Bienvenue! Welcome to the official website of the 2022 UVA French Film Festival. Please check this page regularly, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter, for updates and information about the festival.

This festival is free and open to the public.

Please note that masks will be required at all screenings regardless of vaccination status.

Spacing between parties will be strongly encouraged, but cannot be guaranteed due to unpredictable attendance numbers.

Thank you for helping to keep our community safe and healthy.

Émergence & Emergency

In planning this year's French Film Festival, we made it our aim to select films that would speak to the intense, and often conflicting, feelings evoked by the pandemic, protests, and politics that have recently affected all of our lives. The words "émergence" and "emergency" continually came to mind—two words, two languages, two different meanings that both describe our current situation. To explore these concepts, we instinctively turned to the stories of young people who are particularly aware of a relationship between urgency and possibility. The films included in our festival portray emerging youth and the urgent, contemporary issues that young people face as they come of age in today's world. Through these films, we hope to begin a dialogue on various kinds of émergence: how young people have been central to recent social movements, how the turmoil of growing up speaks to the broader human experience, and how films (particularly those made in the last two years) might address our gradual emergence from a global pandemic. With these topics in mind, we have aspired to create a festival that acknowledges the gravity of our ongoing struggles while leaving room for a hopeful future and the generations that will form it.

– The Festival Committee

Bamako (2006)

When: Wednesday, 2/16 7pm

Where: Monroe Hall 124 (UVA Grounds)

Languages: French, Bambara (English subtitles)

Discussion: Professor Mamadou Dia

Outside the modest home that singer Melé and her husband Chaka share with other families stands a make-shift open-air courtroom. The accused: The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the inequities of globalization perpetrated on all of Africa. One by one, witnesses take the in stand Sissako’s pointed, nuanced meta-drama.

Director: Abderrahmane Sissako

Baamum Nafi (2019)

When: Thursday, 2/17 6:30pm

Where: Monroe Hall 124 (UVA Grounds)

Languages: Fulah (English subtitles). NOTE: While this film takes place in the Francophone country of Senegal, it is not in French.

Discussion: Professor and Director Mamadou Dia

Two fathers are at odds over their children’s marriage, but what starts as a friendly family disagreement quickly devolves into the couple becoming pawns in a bitter dispute about tradition, progress, and the true nature of Islam.

Director: Mamadou Dia

Petite Fille (2020)

When: Friday, 2/18 3pm

Where: Monroe Hall 124 (UVA Grounds)

Languages: French (English subtitles)

Discussion: Professor Deborah McGrady

LITTLE GIRL is the moving portrait of 7-year-old Sasha, who has always known that she is a girl. Sasha’s family has recently accepted her gender identity, embracing their daughter for who she truly is while working to confront outdated norms and find affirmation in a small community of rural France. Realized with delicacy and intimacy, Sébastien Lifshitz’s documentary poetically explores the emotional challenges, everyday feats, and small moments in Sasha’s life.

Director: Sébastien Lifshitz

Slalom (2020)

When: Friday, 2/18 7pm

Where: Violet Crown (Downtown Cville)

Languages: French (English subtitles)

Discussion: PhD Candidate Ninon Bartz

Warning for emotional and physical abuse.

This riveting, Cannes-selected #MeToo drama from debut filmmaker Charlène Favier follows the relationship between a teenage ski prodigy and her predatory instructor, played by frequent Dardenne brothers collaborator Jérémie Renier. In a breakthrough role, Noée Abita plays 15-year-old Lyz, a high school student in the French Alps who has been accepted to an elite ski club known for producing some of the country’s top professional athletes. Taking a chance on his new recruit, ex-champion turned coach Fred decides to mold Lyz into his shining star despite her lack of experience. Under his influence, she will have to endure more than the physical and emotional pressure of the training. Will Lyz’s determination help her escape Fred’s exploitative grip?

Director: Charlène Favier

Mandibules (2020)

When: Saturday, 2/19 2pm

Where: Violet Crown (Downtown Cville)

Languages: French (English subtitles)

Discussion: There will not be a discussion after this film.

When simple-minded friends Jean-Gab and Manu find a giant fly trapped in the boot of a car, they decide to train it in the hope of making a ton of cash.

Director: Quentin Dupieux

La Nuit des Rois (2020)

When: Saturday, 2/19 7pm

Where: Violet Crown (Downtown Cville)

Languages: French (English subtitles)

Discussion: Professor Kandioura Dramé

A young man is sent to “La Maca,” a prison in the middle of the Ivorian forest ruled by its inmates. As tradition goes with the rising of the red moon, he is designated by the Boss to be the new “Roman” and must tell a story to the other prisoners. Learning what fate awaits him, he begins to narrate the mystical life of the legendary outlaw named “Zama King” and has no choice but to make his story last until dawn.

Director: Philippe Lacôte

Un Film Dramatique (2020)

When: Sunday, 2/20 2pm

Where: Violet Crown (Downtown Cville)

Languages: French (English subtitles)

Discussion: Professor Ari Blatt

Commissioned as a dedicated artwork for the newly constructed Dora Maar middle school on the outskirts of Paris, Un Film Dramatique is a lively portrait of the first class to attend the school, filmed over the course of four years. The group of 21 middle schoolers discuss the drama of their daily lives and experiment with cameras and equipment. They are the film’s subjects, and also its makers.

With a refreshingly uninhibited approach, Éric Baudelaire (Letters to Max, The Anabasis of May…) offers a new perspective on the realities of our current socio-political moment that is both playful and purposeful. As the students debate the approaching elections and the immigration crisis, they also seek to answer a key political question—what are we doing here together?

Director: Éric Baudelaire

Un grand merci to our sponsors!

UVA Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Council

UVA Department of French

UVA Department of Women, Gender, & Sexuality

UVA Department of Media Studies

UVA Department of Art History

UVA Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese

UVA Department of Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures

UVA Department of Anthropology