Francophonie Festival returns next week with more French cinema

Your annual dose of French culture is back again. Returning Mar 11-30 is Alliance Francaise’s staple event Francophonie Festival, ever-ready to celebrate the diversity of the French language and intercultural dialogue on our sunny island.

For the linguistically inclined, Alliance Francaise has teamed up with the French, Belgium, Canadian, and Swiss embassies to present workshops, conferences and an exhibition on the best of French culture. For the rest of us, there’s the usual slick line-up of French films to look forward to. This year’s edition features eight premiere movies spanning all genres; the Francophonie Festival has a knack for bringing in Singapore premieres that end up in other film festivals later in the year. If you need some help choosing, here are four stand-outs.

Sauver Ou Perir / Through the Fire (Mar 14)

A young firefighter lives his life in the fire station with his wife, baby twins, and a niggling sense of being unfulfilled. He finally gets his wish the day of a huge fire—in the attempt to rescue his team, he gets trapped by the flames, just barely escaping but badly burnt. Broken from the inside out, he has to pick himself up through the pain and the stares, and learn what it truly means to have lived through the fire.

L’Opera / The Paris Opera (Mar 16)

Think Black Swan—but real, and minus the ballerinas with debilitating mental illnesses. This award-winning documentary takes you backstage of the Paris Opera, where a devoted troupe of artists prepare to raise the curtain for their next show. But an unprecedented strike complicates matters, compounded by the daily struggles of running a classical music institution—choreographers quitting, terrorist attacks in Paris; the usual.

Les aventures de Spirou et Fantasio (Mar 17)

Translating into Spirou and Fantasio’s Big Adventures, this family adventure comedy involving a bellhop and a journalist is less Grand Budapest Hotel, and more reminiscent of the Spy Kids franchise and the early ‘00s era of kitschy spy comedies. The film is actually based off a popular French-Belgian cartoon series. The bellhop in question is actually a thief pretending to be a groom in a palace; when the two strangers meet in an unlikely occurrence, they end up teaming up to defeat an evil gangster, who has kidnapped the planet’s best scientist.

L’oeil Du Cyclone / Eye of the Storm (Mar 21)

Debate moral ethics in this moving drama, where young lawyer Emma has to come to terms with defending a former war criminal from a rebel movement that destroyed her childhood. Exploring the themes of justice and morality, the film follows Emma as she takes on the case, at the expense of her own life and career.

Francophonie Festival 2019 happens Mar 11-30 at Alliance Francaise and other venues. Tickets and the full line-up available here.