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University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Festival of Films in French

Petit pays (Small Country: An African Childhood) directed by Eric Barbier (2020)

Covid oblige ….The 24th Festival of Films in French in Milwaukee is rolling out as a pandemic-safe event this February. It is a mini festival — to be sure — with 5 feature-length films and a short available for streaming from the currently virtual UWM Union cinema

Music and dance permeate this year’s festival that travels from the early 1960s to the late 2010s with films that reflect the pulse and breath of our times, register long-standing social unrest as well as engage our vulnerabilities and resistance with the short poetic allegory of the human predicament of Mbas mi. From rural to urbanscapes, rhythms, moves and languages transport us from Mali to Cuba, Burundi and Rwanda, Madagascar and France and the island of Gorée. The films and documentaries offer intimate portraits following a young single mother’s struggle to school her daughter in Madagascar (Haingosoa), and a young boy witnessing the chaos of civil war supplanting his idyllic Burundian childhood (Petit pays). They document farmers in the Périgord region of France toiling to maintain their ancestral way of life in a world of industrial agriculture (Après l’hiver, le printemps), the recreation of the legendary Maravillas de Mali’s musical trajectory in Cuba and post-colonial Mali (Africa mia – La fabuleuse histoire des Maravillas de Mali) and Jean-Pierre Thorn’s fifty years of film-making starting alongside the 1968 strikers and coming up to the present with the gilets jaunes’ protests (L’âcre parfum des immortelles).

The Festival runs 9am Friday to midnight Sunday on each weekend

First weekend – Friday 12 – Sunday 14 February

L’âcre parfum des immortelles (The Acrid Scent of Immortals), 2019, documentary, US premiere, Jean-Pierre Thorn, director
Petit pays (Small Country), 2020, US premiere, Eric Barbier, director

Environmental Interlude – Wednesday 17 [9am] -Thursday 18 [midnight] February

Après l’hiver, le printemps (After Winter, Spring), 2013, documentary, Judith Lit, director

Second weekend – Friday 19 – Sunday 21 February

Haingosoa, 2020, Edouard Joubeaud, director
Africa mia – La fabuleuse histoire des Maravillas de Mali (The Mali-Cuba Connection – Africa mia), 2020, documentary, Edouard Salier, director
Mbas mi (Pandemic) 2020, Short – Poetry film, Joseph Gaï Ramaka, director

To register and obtain passwords & links to view each of the films, please visit the UWM Union Cinema