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French Films at the Chicago International Film Festival

Image from Memento Films International

Explore this year's selection of French films or co-produced by France at the 54th Annual Chicago International Film Festival.

Featuring films in a variety of genres and formats, everyone will be sure to find a movie that meets their interests. This year, some titles will include VR Immersive Cinema, allowing viewers to immerse themselves more deeply into the cinematic sphere. 

Cinema/Chicago, the presenting organization of the Chicago International Film Festival, is a year-round non-profit cultural and educational organization dedicated to fostering better communication between people of diverse cultures through the art of film and the moving image. The organization aims to enrich Chicago’s cultural environment by presenting film in contexts that encourage discussion and debate.

Supported by the Cultural Services of the Consulate General of France in Chicago. 

PROGRAM : French Films



3 Days in Quiberon (3 Tage in Quiberon) by Emily Atef (Germany/France/Austria)
Oct 18 - 8:15pm | Oct 19 - 7:45pm
Filmmaker Emily Atef reconstructs the circumstances surrounding the interview of actress Romy Schneider in this powerful black-and-white docudrama featuring an unforgettable turn from Marie Bäumer as the ill-fated actress. German, French and English with subtitles


At War (En guerre) by Stéphane Brisé (France)
Oct 13 - 4:15pm | Oct 19 - 5:00pm

A factory strike in the South of France becomes the stage for a gripping power play between a boisterous union leader and his duplicitous employers. French with subtitles


Claire Darling (Le dernier vide-grenier de Claire Darling) with Director Julie Bertuccelli in person (France)
Oct 19  - 8:30pm | Oct 20 - 12:15pm | Oct 21 - 4:30pm
Nearing the end of life, Claire Darling  spontaneously decides to sell her belongings—each object brings into focus memories of her colorful life. Concerned about her mother’s behavior, Claire’s estranged daughter returns home, but the reunion is freighted with the weight of the past. French with subtitles


BattleScar by Martín Allais & Nico Casavecchia (USA/France)
Available through AMC Theater (Virtual Reality)
It’s 1978 New York City, and Lupe, a Puerto Rican-American girl meets Debbie, another runaway kid who exposes her to the rebellious punk music scene of the Lower East Side. 


Duelles (Mother's Instinct) by Olivier Masset-Depasse (France/Belgique)
Oct 15 - 8:30pm | Oct 17 - 6:00pm | Oct 20 - 12:00pm
Suburban wives Alice and Céline live side by side in identical bourgeois houses, functioning almost like two halves of a single family. They are best friends, as are their sons, Theo and Maxime—until one day a tragic accident breaks the perfect harmony between the clans, and paranoia and distrust take hold. French with subtitles


Little Tickles (Les chatouilles) by Andréa Bescond & Eric Métayer (France)
Oct 12 - 6:00pm | Oct 13 - 6:00pm | Oct 17 - 3:15pm
Odette, a professional dancer and survivor of childhood sexual abuse, is haunted by the molestation she suffered at the hands of a family friend. Blurring the lines between reality, fantasy, and memory, the film handles its subject matter with great sensitivity, showcasing a woman who reclaims her power through art. French with subtitles


Maria by Callas by Tom Volf (France)
Oct 20 - 3:00pm 

The first film to tell the life story of legendary Greek-American opera singer completely in her own words, Maria By Callas reveals the essence of an extraordinary woman who rose from humble beginnings to become a glamorous international superstar. English, French with subtitles


The Mercy of the Jungle by Joël Karekezi (Belgium/France/Rwanda)
Oct 12 - 8:15pm | Oct 14 - 12:45pm

At the outbreak of the Second Congo War, veteran Sergeant Xavier and young Private Faustin are accidentally left behind. With only each other to count on, the two men embark on an odyssey across the most violent jungle on earth. French, Swahili with subtitles


Non-Fiction (Doubles Vies) by Olivier Assayas (France)
Oct 11  - 8:15pm | Oct 13 - 3:30pm
Set in the Parisian publishing world, this sophisticated comedy follows an assured editor (his successful actress wife, and an established author, all of whom are grappling with the disruptions of middle-age and the new media landscape. French with subtitles


Sauvage by Camille Vidal-Naquet
October 12 - 8:45pm | October 13 - 8:45pm

In this frank, provocative story of a French hustler, Félix Maritaud delivers a raw, mesmerizing performance as Leo, a young man who sells his body for cash in the underbelly of Strausbourg. French with subtitles


Sorry Angel (Plaire, aimer et courir vite) by Christope Honoré (France)
Oct 20 - 8:15pm | Oct 21 - 11:45pm

Jacques is an older, HIV-positive novelist from Paris living with what was still a terminal diagnosis. Arthur is an open-minded student ready to embrace life. They meet in Rennes and fall in love, but navigating an intergenerational romance isn’t always easy. French with subtitles


Spheres: Pale Blue Dot by Eliza McNitt (USA/France)
Available through AMC Theater (Virtual Reality)
This cosmic journey takes viewers on a phantasmagoric trip into space and through time, from the Big Bang to the formation of the first gaseous planets to our own “pale blue dot,” all the while tracing the history of sound across the universe.


This Magnificient Cake! (Ce magnifique gâteau!) by Emma De Swaef & Mark James Roels (Belgium/France/Netherlands)
Oct 18 - 2:30pm | Oct 19 - 7:15pm | Oct 20 - 11:45am

Set in the Belgian Congo, this breathtaking stop-motion animated feature chronicles the legacy of European imperialism. Following five charming, eccentric characters and their interrelated stories, the film delves into the mysteries, mythologies, and cruelties of 19th century colonial Africa. Aka, Flemish, French, Malinke with subtitles


The Trouble with You (En liberté!) by Pierre Salvadori (France)
Oct 20 - 5:45pm | Oct 21 - 2:45pm

Set in the French Riviera, this enjoyable romp pivots on policewoman Yvonne, a widow, who learns that her much-honored, recently deceased detective husband was, in fact, a crooked cop.French with subtitles 


Vestige by Aaron Bradbury (USA/France)
Available through AMC Theater (Virtual Reality)
This absorbing study of grief enters the mind of Lisa Elin, a woman dealing with the death of her husband, Erik. 

You can find a complete list of French language films here

PROGRAM : Films Co-Produced by France



Ága by Milko Lazarov (Bulgaria/France/Germany)
Oct 20 - 4:15pm | Oct 21 - 7:30pm

Revisiting the 1922 documentary Nanook of the North, Lazarov crafts a sensitive, stunning fictional study of indigenous characters whose ancient traditions are under threat. Sakha with subtitles


Alice T by Radu Muntean (Romania/France/Sweden)
Oct 13  - 5:30pm | Oct 14 - 12:15pm | Oct 18 - 1:00pm
Teenage Alice is at war with the world around her, not least with her embattled mother Bogdana—acting out and lying almost pathologically. When Bogdana learns of Alice’s pregnancy, it might be just the opportunity for them to reshape their own relationship. Romanian with subtitles


Ash is Purest White (Jiang hu er nv) by Jya Zhangke (China/France)
Oct 12 - 8:15pm | Oct 14 - 8:15pm
In this gripping crime saga set in modern China from the master filmmaker (A Touch of Sin), Tao Zhao stars as a resolute woman devoted to her mobster lover Bin and loyal to the Jianghu underworld. Chinese with subtitles


At Eternity's Grace by Julian Schnabel (UK/USA/France)
Oct 19 - 8:30pm
A journey inside the world and mind of a person who created some of the world’s most beloved and stunning works of art. This is not a biography, but rather scenes based on Vincent van Gogh’s letters, common agreement about events in his life that present as facts and moments that are invented.


Birds of Passage (Pájaros de verano) by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra (Colombia/Mexico/Denmark/France) 
Oct 11 - 8:00pm | Oct 13 - 2:45pm
The Wayuu people have long held tight onto their traditions, living in close-knit tribes. When two friends begin selling marijuana to visiting Americans, however, their actions set in motion a series of events that imperil their ancient ways. English, Spanish, Wayuunaiki with subtitles


Cold War (Zimna wojna) by Pawel Pawlikowski (Poland/France/UK)
Oct 17 - 6:15pm
Set against the background of the Cold War in the 1950s in Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia, and Paris, the film depicts an impossible love story in impossible times. Polish with subtitles


Dear Son (Weldi) by Mohamed Ben Attia (Tunisia/Belgium/France/Quatar) 
Oct 17  - 8:30pm | Oct 18 - 8:30pm
As family man Ridah nears retirement, he focuses all his hopes and ambitions onto teenage son Sami and his impending university entrance exams. Only too late does Ridah discover that his boy has made a devastating, life-altering choice. Arabic and Tunisian with subtitles


Dogman by Mateo Garrone (Italy/France)
October 19 - 5:30pm | October 21 - 5:15pm

How long can the “dogman” be subservient to his master before he bites back? From the acclaimed director of Gomorrah comes another unflinching urban western treading the fine line between civility and savagery. Italian with subtitles


Everybody Knows (Todos lo Saben) by Asghar Farhadi (Spain/Argentina/France)
Oct 17 - 8:30pm
Laura, a woman traveling from Argentina to her Spanish hometown attends her sister’s wedding, her two children in tow. Amid the joyful festivities, her daughter is abducted. In the days that follow, family and community tensions surface and hidden secrets are revealed. Spanish with subtitles


    Facing the Wind (Con el viento) by Meritxell Colell Aparicio (Spain/Argentina/France)
    Oct 17 - 8:00pm | Oct 18 - 6:00pm
    Choreographer Mónica returns to the small Spanish village where she was born to visit her father on his deathbed. Arriving too late, she is left to help her grieving mother sell the family home and to confront her own feelings of loss and remorse. Spanish with subtitles


    Happy as Lazzaro (Lazzaro felice) by Alice Rohrwacher (Italy/Switzerland/France/Germany)
    Oct 15 - 8:15pm | Oct 16 - 5:45pm

    Winner of Best Screenplay at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Happy as Lazzaro follows the adventures of a man living on the margins of his society who can seemingly travel through time.  Italian with subtitles


    Jumpman (Podbrosy) by Ivan I. Tverdovsky (Russia/Ireland/Lithuania/France)
    Oct 13 - 6:15pm | Oct 14 - 7:30pm | Oct 16 - 2:30pm
    An abandoned infant grows into a likeable lad with a rare disorder—he can feel no physical pain. A taut thriller, Jumpman puts an outsider at the center of a harsh indictment of corruption and hypocrisy in contemporary Russia. Russian with subtitles


    Shorts Program 3: Bad Don't Sleep by Mariama Diallo,  Eirini Vianelli, Santiago Menghini, Boris Labbé, Camille Lugan, Dev Patel (Canada/France/Greece/USA) 
    Oct 16 - 1:00pm | Oct 19 - 10:30pm 
    Horror films, late-night comedies, and hypnotic tales of obsession meet in this program of hair-raising short films.


    Shorts Program 4: In Real Life (Documentaries) by Rachel Daisy Ellis, Jayisha Patel, Yalda Afsah, Paloma Martinez, Kevin Jerome Everson, Nathan Truesdell, Juanita Onzaga (Belgium/Brazil/Colombia/France/Germany/United Kingdom/USA)
    Oct 19 - 5:15pm | Oct 21 - 3:00pm

    From the tragic to the comic to the extraterrestrial, these nonfiction films explore a wide range of global, human experience


    Shorts Program 8: Meditations (Experimental) by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Isabelle Tollenaere, Deborah Stratman, Melika Bass (Belgium/France/Thailand/USA)
    Oct 15 - 8:30pm 
    These formally bold works push the short form beyond its aesthetic boundaries in their exploration of alternative modes of storytelling


    Sibel by Çağla Zencirci & Guillaume Giovanetti (France, Germany, Luxembourg, Turkey)
    Oct 13 - 7:45pm | Oct 14 - 12:30pm
    In this moving story of empowerment and acceptance, the free-spirited and beautiful Sibel lives with her father and sister in a secluded mountain village. Determined to win approval, she sets out to hunt down a wolf haunting the neighboring forest. There, she crosses paths with a fugitive who changes her world. Turkish with subtitles


    Transit by Christian Petzold (Germany/France)
    Oct 11 - 6:00pm | Oct 12 - 8:30pm

    After a fascist invasion of France, Georg poses as a dead author and attempts to flee to Mexico, but becomes trapped in Marseilles. There, he encounters a woman searching for her missing husband—the man whose identity he has assumed. German with subtitles


    Women at War by Benedikt Erlingsson​ (Iceland/France/Ukraine)
    Oct 20 - 8:30pm | Oct 21 - 11:45am

    Halla is a middle-aged, woolly sweater-wearing Reykjavik choir conductor, but she’s also a secret eco-warrior, fighting to save the Icelandic countryside from industrial pollution. Icelandic with subtitles

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