Fascinating French Films Coming to an Armchair Chez Vous

There is a wonderful online French Film Festival that begins today. From January 13 until February 13, 2023, French cinephiles needn’t leave their armchairs to watch some of the best films emerging from up-and-coming French filmmakers. This year’s line-up features 29 short and feature-length films that have charmed international audiences and critics alike. Most of the films are from France but two (one short and one feature) are from Belgium, and two (one short and one feature) are from Canada. With the exception of two classics, all of the films are remarkably current, having premiered between 2020 and 2022.

The festival, launched in 2011, is sponsored by Unifrance, a state-backed organization that was founded in 1949 to promote French cinema worldwide. Their selection committee takes great care to assure that they’re offering something for everyone: a mix of comedy, romance, drama, documentary, animation, and classics. And, you can’t beat the price. All 17 shorts are free. Feature films are 1.99€ (~$2.15) or you can purchase an unlimited package for 7.99€ (~$8.65).

Don’t worry about having to follow the rapid-fire dialogs of a comedy or the unscripted slang of a documentary. Subtitles are available in many different languages, including English. And, if you really want to get into the festival spirit, you can cast a vote for one feature and one short that you liked best.

Below are trailers for four feature films that caught my eye.

Magnetic Beats (Les Magnétiques)

“The birth of independent radio stations, a left-wing government in power, and the start of the 1980s provide the backdrop for the lives of two brothers who want to change the world.”

Bootlegger

Bootlegger follows the story of Mani, a student from the Algonquin nation who wishes to reintegrate with their society upon her return from college. However, she finds herself caught in a legal battle over the sale of alcohol on the reservation.”

The Crossing (La Traversée)

The Crossing is an homage from the director to her own mother and grandmother, forced to leave Odessa in 1905 to flee the pogroms. A film comprised of striking, animated paintings with universal qualities that speak of exile and the road from childhood to adolescence.”

Softie (Petite Nature)

“Johnny is 10 years old but is only interested in adult affairs. He is a curious onlooker to his mother’s turbulent love life in their social housing estate in Lorraine. This year at school, he is in Mr. Adamski’s class. The young teacher believes in Johnny and helps him push open the doors to a whole new world.”

About Carol A. Seidl

Serial software entrepreneur, writer, translator, and mother of 3. Avid follower of French media, culture, history, and language. Lover of books, travel, history, art, cooking, fitness, and nature. Cultivating connections with francophiles and francophones.

4 Comments

  1. Bootlegger covers a very difficult subject. Of course alcohol has had devastating effects on Indian reservations in the US, but we also know how when the US tried Prohibition, all it accomplished was to put the alcohol business into the hands of organized crime, enriching gangsters and leading to increased violence and sleaze. I wonder how the film will resolve this.

    Softie intrigued me enough to look up an online review to get a more complete idea of what it’s about. It’s hard to imagine such a film even being made in the US, at least today, though I once saw a Canadian film, Whole New Thing, with a similar theme. At least the film festival isn’t being timid about what to include.

    Thanks for letting us know about this.

    • Thanks for adding to the brief descriptions that I provided. Those two films attracted me since they take place in parts of the world that I have little exposure to and yes, the French have a rich history of ignoring societal no-nos when it comes to art.

  2. This is a fine link that I plan to pursue, Carol. Have you watched any of the full-length films?

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