REVIEW: Felicità at BIFF 2020

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Felicità is a feel-good French film showing at BIFF 2020 this week. But unlike other happy family films, this is a bit of a rollercoaster ride that shows this is no stable family life.

After all, how often do you meet a child who is eager to get back to school after the Summer holidays? Not often. Yet in Felicità, that’s exactly what Tommy wants.


From the opening scene, we are let into the crazy, chaotic world in which Tommy and her parents live. Sitting in a roadhouse diner, Tommy sits with headphones blocking all outside sounds (including her parents). Her father Tim gets her to remove them only to break the news that she is not their biological daughter but that of a former flatmate who abandoned her as a baby and who they never heard from or saw again until they saw that he had become the famous rapper Orelsan. Tommy doesn’t react. The father realises his daughter is no longer as easy to fool as perhaps she once was.


Pio Marmaï stars as Tim, Tommy’s reckless, never going to grow up, father. You may remember him from Alliance Française French Film Festival opening night film in 2019: The trouble with you (En Liberté), or from other previous Alliance Française French Film Festival favourites Back to Burgundy (Ce qui nous lie) and Delicacy (La délicatesse). We know that he’s been in jail and missed many years of daughter Tommy’s childhood but we don’t know quite why or for how long.


Tommy is played by Rita Merle, Felicità director Bruno Merle’s own daughter. For a debut role, she played the daughter at the whim of her parents’ day-to-day existence incredibly well. From frustrations, surprises and let-downs, Tommy experiences them all.



Tommy’s mother, Chloé, is played by Camille Rutherford who is best known for Blue is the Warmest Colour (La vie d’Adèle), Holy Motors, and Mary Queen of Scots. We see her as a character swept away by Tim’s actions and decisions, for better or for worse. At times you wonder if she wants to make what society would view as the right move and take her daughter and get out of the situation but despite how messed up this family might be, there’s no doubting their love for their daughter.


Orelsan pops up throughout the film but not as himself, rather as an astronaut, washed up from the ocean, riding past their car on a motorcycle or sitting besides Tommy when she is alone in the car one night.


Felicità has you on the edge of your seat as you wonder whether things are about to take a sour turn. After all, don’t bad actions catch up with you after a while? Will Tommy get her wish of making it to the first day back at school this year?




Felicità is showing at BIFF this Thursday 8 at New Farm Six Cinemas (sold out), Friday 9 at Dendy Cinemas Coorparoo and Saturday 10 October at Reading Cinemas Newmarket. You can purchase your tickets for Felicità via this link:

Ticket Prices:

  • Adult $16.50
  • Concession* $12.50
  • QAGOMA Member** $11.50
  • Child*** $10.50


If you purchase tickets to 6 or more films (in one transaction), you will receive a discount of 15% off your tickets.


BIFF 2020 started last week and runs until 11 October. You can view the full program at


Which French films are you going to watch at BIFF 2020?


Other articles about films at BIFF

Find out about French language films showing at BIFF 2020 here

Find out about French co-productions not in French at BIFF 2020.

Cats, detours and natural disasters- short films at BIFF 2020


Read these articles if you’d like to find out which movies from previous French film festivals you can watch at home:

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

Melbourne, you don’t have to miss out on the AFFFF 2020 films!



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