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Mar 20, 2024 / 22:24

14th Francophone film festival to hit big cities

Film lovers will be able to travel across Europe, Asia and North America on the big screen and discover the richness and cultural and linguistic diversity of the French-speaking world.

This March, audiences in Hanoi and HCM City will have the chance to see a selection of films that reflect the diversity and vitality of the Francophonie around the world, as part of the 14th Francophone Film Festival.

The 14th  Francophone Film Festival of Vietnam will be held from 22 to 27 March in Hanoi (National Documentary and Scientific Film Studio, Hoang Hoa Tham Street) and HCM City (DCINE Ben Thanh, Mac Dinh Chi Street). Admission is free.

The festival is cosponsored by the International Organization of La Francophonie's Asia-Pacific Regional Office, the embassies of Canada, France, Switzerland and the Walloon-Brussels General Delegation in Vietnam.

 A scene from the film Glorious Ashes. Photo courtesy of the director

The highlight of the festival is Glorious Ashes (Vietnam) by Vietnamese director Bui Thac Chuyen. The story revolves around three women living in the same small village in the Mekong region.

The film beat 27 other film projects from around the world to win the US$15,000 prize in the Asian Project Market category at the 2017 Busan Awards. It also won SG$250,000 from the Singapore Film Commission's Inaugural Southeast Asia Co-Production Grant and received support from Singaporean producer Jeremy Chua. In 2022, the film won the Montgolfière d'or or the Golden Hot Air Balloon Award at the Nantes Festival of Three Continents.

The film also bagged Best Feature Film and Best Director for Bui Thac Chuyen at the Golden Dragon 2023, the Vietnam Cinema Association's annual awards. It also represented Vietnam in the preliminary round of the Best International Feature Film category at the 2024 Oscars.

La Fiancée du poète (The Poet's Fiancée), a comedy from Wallonia-Brussels about Mireille Stockaert, a lonely and broken woman, is also a showpiece. In love with painting and poetry, she is content to work in the cafeteria of the Beaux-Arts in Namur. Her life changed when she decided to live in the large family house she had inherited. Not having the means to maintain it, she decides to take in three lodgers. Three men who will upset her routine.

Viking (Canada), directed by Stéphane Lafleur, is the story of a behavioral research team that observes and attempts to replicate the experiences of the first manned mission to Mars.

 Viking is the story of a team of behavioral researchers who observe and attempt to replicate the experiences of the first manned mission to Mars. Photo:

French film Bienvenue Chez Les Ch’tis (Welcome to the Sticks) is about  a French public servant from Provence who is banished to the far North. Strongly prejudiced against this cold and inhospitable place, he leaves his family behind to relocate temporarily there, with the firm intent to quickly come back.

The Path of Excellence (Switzerland) follows  Sophie, a brilliant student. Encouraged by her maths teacher, she leaves the family farm to attend a science preparatory class. Between new encounters, successes and failures, and in the face of fierce competition, Sophie realizes that her dream of joining the Polytechnique represents more than rivalry but a true challenge of social climbing.

White Building (Cambodia) is a drama film directed by Kavich Neang. It was selected as the Cambodian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards. The film was also nominated for the New Talent Award at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival 2021. In the plot, 20-year-old Samnang  faces the demolition of his lifelong home in Phnom Penh and the pressures from family, friends, and neighbors which arise and intersect at this moment of sudden change.