying to impress a girl and you might get close to Jack Mimoun.


Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023.


To find out when Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde  is showing in your city at the AFFFF 2023, click here


WHAT: Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 (AFFFF 2023) – the 34th edition of the largest celebration of French film outside of France!


Sydney, NSW: 7th March to 5th April – Palace Central, Palace Verona, Palace Norton St, Chauvel Cinema, Hayden Orpheum Cremorne

Melbourne, VIC: 8th March to 5th April – Palace Cinema Como, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Westgarth, The Astor Theatre, The Kino, Pentridge Cinema

Perth, WA: 8th March to 5th April – Luna Leederville, Luna on SX, Windsor Cinema, Palace Raine Square, Camelot Outdoor Cinema

Canberra, ACT: 9th March to 5th April – Palace Electric Cinema

Hobart, TAS: 9th to 19th March – State Cinema

Brisbane, QLD: 15th March to 12th April – Palace James Street, Palace Barracks

Byron Bay, NSW: 16th March to 5th April – Palace Byron Bay

Adelaide, SA: 23rd March to 19th April – Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas, Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas

Port Pirie, Renmark, Whyalla, Mount Gambier: 24th March to 26th March – Northern Festival, Chaffey Theatre, Middleback Arts Centre, Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre

Gold Coast, QLD: 29th March to 16th April – Dendy Southport

Parramatta, NSW: 29th March to 2nd April – Riverside Theatre Parramatta

Victor Harbour, SA: 3rd and 10th April – Victa Cinema

Bendigo, VIC: 21st to 23rd April – Star Cinema

HOW: The full program of 39 films can be viewed at the official Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 website via this link:  https://www.affrenchfilmfestival.org/

HOW MUCH: Ticket prices vary between cities and there are also discounted festival passes available if you want to see several films. (NB You will need to pick the films and sessions when purchasing the pass)


See below for more AFFFF content

Our picks from the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 program

Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 first 15 films announced

Country Cabaret: a fun farm film to see at AFFFF 2023

Final Cut: a comedic zombie film that’s even for people who don’t like horror or gore

Happy 50/Plancha is about a group vacation gone wrong

Paris Memories traces the difficulties of being a survivor of the Paris terrorist attacks

Ride Above is an inspiring, but predictable, film about finding the courage to ride again

Sugar and Stars: an inspiring tale about the road to sweet success

Silver Rockers: a film inspired by the story of rocker retirees from Normandy

The Colours of Fire: an heiress seeks revenge

The Origin of Evil is a must-see film this AFFFF

Which films won at the César 2023 and where you can watch them



Enter your email to subscribe to new article notifications about all things French and francophone in Australia

Optimal Stopping: a show only ever rehearsed on Zoom comes to Wollongong

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Optimal Stopping is a dance performance with Mexican and Australian dancers that will be presented in Wollongong from today until Sunday. The show was born on Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Mexican dancers have never rehearsed with the Australian dancers in the same room. Their first performance today will be the first time they all dance in the same room. We spoke to Ilse Orozco, one of the Mexican dancers from La Infinita Compañia about the Optimal Stopping production.

Optimal Stopping


The Optimal Stopping show will be performed at Wollongong Town Hall from today. What is the show about?

The show consists of different tableaux where the dancers have the freedom to improvise under different guises. The dramaturgy is composed in real time with decisions made by the dancers. At the beginning of the show, the audience decides who will perform certain roles.


Talk to us about the 2023 MEERIGONGX Artists’ Program

Find out about it here: https://merrigong.com.au/merrigongx/merrigongx2023/


How did the three companies Merrigong Theatre Company, Proper Motion & La Infinita Compañia meet?

Lisa McDonell (Proper Motion) and Raúl Tamez (La Infinita Compañía) first met in Mexico during the FIDCMX (Festival Internacional de Danza de la Ciudad de México) in 2018. At first, they talked about doing a duo, but it wasn’t until 2019 that they decided to do a piece with several Mexican and Australian dancers. During the pandemic, they received funding from the Australian Government to start working via zoom. A few years later, the Optimal Stopping project received further funding to bring the Mexican dancers to Australia. It wasn’t until this point that Lisa generated the link with Merrigong Theatre Company, who decided to be the official host of the international project.


How did you prepare the show via Zoom?

During the pandemic, Zoom was one of the only ways we could connect with each other and create. It was a privilege for artists from two distant countries to come together to work on an art project. For a few months, we improvised, performed and worked on the structure of the piece with a common score.

Is it true that you have never rehearsed in the same room only on Zoom?

That’s absolutely true. We only rehearsed in groups, the Mexicans and the Australians, separately. It was the choreographer’s decision that the first meeting between all of the artists would be on the day of the performance.


Have you ever danced in a show where you haven’t done rehearsals in person together before? Does that give you a bit of freedom?

I have danced in two shows without rehearsals, it gives a lot of freedom but at the same time uncertainty, because you don’t know the outcome and sometimes situations fail. It’s a constant reminder to be present but also to let go and let everything flow.


How long have you been dancing?

I have been dancing since I was 12 years old.


When and why did you decide to become a dancer?

When I finished high school, the first generation of a private contemporary dance school opened in my town, my dance teachers encouraged me to join. I hadn’t decided that I wanted to study and I accepted. During the first year, I realised that this was what I wanted to do.


You have studied dance in Mexico, the Netherlands and Israel. Tell us about your studies abroad?

Studying abroad has broadened my artistic vision. Learning about other ways of working, other techniques, other cultures and other types of bodies in movement inspired me. I also met many people with whom I still maintain contact and generate projects.


You have also danced in France. Tell us about the recognition, awards, support and medals you received in France.

When I was studying in the Netherlands, I saw a dance competition announced in Biarritz. I applied and they accepted me. I rehearsed two solos (contemporary and modern dance) on my own with a Mexican choreographer and went to France. I won two silver medals in both categories in the pre-professional category in 2011 at the International Dance Competition in Biarritz.


Have you ever been to Australia?

Never, it’s my first time, I’m super happy to be here and from the little I’ve known and travelled, I can say it’s a wonderful country and I’d love to come back.


Why would you recommend that people come and see Optimal Stopping?

I would highly recommend going to see this show because it’s nothing like what you find in Australia: bi-national projects, based on improvisation and with talented dancers from different backgrounds and ages. Also, the audience plays a very important role in the work.

We thank Ilse Orozco for this interview.



WHAT: Optimal Stopping, a dance performance between three companies: Merrigong Theatre Company, Proper Motion & La Infinita Compañia

WHERE: Wollongong Town Hall | Main Auditorium


  • Thu 30 March, 7.30pm with Q&A after the performance
  • Friday 31 March, 7.30pm with Q&A after the performance
  • Saturday 1 April, 7.30pm with Q&A after the performance

HOW: Book your tickets through this link https://merrigong.com.au/shows/optimal-stopping/

HOW MUCH: Pay what you feel. You still need to reserve seats before attending the show.



Insérez votre adresse email pour recevoir des notifications lorsque des nouvelles articles sont publiées au sujet de toutes les choses françaises et francophones en Australie