Lie with me is a beautiful, heart-breaking film which is a must-see this AFFFF 2023

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Lie with me (Arrête avec tes mensonges) is one of the most beautiful films you will see at this year’s AFFFF. Olivier Peyon’s film is an adaptation of Philippe Besson’s novel of the same name. The book was published in France in 2017 and won awards that same year. The film is also getting a general release in cinemas on 26 October 2023.

Lie with me

On the wandering paths (also at this year’s AFFFF) was also adapted from book to film, and similarly to here, the protagonist is the author of the book which has been adapted. In On the wandering paths, the director chose to give the author a different name in the film, and Olivier Peyon has done the same thing in Lie with me. In On the wandering paths, Sylvain became Pierre, in Lie with me, Philippe becomes Stéphane.


Guillaume de Tonquédec plays Stéphane Belcourt, an author returning to his childhood town of Angouleme for the bicentenary of a cognac brand, which has chosen him as their keynote speaker at the celebrations. He hasn’t returned to the town since he left 35 years ago heartbroken after separating from his first love, Thomas.


While there over the course of a weekend for that event, Stéphane meets Lucas, Thomas’ son (that he didn’t know existed), who is played by Victor Belmondo (who was in Fly me away at AFFFF 2022 and De Gaulle at AFFFF 2021).


Lucas probes Stéphane to find out what his father was like, heartbroken at his sudden passing the year before. Stéphane, sworn to secrecy back when they were 17, doesn’t know how to face his own heartbreak or to tell his former lover’s son about his father’s homosexual past.


Rather than just being a love story portraying the author’s teenage love with Thomas, Lie with me, the film (and book) recounts through dual timelines, Stéphane meeting Thomas’ son, Lucas and his love affair with Thomas as a 17 year old which has left him with many questions and heartbreak ever since.


Lie with me elegantly recounts, with sensitivity, the love story between teenagers finding their way in a time and place when homosexuality was hidden, and the heartbreak and reckoning of two adults grappling with the secrets and the past.


Lie with me’s author gave Olivier Peyon carte blanche for the film and according to Peyon, upon seeing the film, someone close to Philippe Besson said: “It’s crazy how very much your movie is nothing like the book, while being completely like the book!” We haven’t read the book to make the comparisons but will be putting it on our reading list now.


It was great to see Guillaume de Tonquédec in a more serious role in Lie with me. We are more accustomed to seeing him in comedies like Happy 50/Plancha showing at this year’s AFFFF or in Roxane from AFFFF 2020. Victor Belmondo was wonderful in his role as the soul-searching son trying to find out about his father’s past, and why he lived such an unhappy life.

Lie with me/ Arrête avec tes mensonges
© Michael Crotto TS Productions

The 17 year old versions of Stéphane and Thomas are played by Jérémy Gillet and Julien de Saint Jean and both were superb. Lie with me was Julien de Saint-Jean’s first film role and both he, and Jérémy, show great promise. We will watch their career development with interest.


Guilaine Londez plays Gaëlle, the woman organising Stephane’s press commitments and making sure he is in the right place at the right time. She is a character written for the film, and one who not only adds a female touch to the mainly male cast, but also brings with her an important message: leaving a provincial town isn’t the only option when you’re different, you can also stay on your own terms.


Lie with me is a magnificently scripted, acted and shot film and one you’re going to need to have your tissues ready for. It is a heart-wrenching film which we strongly recommend watching at this year’s AFFFF.


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

To find out when Lie with me is showing in your city during the festival , click here.

NOTE: Lie with me is also getting a general release in cinemas on 26 October 2023.



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


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

Brisbane, QLD: 15th March to 12th April (encore screenings: 13 – 18 April) – Palace James Street, Palace Barracks

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

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

Perth, WA: 8th March to 5th April (encore screenings until 12 April)– Luna Leederville, Luna on SX, Windsor Cinema, Palace Raine Square, Camelot Outdoor Cinema

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A good Doctor delivers a dose of hilarity in the unexpected

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

Everybody Loves Jeanne: a funny and touching exploration of our inner thoughts and overcoming grief

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

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

In On the wandering paths, Jean Dujardin takes the path less travelled

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

To discover other events with French and francophone links happening in your city, check out our What’s on in April article.



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