Adelaide Film Festival: Films filmed in France

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The Adelaide Film Festival starts this week and is on from 10 to 21 October. This year, many films in the program were filmed in France or are in French. In this article, we tell you about films filmed in France that are not in French. In other articles to come in the next few days, we will tell you about films in French as well as French short films.



This is a film co-produced in France, the UK and the USA but in English and Russian. It’s about Vincent Van Gogh’s last days as seen through American painter and filmmaker Julian Schnabel’s eyes. Written by Julian Schnabel and Jean-Claude Carrière (known for Belle de Jour and The Tin Drum), this isn’t a scientific biography. Rather, it is a film about what it means to be an artist.

Willem Dafoe plays Vincent Van Gogh. We live Van Gogh’s last days in the company of his brother Théo, played by Rupert Friend, his artist colleague Paul Gauguin, played by Oscar Issac and Madame Ginoux, played Emmanuelle Seigner, who is the subject of Van Gogh’s well known portraits.



Capharnaüm is a film from France, Liban and the USA which is in Arabic and was a winner at Cannes. It tells the story of Zain, a 12 year old boy, who does his best to survive the streets of Beirut. He starts a suit against his parents for them having brought him into a world so unjust, where being a refugee without papers means that your rights can easily be denigrated.

Most of the actors in this film are themselves refugees from Africa and the Middle East who play roles which are very close to their own experiences.



Cold War is a French, Polish and UK film which is in Polish. It’s the follow-up to “Ida” which was awarded an Oscar. This film by director Pawel Pawlikowski, won him Best Director at Cannes.

It tells the story of  love torn apart in post-war Europe. We follow Viktor and Zuma who are travelling in a Stanlist folk music troupe and who see in each other great passion. However, when they decide to flee, a momentary shock of nerves fatally divides them. This leads to their own personal cold war. But their love lasts across the iron curtain to Paris’ jazz bars as they try to find a way to repair both their lives and their music.



This is a Brazilian, French and Portuguese film in Portuguese by Portuguese and American directors Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt. It’s being promoted as one of the craziest and most imaginitive movies of the year.

Diamantino (played by the very handsome Carloto Cotta) is a Portuguese football star, along the lines of Cristiano Ronaldo. Having lost his mojo at the World Cup, Diamantino plunges into an existential crisis of the sort only an overpayed sportstar could have. His search for the meaning of life takes him on a path with evil twins, mad scientists, shady secret agents and a sinister cabal aiming to force Portugal out of the EU. Curling free kicks into the top corner was so much easier than this!

It’s a satire of notoriety and political extremism.



Russian filmmaker, Kirill Serebennikov, who is currently under house arrest on dubious charges tells the true story of Mike Naumenko and Viktor Tsoy, two musicians from a period described as “not quite Soviet, not quite Western”. The two fight to find their own musical style, a way to play in a society which isn’t yet ready for them. And then there is Natacha, the presence of whom suggests that love might tear them apart.



Wajib is a film from Colombia, France, Germany, Norway, Palestine, Qatar and the UAE, which is in Arabic.

It has been awarded at Dubaï, in Argentina, in India, in France, in Morocco, in Italy, in Kosovo, in Algeria, in London and at Locarno.

It tells the comical story of a father and son who spend the day driving around and across the Palestinian city of Nazareth hand delivering wedding invites. Abu Shaadi is a teacher and is pragmatic, he has learned to live with the frustrations of occupation, and who understands that life is a test of resilience. His son, Sahdi, has been living in Rome and rages against the injustice and ineptitude he sees everywhere.

Join them for a day of criss-crossing the city in their battered old Volvo. It’s a day of encounters and debates, where generations butt heads and the bonds of family and community will be tested. Saleh Bakri and his real-life son Mohammad are great company in Jacir’s wise and witty winner..



Woman at War is a film from France, Iceland and the Ukraine in Icelandic. This film from Icelandic film-maker Bendeikt Erlingsson  was very well received at Cannes. It is an economic-dramatic-music-comedy thriller which tells the story of Halla, a middle ages woman who leads a double life known as “The Woman of the Mountain,” a passionate environmental activist and saboteur who brings down power lines with her bow and arrow.

However, Halla’s surreptitious campaign is called into question when her application to adopt a young orphan is successful. She stages one final attack to deal the aluminium industry a crippling blow, but of course, things never go quite to plan. Intelligent: yes! Socially and politically cogent: yes!! Hugely enjoyable: yes!!!


Are you going to the Adelaide Film Festival?

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