REVIEW Roxane: a film that puts chickens and literature on show

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Roxane is a fantastic movie currently showing at cinemas for the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2020. Roxane is a chicken, but she is a chicken that is also a member of the family.


In the opening scene, we see Roxane entering Raymond’s car (Raymond is played by par Guillaume de Tonquédec -that you may know from L’étudiante and from Monsieur Henri and Le Prénom. Roxane sits on a perch purpose-made for her. For Raymond, the chickens have different personalities and he find that they like being spoken to. He congratulates them for their eggs of the day. Part of his daily life is reading them some Cyrano de Bergerac to celebrate their good work.


But things are about to abruptly change for Raymond and his chickens. The cooperative which, until now, has bought eggs from little producers like Raymond, announces that it will no longer do so. This decision will destroy the farm.


Raymond, in speaking with his Aunt Simone (played by Liliane Rovère that we find in the great series Dix Pour Cent available on Netlfix and from the film Pour Elle), decides to “create some buzz” by putting videos of himself with his chickens on YouTube in an attempt to save the farm. In his videos, he recites the texts of Cyrano de Bergerac to his chickens, just as he does each day.


However, these videos are not accepted by all of his family, especially not by his eldest, teenage son, who is very put out. His daughter, on the other hand, studying at university, pushes her father to continue.


His wife, Anne-Marie, played by Léa Drucker (C’est la vie, Place Publique and Jusqu’à la garde from the 2019 festival, and who you may also know from the series Le Bureau des Légendes which is streaming on SBS on Demand) is fantastic as his wife who is also very embarrassed by her husband’s videos and the fact that her colleagues at the bank, where she works, mock him. Desperate, she tries to find a way for the farm to survive.


Until now, Raymond has not been very amical with his neighbour Wendy (Kate Duchene that you may know from the English film An Education in which she played the Latin teacher) who runs a B&B on her property. But Raymond’s videos push them towards an improbable friendship. She is English but a former teacher of French literature, and will help Raymond with his diction, prononciation and will educate him in French literature. There is more than Cyrano de Bergerac after all!


Another egg producer, Poupou, is a character who is a little simple and very amusing. Lionel Abelanski (also in the film Edmond which is part of the 2020 AFFFF program) portrays him strongly.


The film Roxane is in the theme of other films in which the little people fight big companies. For example, Normandie Nude from last year’s festival in which cattle and dairy farmers decide to pose nude for a photo with the aim of bringing attention to their cause.


Roxane is the first feature-length film written and directed by Mélanie Auffret and had a lot of success in France.




Matilda Marseillaise watched a digital screener of the film Roxane before the commencement of the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2020


After having been postponed in March, the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2020 returned to cinemas on 14 juillet. The festival will run for 3 weeks and will finish on 4 August 2020.


You can read reviews of other films from the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2020 here:


Farewell to the night/L’Adieu a la nuit

Roubaix, une lumière/Oh, mercy!


What’s your all-time favourite French film? Which film(s) are you going to see at the 2020 festival?

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