A curated programme echoes the theme 'movement' through bodies, creations, and migratory flows for the festival's 13th edition.
Institut Français UAE and Cinema Akil have announced the Franco Film Festival, which will return for its 13th edition in collaboration with the French, Swiss, Canadian, Luxembourg and Belgian embassies.
Cinema Akil will host the Franco Film Festival over a span of seven days from March 10 to 16, 2023, to celebrate the French language and its diversity.
Starting on March 10, the festival programme will screen a total of nine feature films across genres of drama, comedy and animation, for cinema lovers in the UAE. In addition to screening selected films, audience members will have the opportunity to meet with the creators and engage in insightful Q&A sessions.
The programme curated for the 13th edition of the festival will echo the theme of ‘movement’, from bodies to creations all the way to migratory flows. Showcasing regional premieres and festival favourites, all critically acclaimed, Cinema Akil is set to celebrate the French language through the creative lens of cinema.
The film programme opens with Alain Ughetto’s animated feature gem, Interdit aux Chiens et aux Italiens, also called No Dogs Or Italians Allowed. Entirely made in stop-motion, this Franco-Italian-Swiss co-production tells the story of the director: the exile of his Italian grandparents who came to live and work in France. The opening film is then followed by a homage to the pioneer of the French New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard, with the screening of Breathless.
The film programme designed to showcase the richness of French-speaking cinema will also screen Lola Quivoron’s film Rodeo, which premiered in Cannes and follows the narrative of a young girl, infiltrating the male-dominated world of rider stunts. Another celebrated, animated feature playing at the festival will be Benjamin Massoubre and Amandine Fredon’s Little Nicholas: Happy as Can Be or Le Petit Nicolas to depict the birth of an art sketch character as he experiences childhood through arguments, fights, punishments, camaraderie, pranks and more. Works of up-and-coming artists from Canada will also be screened at Cinema Akil including Caroline Monnet’s first feature film, Bootlegger which offers an insight into prohibition and contraband. Additionally, the film programme includes, Delphine Lehericey’s drama-comedy, Last Dance which is an amusing screenplay of a recently widowed, 75-year-old retiree who has to put up with his family members intruding on his idle life. Other films screened at the festival include Mounia Meddour’s much-awaited new feature film Houria, Roschdy Zem’s Our Ties and Habib La Grande Aventure by Benoît Mariage which will also be a regional premiere of the film.
On March 10, the opening night of the festival, Alain Ughetto, director of No Dogs or Italians allowed, will be present over zoom to engage in insightful conversation with the audience. Catherine Chagnon, producer of Bootlegger, will also be joining the audience on March 14 followed by Benoit Mariage, director of Habib on the 15 and 16 of March.
Speaking about the Franco Film Festival, Nicolas Niemtchinow, Ambassador of France to the United Arab Emirates, said: “We are very proud to lead this collective adventure with the other embassies and Cinema Akil around a magnificent programme for all audiences. The theme of movement came to us with the death of one of the most emblematic filmmakers: Jean-Luc Godard, leader of the New Wave. This protest movement, represented by a young generation of French filmmakers, advocated freer production methods. The “New Wave” cinema, by freeing itself from constraints, left much room for experimentation and the emergence of new talent. Despite its brevity, this movement had a significant influence on French and international cinema and is still felt today in many national cinemas. It is therefore its influence that we wish to celebrate during this edition, but more broadly, an independent, free and inventive cinema.”
Butheina Kazim, Founder of Cinema Akil, added: “We are thrilled to be hosting the Franco Film Festival’s 13th edition at Cinema Akil. The ability to bring international gems to a culturally diverse audience in Dubai comes with the responsibility of highlighting the art in its original language. We’re excited to be able to present a range of voices in French-speaking cinema for this edition, in association with the Embassies of France, Switzerland, Canada, Luxembourg and Belgium.”