Melbourne International Film Festival 2022: 25 Films in French

Reading Time: 13 minutes

Melbourne International Film Festival 2022 returns for its 70th edition next week. Read on to discover 25 Films in French showing at the Melbourne International Film Festival 2022.

  Melbourne International Film Festival 2022

City of Pirates La ville des pirates

Director: Raoul Ruiz

Origin: France, Portugal (1983)

Director in Focus: Lucile Hadžihalilović | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Drama , Fantasy

Neither a city nor pirates figure in this whimsically illogical film, which follows the sleepwalking virgin Isidore (Anne Alvaro, star of Andrzej Wajda’s Danton, MIFF 1983). She encounters a 10-year-old boy (Melvil Poupaud, who as an adult headlines Laurence Anyways, MIFF 2012) and the lone inhabitant of an island castle (Hugues Quester, who later stars in Hard to Be a God, MIFF 2014). The former may have murdered his own family; the latter may share a body with his own sister.



Director: Lukas Dhont

Origin: Belgium, France, Netherlands (2022)

Headliners | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Drama

Viewer Advice: Includes themes that some may find distressing. Viewer discretion is recommended.

Close comes to Melbourne International Film Festival 2022 after winning prizes at Sydney Film Festival 2022. Childish homophobia poisons two teen boys’ lifelong friendship in this emotionally devastating Cannes Grand Prix–winning film from Lukas Dhont (Girl, MIFF 2018). Suddenly aware that their friendship isn’t deemed ‘normal’ by their peers, 13 year old Léo decides to change, pushing a confused and hurt Rémi, also 13 out of his life – with tragic consequences.


The Crossing La Traversée

Director: Florence Miailhe

Origin: Czech Republic, France, Germany (2021)

Animation, MIFF Schools | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Adventure, Animation , Coming of Age , Drama , Romance

Mixing realism and myth, this award-winning film uses a unique animation technique to tell the story of two war-torn siblings with beauty, light and hope.


Thirteen-year-old Kyona and her younger brother, Adriel, flee their unnamed European village in the darkness of night when persecuting forces threaten their lives. Separated from their parents, the siblings become refugees, seeking shelter and safety as they journey across the border into another country. Along the way, they face dangers and find friends; all the while, Kyona records the faces and stories of the people they encounter as drawings in her sketchbook.


De Humani Corporis Fabrica

Directors: Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel

Origin: France, Switzerland (2022)

Documentary Visions | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Documentary , Experimental

Viewer Advice: Contains graphic scenes of medical procedures and some scenes that may cause viewers distress.

Visionary filmmakers Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor craft a visceral hymn to life, death and the human body unlike anything the cinema has ever seen.


If you’ve ever fantasised about David Cronenberg (whose new film Crimes of the Future screens at MIFF 70) directing Fantastic Voyage, this is the film for you. Not for the faint of heart – or stomach, bowel or pick-your-body-part – the latest work from groundbreaking Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab filmmakers Paravel and Castaing-Taylor takes a literal deep dive inside the human body, using impossibly microscopic cameras, X-rays, ultrasounds and endoscopic images to examine our complex inner ecosystems in unprecedented, sometimes harrowing detail. All the while, intense imagery is paired with dissociated conversations between surgeons and hospital staff – daily travails, the cost of housing, medical esoterica.


Everybody Loves Jeanne Tout le monde aime Jeanne

Director: Céline Devaux

Origin: France, Portugal (2022)

Europe, International | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Comedy , Drama , Romance

Céline Devaux’s charming debut feature is an unconventional rom-com and a compelling portrait of grief that makes innovative use of hand-drawn animation within its live-action narrative.


In high school, Jeanne (a magnificent Blanche Gardin, France) was the girl everyone loved. But things haven’t quite turned out how she planned. Thirty-six and on the brink of bankruptcy, she’s left with little choice but to leave Paris, return to Lisbon, and pack up her dead mother’s apartment to put it on the market. As her life falls apart, Jeanne runs into both the odd Jean (Laurent Lafitte, Elle, MIFF 2016), who remembers her from high school and has harboured a long-time crush, and her now-married ex-boyfriend, Vitor (Nuno Lopes, Saint George) – with unexpected consequences.


More cynical about love than the average rom-com, Everybody Loves Jeanne – screening at MIFF direct from Cannes Critics’ Week – is a witty, melancholy and frequently surprising look at a woman in crisis just doing her best.



Director: Lucile Hadžihalilović

Origin: France (2015)

Director in Focus: Lucile Hadžihalilović | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Drama , Fantasy

The striking second feature from Lucile Hadžihalilović (Earwig, MIFF 2022; Innocence, MIFF 2005) plunges headlong into the mysterious dreamscape of childhood fantasies and fears.


Nicolas lives with his mother on a remote island inhabited only by women and young boys. Here, in a hospital overlooking the ocean, the women administer mysterious medical treatments to their sons. But when Nicolas spies the rotting corpse of another young boy, he begins to question his situation and surroundings.


Falcon Lake

Director: Charlotte Le Bon

Origin: Canada, France (2022)

International, North America | Feature

Language: English, French with English subtitles

French-Canadian actor Charlotte Le Bon makes a bold directorial debut with this haunting coming-of-age romance set during a summer vacation, straight from Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.


Based on Bastien Vivès’ 2017 graphic novel Une Soeur, this eerie, dreamy story of growing pains recounts the experiences of nearly-14-year-old Bastien, an awkward, earnest teenager who falls for the slightly older and more worldly Chloé while their families are vacationing in a lakeside cabin in rural Quebec. But it’s not just young love that’s in the air: something ghostly seems to be haunting the body of water and the surrounding forest. Amid their trepidation about the spectral unknown, Bastien must face the uncertainties of advancing adolescence.


Final cut coupez!

Director: Michel Hazanavicius

Origin: France (2022)

Night Shift | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Comedy , Horror

Romain Duris and Bérénice Bejo star in this year’s Cannes Opening Night film: a gory, goofy remake of Shin’ichirō Ueda’s cult Japanese zombie comedy One Cut of the Dead.


In this affectionate and entertainingly gross French remake, a shambolic, low-budget zombie movie gets an unexpected jolt of afterlife when its obnoxious, abusive director (Duris, Mood Indigo, MIFF 2013; The Beat That My Heart Skipped) unlocks a real-life ancient curse. Pretty soon, the cast and crew – including the director’s wife, the martial-arts-trained head of make-up (Bejo, The Past, The Artist) – have bigger problems than their production falling apart: namely, waging bloody war against rampaging hordes of the undead.


SHORT FILM: Goodbye Jérôme! Au Revoir Jérôme!

Directors: Adam Sillard, Chloé Farr, Gabrielle Selnet

Origin: France (2021)

MIFF Shorts | Short

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Animation

This is one of two French language short films showing at Melbourne International Film Festival 2022. In this funny, funky and surreal hand-drawn animation, Jérôme arrives in heaven in search of his late wife. Taking inspiration from their own romantic breakups, French co-directors Gabrielle Selnet, Adam Sillard and Chloé Farr craft a surreal and bittersweetly funny hand-drawn tale about a man who arrives in the afterlife, where he re-meets his dearly departed wife. But things are not how they were. Goodbye Jérôme won the International Jury Award for Best Short Film in the Berlinale’s Generation 14Plus section.


Incredible but True Incroyable mais vrai

Director: Quentin Dupieux

Origin: France (2022)

Night Shift | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Comedy , Sci-Fi

French fabulist Quentin Dupieux returns with a goofball comedy involving time travel, the pandemic and one man’s robotic penis.


In the latest tale from the ever-expanding Dupieux loopy-verse, middle-aged couple Alain (Alain Chabat) and Marie (Léa Drucker, Two of Us, MIFF 2020) move to a tasteful new modern house in the suburbs, where they discover – what else – a de-ageing time-travel tunnel conveniently located in the basement. Time turns inside out, lives turn upside down, and Alain’s work buddy (Benoît Magimel) arrives with his all-new electronic phallus.



Director: Lucile Hadžihalilović

Origin: Belgium, France, UK (2004)

Director in Focus: Lucile Hadžihalilović | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Coming of Age , Drama , Fantasy

Marion Cotillard stars in this powerful, Gothic coming-of-age tale from Lucile Hadžihalilović, based on a late-19th-century novella by Frank Wedekind.


Six-year-old Iris emerges from a burial box into a dreamlike world of pre-pubescent girls, all with coloured ribbons in their hair. The ribbons denote the girls’ ages – all-important in this self-contained school set deep in the forest’s heart. Here, the girls are tutored in ballet and biology, for it is essential that they be pretty, elegant breeders. Those who are disobedient are punished, and those who try to escape never leave: obedience is the only path to happiness. But what is the fate of the girls, when each evening the oldest departs, never to return?


Jane by Charlotte Jane par Charlotte

Director: Charlotte Gainsbourg

Origin: France (2021)

Documentaries, Music on Film | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Documentary , Music

Charlotte Gainsbourg makes her directorial debut with this quietly revelatory portrait of her mother, Jane Birkin, offering tender insights into their relationship.


Gainsbourg (Jacky in the Kingdom of Women, MIFF 2014; Melancholia, MIFF 2011) remains a darling of the contemporary arthouse circuit, while Birkin – a celebrated singer, actor and fashion icon – has herself directed a documentary about her husband Serge Gainsbourg (Souvenirs of Serge, MIFF 2012) and been the subject of a film, Agnès Varda’s Jane B. par Agnès V. (1988). Now, the younger Gainsbourg follows in Birkin’s footsteps, trailing her mother on tour from Japan to New York, and from her Brittany coastal retreat to the Paris apartment they once shared with Serge, which has lain untouched since his death in 1991.


La bouche de Jean-Pierre

Director: Lucile Hadžihalilović

Origin: France (1996)

Director in Focus: Lucile Hadžihalilović | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Viewer Advice: Contains suicide themes and themes of child abuse.

In Lucile Hadžihalilović’s evocatively unsettling debut, a child is exposed to a hostile world.


After her mother attempts suicide, 11-year-old Mimi is sent off to stay with her aunt in a cramped apartment. This suffocating new environment is crawling with suspicion and small-mindedness: a petition is circulated to evict migrant neighbours; lurid reports of sex crimes blare from the television; and Mimi is constantly reminded of her own interloper status, treated like a nuisance and emotionally neglected. Her aunt’s boyfriend, Jean-Pierre, has no such qualms about coming and going from the flat, however – and he may be harbouring dark designs of his own.


Lingui, the Sacred Bonds

Director: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

Origin: Chad (2021)

Africa & Middle East, International | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Drama , Social Justice

Viewer Advice: Contains high-impact violence and high-impact sexual themes.

In Chad, where religion rules with an iron fist, a teenage girl seeks to end her pregnancy.


Amina, a single mother in a conservative village, lives a hand-to-mouth existence with her daughter, Maria. When the 15-year-old reveals that she is pregnant and wants to have an abortion, Amina is initially caught between her Muslim faith and her desire to spare her child from enduring the experiences she herself suffered as a socially ostracised teenage mother. But if the latter is to be achieved, the funds must be raised – and Amina will have to call on the aid of a secret network of women.


The Mountain La montagne

Director: Thomas Salvador

Origin: France (2022)

Europe, International | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Stunning widescreen cinematography will keep audiences locked to the screen in this surprising man-in-wilderness tale set among the glaciers of the French Alps.


Pierre is your typical office worker, devoting hours to making money for other people. When a glimpse of Mont Blanc out the window catches his eye, he ditches the corporate world and decides to scale the mountain. As you can imagine, this probably isn’t wise for an amateur hiker. But as Pierre attempts to carve out a life in the ice, things take a turn for the surreal. To tell any more would be to reveal the narrative pivot that The Mountain takes viewers on – but just know it has been compared to Gaspar Noé (whose film Vortex, incidentally, also screens at this year’s MIFF).


La nature

Director: Artavazd Peleshian

Origin: Armenia, France, Germany (2021)

Documentaries, The Natural World | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

The first film in nearly 30 years from legendary Armenian auteur Artavazd Pelechian, Nature is a black-and-white, found-footage montage of pure awe and power.


Revered by contemporaries including Jean-Luc Godard and Sergei Parajanov, Pelechian is, to quote the latter, “one of the few authentic geniuses in the world of cinema”. Until recently, many thought his career had wrapped up with 1993’s Life. But in 2019, aged 81, he released Nature – his longest creation yet, at just over an hour, and the result of 15 years of work. An astounding collage of footage spotlighting the dramatic, inspiring and terrifying forces of Earth, especially at their most destructive, the film continues its director’s lifelong fascination with the delicate tightrope that humanity walks in coexistence with the natural world.



Director: Lucile Hadžihalilović

Origin: France (2014)

Lucile Hadžihalilović | Short

Language: French with English subtitles

Please note: This short film screens with La bouche de Jean-Pierre at Melbourne International Film Festival 2022.

Inside a pavilion in the centre of a flower garden, five women serve their queen.


A rhythmic ritual unfolds between a nectar-giving queen and the women who wait on her. Nectar is a mysterious, genre-transcending tale in which formal narrative gives way to a captivating sensory experience that takes in nature’s glorious fertility.


One Fine Morning Un beau matin

Director: Mia Hansen-Løve

Origin: France, Germany (2022)

Headliners | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Drama , Romance

Léa Seydoux is sublime in Mia Hansen-Løve’s deeply personal family drama about the upheavals and unexpected joys of everyday life.


Sandra (Seydoux) leads a subdued, self-contained existence in bustling Paris. Widowed five years earlier, she juggles work as a translator with raising her eight-year-old daughter and looking after her father, who has a neurodegenerative condition that is causing blindness and delusions. As she struggles to find a suitable care facility for him, Sandra runs into an old friend of her husband’s, the unhappily married Clément, and begins to let go of her past.



Director: Albert Serra

Origin: France, Germany, Portugal, Spain (2022)

Europe, International | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Drama

Direct from Cannes comes Catalan provocateur Albert Serra’s most dazzling work yet: a Polynesian fever dream full of dark intrigue, ghost submarines and creeping menace.


On the island of Tahiti, raffish high commissioner De Roller (Benoît Magimel, The Piano Teacher) moves through shady nightclubs and the entitled establishment, hatching plans to build a casino even as he’s enveloped by a growing paranoia. As he begins to have visions of phantom submarines against the horizon, De Roller fears the return of the nuclear testing that ravaged the region.


The Passengers of the Night Les passagers de la nuit

Director: Mikhäel Hers

Origin: France (2022)

Europe, International | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Drama

Charlotte Gainsbourg is the essence of Gallic cool in this moody, insouciant film from French dramatist Mikhaël Hers (Amanda).


In 1981, even as Paris explodes with optimism at the election of socialist candidate François Mitterand as president, Elisabeth (Gainsbourg, Jacky in the Kingdom of Women, MIFF 2014; Melancholia, MIFF 2011) is on the back foot: a cash-strapped, recently divorced cancer survivor who needs to provide for her two adolescent offspring. Beginning from this point of considerable conflict, Hers instead unfurls a nostalgic and quietly uplifting narrative that – following the entry of a wayward teen into the family’s lives – traces Elisabeth’s years-long journey of self-rediscovery.



Director: Laura Wandel

Origin: Belgium (2021)

Bright Horizons | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Coming of Age , Drama

A gripping child’s-eye view of the cycles of bullying and how the schoolyard mirrors the ‘playground’ of adult life.


It’s the first day of school and anxious seven-year-old Nora is sticking close to her older brother, Abel. When she witnesses Abel being harassed by some older students, she attempts to step in – but he refuses, swearing her to secrecy. To protect him, Nora sets out to learn the unwritten rules of the kids’ social hierarchy, which puts the siblings’ bond under extreme pressure. In the volatile jungle of the schoolyard, only the cruel can survive.



Director: Lola Quivoron

Origin: France (2022)

Bright Horizons | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Crime , Drama

A daredevil female motorcyclist revs after a place to belong in this high-octane French genre mashup.


Teenage motorcyclist Julia was born to ride, and woe betide anyone who gets in her way. She muscles into the underground motocross stunt ‘rodeo’ scene in the northern outskirts of Paris, where she threatens and angers some boys in the B-Mores gang while earning the wry respect of others. Their leader, incarcerated chop-shop owner Domino, quickly recognises Julia’s potential, but his tough yet vulnerable wife becomes a more complex kind of ally. And when Julia reveals her idea for their most audacious heist yet, the rubber meets the road in the riskiest way possible.


That kind of Summer Un été comme ça

Director: Denis Côté

Origin: Canada (2022)

International, North America | Feature

Language: French, German with English subtitles

Genre: Drama

Viewer Advice: Contains high-impact sexual themes.

Following Denis Côté’s exploration of male entitlement in Social Hygiene (MIFF 2021), the Canadian auteur returns with an intimate look at female sexuality – well, hypersexuality.


Sex worker Geisha, abuse survivor Léonie and artist Eugénie are invited to a month-long therapeutic retreat in rural Quebec. Each woman harbours a complicated, not-entirely-healthy relationship with sex, but Mathilde, the retreat’s founder, aims not to ‘cure’ them but rather help them better understand their various proclivities and impulses, while also providing a ‘holiday’ from the chaos of their lives. But, heavily pregnant, Mathilde reluctantly cedes authority to German therapist Octavia, who has her own issues to deal with. Meanwhile, as the only man on site, gentle social worker Sami finds himself the object of the women’s libidinous attentions.


Tori and Lokita Tori et Lokita

Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Origin: Belgium (2022)

Headliners | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Drama , Social Justice

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne present another heartbreaking, empathetic tale from the margins of Belgium’s underclass, which won Cannes’ special 75th Anniversary Prize.


Sweet-natured Tori and staunch Lokita are child refugees, eager to make Belgium their home after a long and traumatic journey from West Africa. Lacking the necessary papers, they must convince the authorities that they are blood relatives who are ‘worthy’ of remaining in the country, but it won’t be easy. In an attempt to gain false documents, Lokita finds work at a drug dealer’s grow house; separated for the first time, the pair scrounge to survive and do everything they can to be together again.



Director: Gaspar Noe

Origin: Belgium, France (2021)

Europe, International | Feature

Language: French with English subtitles

Genre: Drama


Gaspar Noé comes for your ageing parents in this pitiless yet emotionally powerful examination of fragile mortality (starring the Dario Argento).


A retired psychologist (played mournfully by Françoise Lebrun, The Mother and the Whore, MIFF 2014) is now lost in late-stage dementia. She should be in care, but her selfish film-critic husband (giallo legend Argento in his first, and apparently last, on-screen role) insists he can manage – although he has heart trouble, and seems more invested in finishing his long-gestating book. Meanwhile, their deadbeat son can’t (even) help himself, let alone his parents who are getting on in years. A split screen dramatises this fractured family: filmed separately, they shuffle around their cluttered, shabby Paris apartment towards an undignified end.


WHAT: Melbourne International Film Festival 2022

WHERE: various cinemas in Melbourne

WHEN: 4 – 21 August 2022 (in cinemas) & 11- 28 August 2022 (MIFF PLAY)

HOW: Tickets via

HOW MUCH: Various options available for single or multiple tickets

Share Pass

12 standard festival admissions, which you can share with up to three (3) friends per session at MIFF 70. That means you can book two people into six sessions, three people into four sessions, four people into three sessions, or any combination that suits you and yours.

  • Full: $199
  • Concession: $185
  • MIFF Members: $170


Discovery Pass

Five standard festival sessions, plus two (2) bonus off-peak sessions, at MIFF 70 – just for you.

  • Full: $105
  • Concession: $95
  • MIFF Members: $85


Deluxe Membership

Lets you buy a single ticket to every single film showing at Melbourne International Film Festival 2022: $580


Peak pricing (weekends and weekdays after 5pm)

  • Full: $24.50
  • Concession: $20
  • MIFF Members: $18.50
  • Group: $18.50 (per person, 10 people or more)


Off-peak pricing (weekdays before 5pm)

  • Full: $21.50
  • Concession: $18.50
  • MIFF Members: $16
  • Group: $16.50 (per person, 10 people or more)


Premium pricing (weekends and weekdays after 5pm)

  • Full: $32
  • Concession: $30
  • MIFF Members: $28
  • Group: $28 (per person, 10 people or more)


Which films are you planning to see at Melbourne International Film Festival 2022?



Enter your email to subscribe to new article notifications about all things French and francophone in Australia