There are a few French language films to see at Melbourne International Film Festival in 2019. But hurry, it’s only on until 18 August! Below we let you know about films that are in French, and French only. For multi-language films which include French, click here. For more information about other films at MIFF 2019, scroll to the end of the article.
Thanks to one very special jacket, it’s open season on killer style – and on filmmaking itself.
Wracked by a mid-life crisis, Georges (Jean Dujardin, The Artist) splashes €8000 on a fringed deerskin jacket, with a digital video camera thrown in to sweeten the deal. And it ignites in him a madness of taste. Convinced he shares a special understanding with the supple suede, Georges decides nobody else must ever wear a jacket. And he recruits waitress and aspiring film editor Denise (Adèle Haenel, The Unknown Girl, MIFF 2016) to help document his violent adventures on fashion’s wild frontier.
Country: France (2019)
Continuing to prove one of Canada’s most intriguing auteurs, MIFF regular Denis Côté examines the pervasive influence of grief on a tiny Québécois town.
When beloved 21-year-old Simon Dubé dies suddenly and violently, the 215-strong population of Irénée-les-Neiges is consumed by the unexpected tragedy. His mourning family struggles with the pain and their fellow townsfolk can’t move on from the shock. Still, the no-nonsense mayor is certain that the community will weather the storm – until the remote, snow-swept village becomes literally haunted by generations of the dead.
Arriving at the end of the subway line, a woman plunges into an overnight odyssey through a hushed and haunting Brussels in this 16mm gem.
Khadija is a 58-year-old cleaning woman who falls asleep on the train and awakes at the end of the line. With no means of getting home, Khadija (the wonderful Saadia Bentaïeb from BPM, MIFF 2017) must make the journey back to Brussels on foot and gets up close with the changing face of her adopted homeland. Through a series of vignettes with minimal dialogue, Khadija treks through the night and discovers the humanity to be found among society’s most hard done-by.
Tensions between violent cops and neighbourhood youth explode in this fiery, Cannes Jury Prize-winning film from director Ladj Ly, who brings the spirit of Victor Hugo to the cultural skirmishes of the Parisian suburbs.
In Montfermeil, where Hugo set his original Les Misérables, a cop newly recruited to the anti-criminal brigade finds himself on a team whose questionable methods lead them into direct conflict with the neighbourhood gangs in their jurisdiction. When a drone camera captures a wrongful police shooting, events boil over into a dramatic clash that threatens to burn the suburb to the ground.
Inspired by the riots of 2005, César nominee and Kourtrajmé collective member Ladj Ly (co-director of MIFF 2018’s Speak Up) makes his kinetic feature debut with a powerful, thrilling work that swings between brutal social realism and moments of electric melodrama. Les Misérables critiques systemic corruption and explores the fraught tension between cops and African and Arab teenagers with a sensitivity to the complicated perspectives at play on both sides.
French-Canadian auteur Xavier Dolan returns with a funny, tense and heartfelt love story about two childhood best friends coming to terms with their secret feelings for each other.
Already an eight-film veteran at the ripe old age of 30, one-time boy wonder Xavier Dolan (Mommy, and Tom at the Farm, both of which screened at MIFF 2014) bounces back with this sparkling, tender bromance – in every sense of the word.
Best friends since childhood, queer Maxime (played by Dolan himself) and straight Matthias (Gabriel D’Almeida Freitas) continue to keep the same company of affable twentysomething Québécois bros, even as their paths diverge: the former is derailed caring for his mother (Dolan’s ever wonderful maternal muse, Anne Dorval) while the latter is entertaining obnoxious clients as he climbs the corporate law ladder. But a play-acting kiss uncorks a rollercoaster of emotions that can’t be suppressed, and Dolan negotiates the simmering tension with beautifully poised and personal assurance.
Love in a time of tyranny: this stunning animation directed by the two-woman team of Zabou Breitman and Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec chronicles life under the Taliban, and bravely doesn’t shy away from either brutality or hope.
Belgium’s acclaimed Dardenne brothers scooped Cannes’ Best Director prize for this provocative but ultimately tender tale of an Islamic teenager who falls under the influence of an extremist.
In the latest from two-time Palme d’Or-winning filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 13-year-old Ahmed goes from average Muslim high schooler to radicalised extremist when a militant imam plants some deadly ideas in the boy’s head. After attacking his teacher, Ines, Ahmed is dispatched to a youth rehabilitation centre in an effort to quell his ferocious anger.
The Dardennes handle this potentially controversial premise with their trademark humanist touch, creating a complex, deeply sympathetic portrait of a teenager at war with himself and the world around him.
Country: Belgium, France