You can stream the films from the Melbourne International Film Festival 2020 program, including 5 films in French. These cost $14 each.
Among the films are 2 from Canada, a Franco-Romanian and a Franco-German production, and one Belgo-German production. Three are feature documentaries, one is a feature drama and one is a feature animation. A varied selection of films in French at Melbourne International Film Festival 2020.
If you’re looking for free films, look at our article about short films in French
Don’t miss out – choose your films now to watch later
Even though the Melbourne International Film Festival programme is being streamed online this year, capacities are still limited for the films so to avoid missing out we suggest you jump onto the MIFF website and purchase your films (which you can do via the film links provided below)
You don’t have to watch the film as soon as you purchase it but purchasing it now adds it to your “library” of films you are able to watch at any time during the festival period (until 23 August).
Directed by Myriam Verreault • French, Innu, with English subtitles • Canada • Australian Premiere
This heartfelt drama, set in a First Nations community, follows two inseparable best friends who realise life is taking them along different paths.
As young girls, Shaniss and Mikuan swear they’ll always be there for each other. And while their personalities and family circumstances differ dramatically, they remain steadfast throughout childhood and adolescence on their Innu reserve in north-eastern Quebec. But then budding poet Mikuan falls in love with a white boy and dreams of going to Quebec City for university. Will she abandon her best friend?
The word kuessipan means ‘your turn’ in Innu, and in her narrative feature debut, director Myriam Verreault, who is of European descent, collaborated closely with Innu screenwriter Naomi Fontaine, on whose novel the film is based. Without ever extinguishing the fierce flame of its two central performances, this tender coming-of-age drama also offers a sophisticated critique of colonialism and a celebration of Indigenous cultures and communities.
Marona’s Fantastic Tale/ L’Extraordinaire Voyage de Marona
Feature Animation, Fantasy, Drama • 1h 32m
Directed by Anca Damian • French, with English subtitles • France, Romania • Australian Premiere
This gloriously imaginative fable isn’t just about a dog’s life – it’s a profound meditation on life itself.
Marona, an adorable black-and-white dog, lies mortally injured from a car collision, and her life flashes through her mind in wildly colourful animation. An unwanted puppy adopted and discarded by a series of owners – an acrobat, a construction worker, his ailing mother and vapid wife, and finally a little girl who loves Marona passionately until she grows up – she learns about both the care and cruelty of humans, and muses on the weird things that matter to them.
Anca Damian’s stunning animation makes this film powerfully empathetic: guided by Marona’s thoughtful voiceover, vivid imagery explores how it might feel to experience the world as a dog does. By showing how inadequately humans repay animals’ endless capacity for love, this deeply moving, philosophical story invites both kids and adults to become better people as well as better pet owners.
Prayer for a Lost Mitten /Prière pour une Mitaine Perdue
Feature Documentary • 1h 19m
Directed by Jean-François Lesage • French, English, Haitian Creole, with English subtitles • Canada • Australian Premiere
You’ll never see lost property the same way after watching this elegy to loss and yearning in wintry Montreal.
The people who come to the lost-and-found office at the Montreal Metro’s transit centre are seekers. Along with mislaid keys, hats and glasses, they’re often missing things that are more difficult to retrieve: childhood happiness, an old flame, a dead loved one. Over the course of one snowy winter, these Canadians ponder the personal associations that grant objects their true warmth.
Director Jean-François Lesage spent two days observing anxious people at the lost-and-found, before interviewing them and documenting their social lives. Their reflections and interactions pave the way for profound insights into memory, mortality and the human condition. There’s a poetic melancholy to this film’s nocturnal interludes, which Lesage captures in crisp black-and-white, and, in an era of social distancing, Prayer for a Lost Mitten emerges as an ode to shared spaces and city life in all its bustle of missed connections.
Feature Documentary, Experimental • 2h 9m
Directed by Ulrike Ottinger • French, German, English, with English subtitles • France, Germany • Australian Premiere
Radical artist and pioneer of lesbian cinema Ulrike Ottinger revisits her formative years in Paris, examining the artistic and political energy of the 1960s through a freewheeling, deeply personal lens.
In 1962, at the age of 20, Ulrike Ottinger (Prater, MIFF 2007; Freak Orlando) moved to Paris. Over the course of the next seven years, the German avant-garde filmmaker would pass through a city in both artistic flourish and social upheaval, riven first by the atrocities of the Algerian War and later by the mass uprisings of May 1968.
Juxtaposing the artworks and cultural landscape of the time – captured through a smorgasbord of archival footage – with images of today’s Paris, Ottinger’s unorthodox, politically engaged documentary reflects on the people and spaces that shaped her identity as an artist, and how the legacy of that turbulent era remains inscribed in the very fabric of the city.
Martin Margiela: In His Own Words
Feature Documentary • 1h 30m
Directed by Reiner Holzemer • English, French, with English subtitles • Germany, Belgium • Australian Premiere
The reclusive Belgian avant-garde couturier breaks his long silence in an intensely personal story that the Hollywood Reporter hails as the best fashion documentary of the last decade.
At last you’ll hear Martin Margiela’s voice… but you won’t see his face. The founder of maverick deconstructionist fashion label Maison Margiela always shunned celebrity, preferring to let his designs speak for him. He’s refused to be profiled, avoided photographs and never appeared at his shows; in 2009, he resigned from his own label without explanation. His work has been the object of previous documentaries, but Reiner Holzemer (Dries, MIFF 2017) finally gets him talking.
In voiceover, the enigmatic and serious Margiela guides Holzemer through his influences and achievements, explaining the thinking behind 70 key garments. Other interviewees include Jean Paul Gaultier, who speaks glowingly of his former protégé, and there’s plenty of archival footage of Margiela’s unforgettable shows – which, like his designs, were groundbreaking in their level of artistry.
Don’t forget you can watch short films in French for free.
Some other articles you may enjoy:
Melbourne, you don’t have to miss out on the AFFFF 2020 films!
11 French movies from the 2019 Alliance Française French Film Festival to watch on SBS on Demand
7 French films from the AFFFF 2019 to watch for free at home
Which films are you going to watch from the Melbourne International Film Festival 2020 program?