The New Orleans Film Society (NOFS) announced the film lineup for the 27th annual New Orleans French Film Festival that will be held at the historic Prytania Theatre from February 22-28 and streaming virtual February 22- March 3, 2024. The festival will spotlight special screenings of two newly restored films, entirely in Cajun French, from Louisiana filmmaker Glen Pitre.
The festival will also continue to broaden its definition of “French cinema” with inclusion of work from around the world, including stories centering communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the mountains of Switzerland, Québec, and Louisiana.
In addition to conversations with Pitre, the festival will also include a showcase of the work of Johanna Makabi, a filmmaker of Senegalese and Congolese heritage who is an artist-in-residence at Villa Albertine in Louisiana, a program created by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and supported by the French Ministry of Culture. The festival will host a screening of four of Makabi’s films and a conversation with her regarding her work and approach to cinematic storytelling.
Visit neworleansfilmsociety.org/french-film-festival to see the full lineup and to purchase festival passes. All pass types (All Access Pass, Virtual Pass, and Student + Teacher Pass) are now available to purchase!
February 8 at 12 PM CST – Schedule goes live.
February 8 at 12 PM CST – Individual tickets go on sale to NOFS members February 15 at 12 PM CST – Individual tickets go on sale to the public
24 FILMS FROM 10 COUNTRIES
The festival brings together 14 features alongside 10 short films all prominently featuring francophone communities from around the world, in French with English subtitles. The films were produced in Belgium, Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, and the USA.
Clint Bowie, Artistic Director of the New Orleans Film Society, said, “Now in its 27th year, the French Film Festival continues to grow and evolve, and this year’s program fully encapsulates the diversity of French-language cinema from around the globe, including films made right here in Louisiana. It includes work from industry veterans like Claire Simon and François Ozon while also introducing audiences to new voices from directors like Baraka Rahmani and Chasah and Charliese West.”
OPENING & CLOSING NIGHT FILMS
Director François Ozon’s The Crime is Mine (Mon Crime) will open the 27th French Film Festival on February 22nd. Ozon’s crime comedy follows struggling actress Madeleine (Nadia Terezkiewicz) and her best friend Pauline (Rebecca Marder), an unemployed lawyer, living in a cramped flat and owing five months’ rent. Opportunity knocks after a lascivious theatrical producer who made an inappropriate advance towards Madeleine turns up dead. Madeleine stands trial for murder and ascends to decadent stardom, with Pauline serving as defense counsel and media circus ringmaster. A new life of fame, wealth, and tabloid celebrity awaits—until the truth comes out. This marks Ozon’s 8th film at the French Film Festival, having previously shown Summer of 85, Double Lover, In the House, and others.
The in-person portion of the festival will conclude on February 28th with Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros, regarded as one of the greatest food films ever made. This four-hour opus from 93-year-old legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman takes an insider’s look at a French restaurant that’s held the top Michelin star rating of three stars for more than 50 years and over four generations. Sumptuous and lavishly observed, the film shows the great artistry, ingenuity, imagination, and hard work of the restaurant staff in creating, preparing, and presenting meals of the highest quality.
LOUISIANA FRENCH REPRESENTED
Louisiana is represented by three films within the French Film Festival program this year, including director Glen Pitre’s newly restored French Cajun films $8.50 a Barrel (Huit Piastres et Demie!) and Yellow Fever (La Fievre Jaune). After the films were released in the late 1970s, Roger Ebert described Glen as “a legendary American regional director, a shrimper’s son who graduated from Harvard and went back home to Louisiana to make movies. His early films were shot in the Cajun dialect. [He is] arguably the world’s only Cajun-language filmmaker.” Both films
look at historical events in Louisiana’s history: the shrimp war of 1938 and the yellow fever epidemic in the state in 1897, both centering the French Cajun community and language. IndieCollect has restored these two rare films, shining a light on the expressiveness of the unique Cajun language and culture. The new 4K restoration of these films was led by IndieCollect and created with the support of the Golden Globe Foundation. Pitre, who is a “Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres”—a prestigious order given by the French cultural ministry to distinguished artists in the fields of cinema, literature, arts, and fashion—will take part in conversations following screenings of each of the two restored films.
Additionally, the festival will host the world premiere of Louisiana-based directors Chasah West and Charliese West’s short film Heritage, made with support from the Nous Foundation. Alums of the New Orleans Film Society’s Emerging Voices Directors Lab, the West Sisters wrote and directed this story of a teenager, disinterested in her Louisiana Creole heritage, who finds herself rethinking her own heritage after an encounter with a French-speaking visitor.
Scroll down to read synopses and see the screening schedule of all 24 films included in the 27th New Orleans French Film Festival lineup.
All screenings will be held at the Prytania Theatre in the films’ original language with English subtitles.
Part of the lineup will also be available to stream online in the festival’s Virtual Cinema at https://watch.eventive.org/fff2024.
$8.50 A BARREL (HUIT PIASTRES ET DEMIE!) — Restoration Premiere!
Dir. Glen Pitre| USA | 1981 | 58 min.| Narrative Feature
During the Great Depression, shrimp prices spiraled down. Fishermen began to organize, families chose sides, and violence erupted. The Cajun cast recreates the tumultuous Shrimp War of 1938 in this thrilling film. Though made on a tiny scale, its verisimilitude recalls Victor Fleming’s dramatic 1937 film, Captains Courageous. New 4K Restoration by IndieCollect created with the support of the Golden Globe Foundation. A conversation with the filmmaker will follow the screening.
Dir. Marie Amachoukeli |France | 2023 | 84 min.| Narrative Feature Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pzdym2l-Aw
Six-year-old Cléo loves her nanny Gloria more than anything. When Gloria must return to Cape Verde to care for her own children, the two must make the most of their last summer together. A standout at the Cannes Film Festival, and having recently screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Àma Gloria exquisitely captures themes of family, separation, and the ties that bind people together from the point of view of its capricious—and expertly acted—young protagonist.
ANIMAL KINGDOM (LE RÈGNE ANIMAL)
Dir. Thomas Cailley |France, Belgium | 2023 | 128 min. | Narrative Feature Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZ9LA7LEXR0&t=31s
In this surprising, expectation-defying, and often humorous drama, a father (Romain Duris) and his teen son (Paul Kircher) contend with a cross-country move and an unexplained epidemic that causes people to mutate into animals. Also starring Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Color), this creature-filled dystopian thriller world premiered as the opening night selection of Cannes Un Certain Regard.
Dir. Christian Carion | France | 2023 |90 min. | Narrative Feature Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_ZLwuO2eg8
A seemingly simple taxi ride across Paris evolves into a profound meditation on the realities of the driver and his fare, a 92-year-old woman whose warmth belies her shocking past. Charles (Dany Boon) is a taxi driver in Paris, and he is having a very bad day. Enter Madeleine (Line Renaud), an immaculately groomed nonagenarian, who informs Charles that the trip today will not be a direct one. She is moving into a nursing home and would like to make some stops along the way, predicting that this might be her last car ride through the city. Their ride takes them through the momentous locations of her life and their brief friendship deepens as Madeleine listens to Charles confess his own worries.
Dir. Cyril Leuthy| France | 2022 | 100 min. | Documentary Feature Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-KAPslQ5ck&t=1s
A 2022 Venice Film Festival selection, this portrait of the gamed French filmmaker is divided into six chapters, each inspired by phases of his life’s work, spanning the 40 years from his breakthrough with Breathless in 1960 to his late magnum opus Histoire(s) du cinéma. In trying to uncover the real Jean-Luc, filmmaker Cyril Leuthy sat down with Godard’s many collaborators, friends and critics who have a lot to say about an eternal rebel who was still exhausting himself in the hunt for a perfect cinema, even with 140 films under his belt.
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES
Dir. Édouard Molinaro | France, Italy | 1978 | 92 min. | Narrative Feature Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKZkZr_ke_o
Renato (Ugo Tognazzi) and Albin (Michel Serrault) are happy that their son, Laurent (Rémi Laurent), is getting married. Unfortunately, the bride’s father (Michel Galabru) is a die-hard conservative—and Renato and Albin are rather conspicuously gay. To ensure that the marriage goes off without a hitch, Albin uses his skills as a drag performer to play mom for a meeting with the in-laws. But, before long, both men learn that playing it straight isn’t as easy as it seems!
This classic received 3 Oscar nominations when it was released in 1979.
Dir. Jean-Paul Salomé | France, Germany| 2022 | 122 | Narrative Feature Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYvSo4kHBvk
An investigative thriller set in the world of nuclear power and corrupt politics, La Syndicaliste follows the true story of Maureen Kearney (Isabelle Huppert), the influential head union representative of a French multinational nuclear powerhouse. Fighting against government ministers and industry leaders, Maureen worked tirelessly to bring a scandal to light and defend thousands of jobs before she was violently sexually assaulted in her own home, seemingly targeted for her attempts to reveal the truth. As her attack is investigated, new elements create doubt in the minds of detectives and lawyers, and they begin to see Maureen not as a victim, but as a suspect.
MENUS-PLAISIRS – LES TROISGROS
Dir. Frederick Wiseman| France | 2023 | 240 min.| Documentary Feature Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNsTyFX-1o8
Regarded as one of the greatest food films ever made, this four-hour opus from 93-year-old legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman takes an insider’s look at a French restaurant that’s held the top Michelin star rating of three stars for more than 50 years and over four generations. Sumptuous and lavishly observed, the film shows the great artistry, ingenuity, imagination, and hard work of the restaurant staff in creating, preparing, and presenting meals of the highest quality.
Dir. Baloji |Belgium, Democratic Republic of Congo, The Netherlands, France, South Africa, Germany |2023 | 90 min.| Narrative Feature
After spending years in Belgium, Koffi (Marc Zinga), a young Congolese man, returns to his birthplace of Kinshasa to confront his family and homeland culture. Secrecy and sorcery erupt when a nosebleed is mistaken for a curse, and Koffi is shunned from his family. Using magical realism to paint a portrait of “undesirables” and “sorcerers,” OMEN delves into the intricacies of identity, culture, and belief systems through a deeply rich and visually captivating lens.
OUR BODY (NOTRE CORPS)
Dir. Claire Simon |France | 2023 | 168 min. | Documentary Feature Trailer: https://youtu.be/LiAYazlrBTQ
French documentary titan Claire Simon observes the everyday operations of the gynecological ward in a public hospital in Paris. In the process, she questions what it means to live in a woman’s body, filming the diversity, singularity, and beauty of patients in all stages of life.
Through these many encounters, the specific fears, desires, and struggles of these individuals become the health challenges we all face, even the filmmaker herself.
Dir. Axelle Ropert| France| 2021 | 86 min. | Narrative Feature Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZNxLz1uOuQ
Solange is a typical 13 year old, curious and full of life, with perhaps the peculiarity of being overly sentimental and adoring her parents. But when her parents begin to argue, fight, and slowly drift apart, the threat of divorce looms near and Solange’s world begins to splinter. To keep her family together, she will worry, act out, suffer—it’s the story of a young and overly tender teen who wants the impossible: for love to never end.
Dir. Sophie Dupuis | Canada | 2003 | 102 min.| Narrative Feature Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0d14BbVUE8&t=1s
It’s love at first sight when Simon, a rising star of the Montreal drag scene, meets Olivier, the new recruit of the bar-show where Simon performs. While Simon believes he is living an electrifying love story, a toxic and destructive dynamic arises between them. At the same time, Claire, Simon’s mother, a famous opera singer, returns to work in the country after a 15-year absence. Fascinated by this woman he hardly knows but whom he idolizes, Simon persists in trying to connect with her. Weakened by the failure of these two impossible loves, Simon will have no choice but to realize that he deserves better.
THE CRIME IS MINE (MON CRIME)
Dir. François Ozon | France | 2023 | 102 min.| Narrative Feature Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipeDYBawfec
Paris in the 1930s: a playground for industrial heirs and debonair architects, but the City of Lights does not shine evenly for all. Struggling actress Madeleine (Nadia Terezkiewicz) and her best friend Pauline (Rebecca Marder), an unemployed lawyer, live in a cramped flat and owe five months’ rent. Opportunity knocks after a lascivious theatrical producer who made an inappropriate advance towards Madeleine turns up dead. Madeleine stands trial for murder and ascends to decadent stardom, with Pauline serving as defense counsel and media circus ringmaster. A new life of fame, wealth, and tabloid celebrity awaits—until the truth comes out.
Dir. Carmen Jaquier |Switzerland | 2022 | 92 min.| Narrative Feature Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNaCnA4cSsE&t=3s
Nestled in a lush Swiss valley, 17-year-old Elisabeth—the second of four girls—is preparing to take her vows at a nunnery. But after five years in pious seclusion, Elisabeth’s fate is abruptly altered when she is summoned home to work the fields following the death of her elder sister, Innocente, whose mysterious death pushes Elisabeth to seek answers from three childhood
friends—now young men with their own cravings for truth and connection. Inspired by Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1964 neorealist drama The Gospel According to St. Matthew.
Dir. Alexandra Nadeau | Canada | 2023 | 12 min. | Documentary Short
Settled in Montreal for the past two years, Alfredo is integrating himself to his new city through his passion: burlesque.
BEFORE WE WERE TOLD — World Premiere!
Dir. Baraka Rahmani |Canada | 2022 | 23 min.| Narrative Short
A loveable Arab family living in Quebec welcomes their guest for the summer: an awkward exchange student from Vancouver. Their teenage daughter of the same age doesn’t have much in common with her new friend… except for their attraction towards one another. The two girls embark on a journey of self-discovery as they navigate their secret within a culturally-conservative household.
Dir. Alice Douard |France | 2022 | 30 min.| Narrative Short
In the maternity ward, Céline awaits the arrival of her first child. It is Jeanne, her partner, who will bring her into the world. At night, in the entrance hall of the hospital, she meets men who are waiting, like herself.
FRIEND OF A FRIEND (AMI D’AMI)
Dir. Simon Gualtieri |Canada | 2023 | 15 min. | Narrative Short Trailer: https://vimeo.com/842305061
Jules is bi. Bi as in bisexual. Bi, even though he’s only slept with women. Bi and ready to try his first experience with Samuel, a friend of friend.
Dir. Johanna Makabi |France| 2022 | 14 min.| Narrative Short
8-year-old Grace hates her neighborhood, she hates cheerleading and today she has decided to join her father in space.
A LAUNDRY DAY
Dir. Johanna Makabi |USA, France| 2022 | 5 min.| Narrative Short Today, Fatou goes to the laundromat in Harlem and meets a young man.
PAULETTE AND THE CLOWN (PAULETTE ET LE CLOWN)
Dir. Fanta Sylla, Johanna Makabi |France| 2021 | 2 min.| Narrative Short Adaptation of the text by Paulette Nardal “Le Guignol Ouolof.”
OUR MEMORY (NÔTRE MÉMOIRE)
Dir. Johanna Makabi |France| 2019 | 12 min.| Documentary Short
Mbissine Thérèse Diop, lead actress in Sembène Ousmane’s first film La Noire de…. , reflects on her experiences as a Black actress in the 1960s.
HERITAGE — World Premiere!
Dir. Chasah West & Charliese West | USA | 2024 | 12 min. | Narrative Short
A teenager, disinterested in her Louisiana Creole heritage, finds herself having to entertain a visitor who only speaks what sounds like French. She’ll discover how magical it can be to connect with one’s heritage.
YELLOW FEVER (LA FIEVRE JAUNE) — Restoration Premiere!
Dir. Glen Pitre| USA| 1978 | 30 min. | Narrative Short
It is 1897 and Louisiana is plagued by a devastating epidemic of yellow fever. Families are being separated and quarantined. Will their loved ones survive? Director Glen Pitre used an all-Cajun cast—mostly non-professionals—to make this memorable dramatic film. New 4K Restoration by IndieCollect created with the support of the Golden Globe Foundation.