My French Film Festival 2023 Highlights

18 Jan 2023
The annual My French Film Festival takes place from Fri, Jan 13 to Mon, Feb 13 and with 29 short and feature films ranging from comedies, dramas and thrillers to arthouse and animation, there is a film for everyone.

The festival can be streamed for free online at This year the organisers have split the festival into six themes: Doing it their way, France has got talent, kids turned out fine, under your spell, Faces + Places and enjoy the silence.

To help you decide which films to add to your list we've chosen some highlights from each category.
Cassandre, the protagonist in Zero Fucks Given.

From the 'Doing it Their Way' category our picks are Zero Fucks Given and Bloody Oranges. The first is directed by Emmanuel Marre and Juliette Lecoustre and follows Cassandre, a 26-year old flight attendant. It depicts the at times boring and absurd daily existence in a degrading working environment and Cassandre's search for meaning within it. If you're wanting to see it in cinema rather than on your couch you can book for a screening at the Bioscope. Jean-Christophe Meurisse's dark comedy Bloody Oranges follows a tax evading minister, a retired couple swamped in debt and a teenage girl who meets a sex maniac. With its weird and at times monstrous characters it is a strange and unconstrained satire on power in society.

'France has got Talent' features new and exciting French directors. The Braves follows two aspiring actors and explores the difficulties of making it in the film industry as well as their evolving relationship. Paloma by Hugo Bardin is a heartfelt and at times hilarious roadtrip with Paloma, a drag queen, and Mike, a dour trucker. At only 20 odd minutes it manages to paint a beautiful portrayal of grief, loss and love.
Still from Valéry Carnoy's Titan.

The 'Kids turned out fine', or at least that's what these films show with their explorations of childhood and adolescence. Valéry Carnoy's Titan is a gripping look at the violence and pressure young boys undergo and partake in as they try to assert their place in the world while contending with dangerous conceptions around masculinity. Softie provides a more hopeful look at this search for meaning –  following 12-year-old Johnny who, after a new teacher arrives at his school, is inspired to begin looking at the world with different eyes.

Sandrine Bonnaire puts in a masterful acting performance in To Our Loves in the 'Under your spell' category. She plays 15-year-old Suzanne who is beginning to explore, and attmpt to master, her desires. The film is a compelling look at sexuality, desire, family and shame, and the ways in which each individual has to try and navigate these issues.
Still from Malmousque by the Sea, directed by Dorothée Sebbagh.

'Faces + Places' features films that look at the different ways we move through and become attached to space and how our relationships are shaped by them. Malmousque by the Sea stitches together a series of vignettes to sketch the lives of friends Virginie and Elina in Marseilles. It is an upbeat and humourous look at friendship and the shots will have you yearning for a trip to Marseilles. Alice Diop's documentary We follows a number of people living in Paris and with it Diop gives a sensitive look at community, its importance and the many difficulties and joys of belonging to one.

The films forming the category 'Enjoy the silence' offer a chance to slow down and with them being more abstract and open-ended each viewer will take home something different. In Anxious Body Mizushuri is oddly tactile as different items, bodies and ideas interact, shift and mold each other with anxiety stemming from the unkown result. In contrast to it is Gougelet's bizarre and side-splitting romp through a museum in Please Don't Touch.
Still from Gougelet's Please Don't Touch.

To watch these films head to My French Film Festival where you can stream them for free until Mon, Feb 13. To make this a little easier The French Institute of South Africa is giving away 3 10GB data bundles, complete their Google Form here to enter.


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