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French movies at FilmFest DC

From October 2nd to October 11th, Filmfest DC is back for its 34th year in Washington, DC, bringing new and exciting international films to the community. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s festival will be conducted completely online, a first for Filmfest DC, Washington’s longest-running film festival. 

The incredible program of this year incudes the following French productions and co-productions: 

Series 1 - Friday Oct. 2 to Tuesday Oct. 6 


Aurélia Rouvier and Seamus Haley - interview here

France, 2020, 90 minutes

Banksy is the Robin Hood of the art world, stenciling politically poignant, deceptively charming pictures illegally in public spaces in broad daylight. Never seen in action, Banksy embodies the contradictions of being famous for being anonymous, accessible for being inaccessible. This documentary includes unabashed villains, the collectors who kidnap Banksy works by extracting the walls they appear on; and unassuming heroes, like the townsfolk who demand, “Return our Banksy!” and get it back.—Judy Bloch

In English and French with English subtitles - Trailer here and tickets here


Rubaiyat Hossain - interview here

France/Bangladesh/Denmark/Portugal, 2019, 95 minutes

In the busy metropolis of Dhaka, Shimu supports her unemployed husband by working as a seamstress in a garment factory. Shaken by the management’s casual lack of accountability after a fire kills a colleague, Shimu connects with local feminist organizers and a quiet revolution begins to build. Hossain’s film is a nuanced and quietly rousing portrait of the pleasures, possibilities, and limitations of collective liberation and feminist solidarity.—BFI London Film Festival

In English and Bengali with English subtitles - Trailer here and tickets here


Hinde Boujemaa - interview here

Tunisia/Belgium/France/Qatar, 2019, 93 minutes

Noura works in a hospital laundry room. While her husband does time, she falls in love with someone else. Noura wants a divorce, but this is no simple matter. The potential for domestic cruelty as payback for female desire threatens as heavily as the possible 5-year prison sentence for adultery. Unlike everyone in Noura’s life, director Boujemaa doesn’t make an example of her; she is telling her story, beautifully and directly.—Judy Bloch

In Arabic with English subtitles - Trailer here


Sandra Kogut

Brazil/France, 2019, 94 minutes

If the working class and the ruling class changed positions, would the workers be just as resourceful? Are the rich in control only because of their money? In this blend of drama, comedy, and political commentary, comic actress Regina Casé provides an answer as Madá, the housekeeper-in-chief for a family’s beach home in Copacabana. When kindly Edgar is jailed in a government crackdown, his family is paralyzed. Madá, however, doesn’t skip a beat.—Miguel Pendás

In Portuguese with English subtitles - Trailer here


Massoud Bakhshi

Iran/France/Germany/Switzerland/Luxembourg, 2019, 89 minutes

Maryam is a young woman who has been sentenced to death for murdering her husband, Nasser. Iranian law allows the victim’s family to forgive her and spare her life, so Maryam’s fate will be decided by Nasser’s daughter, Mona—on a popular televised reality show, in front of millions of viewers. Although Maryam and Mona are subject to Iran’s profound patriarchy, they find agency, moral authority, and freedom within those confines.—Sundance Film Festival

 In Farsi with English subtitles - Trailer here


Series 2 - Wednesday Oct. 7 to Sunday Oct. 11


Caroline Vignal

France, 2020, 95 minutes

In this Cannes 2020 Official Selection, Antoinette, a school teacher, is looking forward to her long planned summer holidays with her secret lover Vladimir, the father of one of her pupils. When learning that Vladimir cannot come because his wife organized a surprise trekking holiday in the Cévennes National Park with their daughter and a donkey to carry their load, Antoinette decides to follow their track, by herself, with Patrick, a protective donkey.—Various sources

In French with English subtitles - Trailer here


Atiq Rahimi

France/Belgium/Rwanda, 2019, 93 minutes

Set in 1973, this immersive coming-of-age portrait follows several Rwandan girls at a Belgian-run Catholic boarding school, taking inspiration from true events that foreshadowed the 1994 genocide during the Rwandan Civil War. Many of the girls belong to elite families while others hold less privilege; further division is sown by ballooning anti-Tutsi rhetoric under existing Hutu rule, all flanked by typical adolescent mischief and curiosity that has much higher stakes.—Toronto International Film Festival

In French and Kinyarwanda with English subtitles - Trailer here

  • A SON

Mehdi M. Barsaoui

France/Tunisia/Lebanon/Qatar, 2019, 95 minutes

Tunisia, summer 2011. The holiday to Southern country ends in disaster for Fares, Meriem and their 10-year old son Aziz when he is accidentally shot in an ambush. His injury will change their lives as Aziz needs a liver transplant, which leads to the discovery of a long-buried secret. Will Aziz and their relationship survive?—Various sources

In Arabic and French with English subtitles - Trailer here


Grégory Magne - interview here

France, 2019, 100 minutes

Perfumes delicately treads the line between comedy and social realism as filmmaker Grégory Magne uses the right blend of ingredients to craft an enchanting story about the budding friendship between Guillaume, a professional chauffeur trying to gain custody of his daughter, and the haughty Anne Walberg, a master perfumer having trouble with her sense of smell. Call this charmingly fragrant French drama Driving Mademoiselle D’Aisy.—Various sources

In French with English subtitles - Trailer here and tickets here


See the full program HERE !