Adelaide Film Festival 2022: 7 multilingual films from France and the Francophonie

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The program for Adelaide Film Festival 2022 was announced on Monday night. 2022 sees the festival become a yearly event. Across two articles, we’re sharing with you films from France and the Francophonie that are and aren’t in French.  This time, we’re letting you know about multilingual films where French is one of the languages.

Adelaide Film Festival 2022

AEIOU – A Quick Alphabet of Love

Director: Nicolette Krebitz

Country: Germany, France

Languages: French, German

“A whimsical romantic drama championing female desire” (Screen Daily)


As fading actress Anna nears sixty and finds job offers and her sexual desires dwindling, she is mugged by a teenager outside a Berlin bar. She encounters the young man, Adrian, once again as a student in a speech class she has taken on to pay the bills. Gently and sweetly, an unlikely romance blooms between the misfit pair as they begin to mend their fractured souls and plan an escape to the French Riviera. Charmingly offbeat, presented without judgment and featuring sparkling performances, Nicolette Krebitz delivers a unique lesson in human drama.



Director: Lukas Dhont

Country: Belgium, France, Netherlands

Languages: Dutch, French

Close is a film about friendship and connection. 13-year-olds Leo and Remy have grown up together in the vibrant Belgian countryside, spending summer riding bikes and playing games of pretend. It is an idyll too good to last. When high school starts, their closeness marks them out from their peers, and Leo’s attempts to distance himself have far-reaching consequences. Lukas Dhont’s study of boys’ loss of tenderness, and his understated treatment of guilt and grief made this the most controversial film at Cannes, though everyone agrees on its undoubted emotional affect.


Dream on Léon (SHORT FILM)

Director: Roger Gariépy

Country: Canada

Language: French

Léon is old, his body is letting him down. And so he sleeps. Yet above all, Léon dreams. Of love and sausages, of freedom and running wild. A real dog’s life.


No dogs or Italians allowed

Director: Alain Ugetto

Countries: France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal

Languages: French, Italian

Happy are those who have bread and polenta.

But really, if you’re Italian, you must see this. Animator Alain Ughetto provides a love letter to his grandparents, peasants from the Piedmont region, where there is too much war, too many children, and not enough food. The only option is to emigrate, and France is hungry for labourers who will do whatever it takes to put polenta in the pot. Ughetto’s charming animation provides houses made from cardboard and forests of broccoli. The effect is quietly magical in this love letter to all families forced into exile to survive.



Return to Seoul

Director: Davy Chou

Country: France, Germany, Belgium

Languages: English, French, Korean

“…strange, deep, changeable and wise” (Variety)


Freddie knows nothing of Korea because she was adopted as a baby and taken to France. She returns on a whim, but doesn’t understand the language, the etiquette of soju drinking, and the incomprehensible men. The search for her biological parents leads her to internalise the gulf between cultures. Debut actress Park Ji-min won plaudits at Cannes for her extraordinary performance. Cambodian director Davy Chou—himself raised in France—explores the costs of living in exile in this slow-burning though often exuberant examination of rebellion and despair born of rootlessness.


The Blue Caftan

Director: Maryam Touzani

Country: Morocco, France, Belgium, Denmark

Language: Arabic, French

A satin textured tale of forbidden relationships.


The Blue Caftan is a delicate, humane three-hander where the characters are filled with empathy and complexity. Director Maryam Touzani is an expert at conveying intimacy, each shot unfolding with an almost tactile beauty. From the narrow streets of a romantic but repressive Morocco emerges this lovingly handcrafted love triangle. Master tailor and closeted gay man Halim runs a struggling business with wife Mina. When the couple hire a handsome assistant, the two men begin to weave a tender relationship. However, as Mina battles cancer, she and Halim strengthen a bond tied by years of understanding.



Director: Moussa Sene Absa

Country: Senegal

Languages: French, Wolof

An African tale told by griots.


15-year-old Awa and Adama are twins: they share the same angels, angels who do not always have their best interests at heart. Adama dreams of escaping to Europe, while Awa tries to balance school, work, and attention of men. Senegal’s Moussa Sène Absa blends tragedy with the Senegalese traditions of griots (storyteller/singers) and vibrant West African colour and music to bring alive the dilemmas of African youth, caught between family and modernity. The exciting stylisation of his storytelling provides a distinctive means of showing African cinema rising to the challenges of today.



WHAT: Adelaide Film Festival 2022

WHERE: Various cinemas across Adelaide including Palace Nova East End and Prospect, Mitcham Wallis, Odeon Star Semaphore, The Capri Goodwood, and Her Majesty’s Theatre

WHEN: 19 – 30 October 2022

HOW: Purchase your ticket/passes via the official website

HOW MUCH: There are various ticket options available from single tickets, to passes for 3, 7 or 10 films or the Gold Pass and Platinum Pass for those who want to attend every single screening!

Prices (exclusive of booking fees) are as follows:

  • Individual film sessions $20 or $17 for Concession/Industry
  • Opening Night – Film and Party $109/ $99 for AFF members
  • Gala screenings $49/$45 for Concession/Industry
  • Multipass 3 (standard screenings): $50/$43
  • Multipass 7 (standard screenings): $99/$85 Concession/Industry
  • Multipass 10 (standard screenings): $120/$99 Concession/Industry
  • Gold Pass (1 ticket to all standard screenings): $299/$255 for Concession/Industry
  • Platinum Pass (1 ticket to all standard sceenings including opening night, closing night and galas. Party invitations. Special Events. Concierge service and AFF Lanyard): $599/$525 Concession/Industry


Which films do you want to see at Adelaide Film Festival 2022?



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REVIEW “Both Sides of the Blade” are dull

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Billed as the first film that Juliette Binoche and Vincent Lindon have appeared in together, it’s extremely unfortunate that Both Sides of the Blade is such a terrible film that doesn’t do justice to these two greats of French cinema. Both Sides of the Blade is unfortunately not the best work of any of the actors nor the director.

Originally screening in Australia at the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2022 under the title “Fire”, this film was released nationwide last week.


Director Claire Denis is a big fan of Binoche and Both Sides of the Blade is the third film for which she has been cast. Binoche has also appeared in Denis’ French language film Let the sunshine in and her English language film High Life.


Both Sides of the Blade sees Juliette Binoche in the role of Sara, a woman in a steamy relationship (portrayed right from the opening passionate ocean scenes) with Vincent Lindon’s character Jean. She finds herself torn when her former lover François (Grégoire Colin) comes back into her life after contacting Jean and giving him a job offer. For us, Sara’s desire for Jean wasn’t credible at all. He appeared creepy in every shot on screen. The use of menacing music as if to warn of danger every time he appeared was comical.

Both Sides of the Blade/ Avec amour et acharnement

Both Sides of the Blade sees the two men in Binoche’s life act like little boys. The scene, shown in the trailer, where Lindon says “You had the angel. Now you’ll have the devil.” before he says “I’m going to destroy it all” and proceeds to upturn tables and smash ornaments is laughable. It felt like we were watching a teenager’s TV show, not a film from a respected French director with French actors of considerable experience and respect.


On the sidelines, we see Jean trying to re-establish a relationship with his son Marcus (Issa Periga), who he had from a previous relationship. Marcus lives with his grandmother and Jean’s mother, Nelly (Bulle Ogier). Again, the dialogue used in scenes between Jean and Marcus is laughable. It doesn’t flow and seems unrealistic.


There are uncomfortable close-ups on the character’s faces at particular scenes of Both Sides of the Blade but I’m not sure whether they had any intention other than to make the audience feel uncomfortable. It didn’t make me feel closer to or relate more to any of the characters.


Sara is a radio journalist interviewing people about the war in Beirut and the effect of race on people’s perceptions but these snippets seem completely out of place. Perhaps Denis intended to draw a comparison between Sara’s interviewees and the struggles of Jean’s son Marcus (his mother being French-African) but this isn’t fleshed out enough to make any clear point for it being there. Is it to show that Sara has a decent job and can be disciplined and logical despite her extreme visceral reaction to seeing her ex?

Both sides of the blade/ avec amour et acharnement

Binoche and Lindon did the best with the scripts they were given but Both Sides of the Blade are not going to be prize-winning performances. We are surprised that Claire Denis won the Silver Bear for Best Director for Both Sides of the Blade at the Berlin International Film Festival 2022 and now wonder which films this was up against.


Both Sides of the Blade was a COVID lockdown project. It only happened because Claire Denis was unable to film Stars at Noon with Robert Pattison in Nicaragua and Panama at the intended time. It is a film that was perhaps best left to the lockdown imaginings or to the pages of Chrstine Argot’s book Un tournant de la vie, from which it is adapted. Not having read the book, we are unable to discern whether this is an incredibly poor adaptation or whether the book itself too was unconvincingly written.


Audiences will flock to see the film purely because of Juliette Binoche and Vincent Lindon and because it was directed by Claire Denis. Unfortunately, most will be disappointed as those in the cinema when we attended were. Both Sides of the Blade is one to avoid.


Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Palace Films.


One last chance to see The Passengers of the Night at MIFF tonight

REVIEW: Rumba Therapy – an absent Dad tries to get to know his daughter through dance classes

REVIEW: Fly Me Away – a predictable feel-good film

REVIEW: Men on the verge of a nervous breakdown is a comedy about feeling better through unconventional methods

REVIEW: Mali Twist is a story of impossible love in revolutionary Mali

REVIEW: Paris 13th District – a black and white story of love, lust and mistaken identity in current day Paris

REVIEW: Goliath: Dirty tactics, word play, and misinformation abound

REVIEW: OSS 117: From Africa with Love – Jean Dujardin and Pierre Niney on screen together is a delight

REVIEW: One year, one night is a moving depiction of a couple’s fight to survive after the Bataclan attacks

REVIEW: Bootlegger puts socio-political issues in a Canadian first nations reserve at the forefront



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