Festival Schedule

Princeton French Film Festival

Princeton, New Jersey

April 12-26, 2024

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You are invited to the second edition of the Princeton French Film Festival that will take place between April 12 and 26, 2024. Organized in collaboration with Albertine Cinémathèque (Face Foundation), this festival includes 11 movies by emerging and award-winning filmmakers, 4 Q&A sessions, 2 masterclasses, and a book discussion.

The films will be screened on Princeton University’s campus, at the Princeton Public Library, and at the Princeton Garden Theater in their original language(s) and with English subtitles. All rooms are wheelchair-friendly.

Free and open to everyone upon registration.

Please address all inquiries and group booking requests to [email protected]

The Braid (La Tresse)

OPENING NIGHT - BOOK ADAPTATION PICK
Friday, April 12, 2024 at 7:30 PM
English, Hindi, Italian, 121 mins (trailer)
Mc Cosh Hall 10 (directions)

A free book discussion on Laetitia Colombani's adapted bestseller The Braid will take place in English at the Princeton Public Library on Tuesday, April 9 at 7:00 PM. Food and drinks will be served. Registration required.
Director: Laetitia Colombani. Production: Moana Films, Curiosa Films (2022). Distribution: SND Groupe M6.

The Braid

Adapted from her own powerful international best-selling novel read by more than 5 million people, Laetitia Colombani‘s feature is a soul-stirring tale of the intertwined fates of three courageous women, spanning cultures, backgrounds, and borders. Three women, three continents, three destinies… They’ve never met but are bound by a thread that is intimate and quite unique. Cast includes Kim Raver of Grey's Anatomy.

Le Petit Nicolas: Qu’est-ce qu’on attend pour être heureux?

ANIMATION & FAMILY FRIENDLY PICK
Saturday, April 13, 2024 at 11:00 AM
French. 82 minutes (trailer)
Princeton Public Library (directions)
Directors: Amandine Fredon, Benjamin Massoubre. Production: On Entertainment (2022). Distribution: Buffalo 8.

Nicholas

Somewhere between Paris' famous neighborhoods Montmartre and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Jean-Jacques Sempé and René Goscinny lean over a large white sheet of paper and bring to life a mischievous and endearing boy, Le Petit Nicolas. From schoolyard games and fights to summer camp prank and camaraderie, Nicolas lives a merry and enriching childhood. As the adventures of Nicolas and his friends unfold, the boy makes his way into his creators' workshop and light-heartedly questions them. Sempé and Goscinny will recount the story of their friendship, career, and reveal a childhood filled with hopes and dreams.

Black Girl (La noire de...)

CLASSIC PICK
Saturday, April 13, 2024 at 7:00 PM
French, 61 minutes (trailer)
Betts Auditorium, School of Architecture (directions)

Followed by Notre Mémoire (12 minutes, trailer), a short movie interview of actress M'Bissine Thérèse Diop (pictured below), and a Q&A with filmmaker Johanna Makabi.

Director: Ousmane Sembène. Production: Actualités Françaises (1966). Distribution: Janus Films.

Black Girl

In this classic of world cinema, Ousmane Sembène, "the father of African cinema", follows Diouana (M'Bissine Thérèse Diop), a Senegalese woman who is eager to find a better life abroad. She takes a job as a governess for a French family, but finds her duties reduced to those of a maid after the family moves from Dakar to the south of France. In her new country, Diouana is constantly made aware of her race and mistreated by her employers. Her hope for better times turns to disillusionment.

Toni (Toni, en famille)

COMEDY PICK
Sunday, April 14, 2024 at 7:00 PM
French, 81 minutes (trailer)
Mc Cosh Hall 10 (directions)

Director: Nathan Ambrosioni. Production: Chi-Fou-Mi Productions (2023). Distribution: Distrib Film US

Toni en famille

In this lovely comedy-drama, Toni (Camille Cottin, Call My Agent) is raising her five children alone. A full-time job. She also sings at bars and had a hit single 20 years ago. Today, as her two eldest prepare to go to college, Toni wonders: what will she do when all of her offspring have left home?

Saint Omer

LEGAL DRAMA PICK - 21 AWARDS & 44 NOMINATIONS WORLDWIDE
Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 7:30 PM
French, 122 minutes (trailer)
Mc Cosh Hall 10 (directions)

Followed by a Q&A (in French) with Filmmaker Alice Diop.

Organized in partnership with the 20th Anniversary of the French Theater Workshop "L'Avant-Scène". More information and schedule of events here.

Director: Alice Diop. Producer: SRAB Films (2022). Distribution: Neon Rated.

Saint-Omer

Rama, a literature professor and novelist, travels from Paris to Saint-Omer to observe the trial of Laurence Coly and write about the case. Coly is a student and Senegalese immigrant accused of leaving her 15-month-old daughter on a beach to be swept away by the tide in Berck. Rama, who is four-months pregnant and, like Coly, is in a mixed-race relationship and has a complex relationship with her own Senegalese immigrant mother, feels a personal connection to Coly. She plans to write a modern day retelling of the Greek Medea myth about the case.

Why French Cinema?

MASTERCLASS
Led by Richard Brody (Film critic for The New Yorker), followed by a Q&A.
Wednesday, April 17, 2024 - 12:00 to 1:30 PM
East Pyne 010 (directions)

Topics will include: To what extent does the history of French cinema still feel contemporary and necessary? What aspects of its current-day productions extend that history? Why does the French cinema (whether its realities or its myths) continue to inspire filmmakers and critics internationally? And, for that matter, what is French about the French cinema?

Brody

A Princeton alumnus (class of 1980), Richard Brody began writing for The New Yorker in 1999 and has contributed articles about the directors Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, and Wes Anderson. Since 2005, he has been the movie-listings editor at the magazine; he writes film reviews and a blog about movies. He is the author of the book Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard and is at work on a book about the lasting influence of the French New Wave. 

Passages

LGBT & PRINCETON GARDEN THEATER PICK
Wednesday, April 17, 2024 at 7:00 PM
French, English. 91 mins (trailer)
Princeton Garden Theater (directions)

Followed by a Q&A with Richard Brody (Film critic for The New Yorker). Read Brody's article on Passages here.

Princeton University members get free tickets on My Princeton U (link here). All other attendees can purchase their tickets on the Princeton Garden Theater website.

Director: Ira Sachs. Producer: SBS Productions (2022). Distribution: MUBI

Passages

As the shooting for his latest production wraps up, director Tomas (Franz Rogowski) celebrates in the company of his husband Martin (Ben Whishaw), the film crew, and their guests. Among the latter, is Agathe (Adèle Exarchopoulos), a young woman who invites Tomas to dance. Soon, the two begin a passionate affair, one that would not just put strain on the relationship between Tomas and Martin, but also resonate through the wider circles inhabited by the three main characters. Personal matters interrupt their professional lives, friends and family provide opinions - warranted or not - and the ménage à trois arrangement is put under further pressure as complications arise.

Coco Farm (Coco Ferme)

ENVIRONMENT & FAMILY FRIENDLY PICK
Saturday, April 20, 2024 at 11:00 AM
French (Canada), English. 87 minutes (trailer)
Princeton Public Library (directions)

Director: Sebastien Gagné. Producer: Les Productions La Fête Inc (2023). Distribution: Angel Films. Courtesy of the Délégation générale du Québec à New York.

Coco Farm

After his father faces financial struggles, twelve-year-old Max is forced to shut down the pawn shop he operates from his garage and move to a small country town. When Max discovers the world of small-scale farming, the young entrepreneur rallies the help of his cousin Charles, along with local youtuber Alice, to start an egg farming business in Charles's old decaying barn. The animal-friendly Coco Farm quickly becomes a major hit, but the three partners soon find themselves facing the harsh realities of an industry controlled by mega-sized agribusinesses.

Animal Kingdom (Le règne animal)

FANTASY PICK - WINNER OF 5 CESAR AWARDS IN 2024
Sunday, April 21, 2024 at 7:00 PM
French. 130 mins (trailer)
Mc Cosh Hall 10 (directions)

Director: Thomas Cailley. Producer: Nord-Ouest Films (2023). Distribution: Magnolia Pictures.

Regne animal

In a world hit by a wave of mutations that are gradually transforming some humans into animals, François (Romain Duris) does everything he can to save his wife, who is affected by this mysterious condition. As some of the creatures disappear into a nearby forest, he embarks with Émile (Paul Kircher), their 16-year-old son, on a quest that will change their lives forever.

Houria

MUSIC & DANCE PICK
Wednesday, April 24, 2024 at 7:30 PM
Arabic (Algeria), French. 95 mins (trailer)
Betts Auditorium, School of Architecture (directions)

Director: Mounia Meddour. Producer: High Sea Production, The Ink Connection (2022). Distribution: Goodfellas.

Houria

Following her multi-award-winning Papicha (2019), director Mounia Meddour comes back with a similarly touching story. Houria (Lyna Khoudri, Gagarine), 25, is a gifted dancer with dreams of joining the Algerian National Ballet. To make ends meet, she works as a cleaning lady during the day and bets in clandestine fights overnight. After winning a final, Houria is assaulted by Ali, who is determined to get his money back. When she wakes up in a hospital, unable to speak and dance. Refusing to abandon her dream, she throws herself, heart and soul, into her physical recovery. At her rehab center, she meets other women damaged by life. Houria resolves to help them transcend their wounded bodies and stand tall - by teaching them how to dance.

40 Years of Acting

MASTERCLASS
Led by Actor Isaach De Bankolé, followed by a Q&A.
Friday, April 26, 2024 - 5:00 to 7:00 PM
Special Dinner will be offered to attendees.

Open to Princeton University members only. Registration on My Princeton U (link here). Room details will be sent to ticket holders on the day of the event. Picture: © Adi Bulboaca Photography 
 

Isaach de Bankolé

Born in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Isaach De Bankolé is an award-winning actor who began his career in France in the mid-1980s as a stage performer and movie actor. After several acclaimed cinematic performances (Black MicMac, Chocolat) that established his career (he won the Cesar Award for Best Male Revelation in 1987), Isaach pursued an impressive artistic trajectory in the USA where he starred in highly-acclaimed features and series, including Casino Royale (2006), 24 (2009), Black Panther (2018), S.W.A.T (2019), and Godfather of Harlem (2021). In 2007, he received France's highest honorific distinction, the National Order of the Legion of Honor.

Chocolat

CLASSIC PICK - 1988 CANNES FESTIVAL'S PALME D'OR NOMINEE
Friday, April 26, 2024 - 7:30 PM
French. 105 mins (trailer)
McCosh Hall 10 (directions)

Followed by a Q&A with Actor Isaach De Bankolé.

Director: Claire Denis. Producer: Cerito Films; Fodic; mk2 films; Cinemanuel. Distribution: Janus Films.

Chocolat

Acclaimed filmmaker Claire Denis drew on her own childhood experiences growing up in colonial French Africa for her multilayered, languorously absorbing feature debut, which explores many of the themes that would recur throughout her work. Returning to the town where she grew up in Cameroon after many years living in her parents' country,  France (Mireille Perrier) reflects on her relationship with Protée (Isaach De Bankolé) with whom she formed a friendship while not fully grasping the racial divides that governed their worlds.

Contributors

The Second Edition of the Princeton French Film Festival is made possible thanks to the generous contributions of the following entities.

Princeton University 
Graduate Student Government Board; GradFUTURESDepartment of French & ItalianDepartment of African American Studies; Campus Conversation on IdentityGender + Sexuality Resource Center; Center for Collaborative History; Department of English; Near Eastern Studies ProgramLewis Center for the Arts; Program in Contemporary European Politics & Society; Department of Art & Archeology; Princeton Center for Language Study; Forbes College; Department of Comparative Literature; Department of Music; Davis International Center (Contributions to and/or sponsorship of any event does not constitute departmental or institutional endorsement of the specific program, speakers or views presented.)

Cultural institutions
Princeton French Center for Excellence; Albertine Cinémathèque (a program of FACE Foundation and Villa Albertine, with support from the CNC / Centre National du Cinema, and SACEM / Fonds Culturel Franco-Américain); Délégation Générale du Québec à New York; Princeton Accueil

Educational institutions
French American School of Princeton; The Lawrenceville School (Language Department); Alliance Française de Princeton

Contributors