Francophone Film Festival Seeks To Educate And Entertain Audiences On Ever-Evolving French Language

Mar 20, 2014

Credit Designed by Aaron Cooper

The Francophone Film Festival is more than just films from France - a LOT more, actually. This year's festival has US premiers of films both long and short from around the world, including Algeria, Madagascar, and Tunisia.

"Americans have this idea of French as a language of high class and perfume and fashion and baguette and cheese - and it is all that - but the truth is that now French is a language that is spoken by a lot of people. There's currently more people speaking French in Africa than in Europe, and this is going to happen more and more as the 21st century goes," says WMU professor and Film Festival coordinator Vincent Desroches.

"So French is really a global language, and this is why we need to show it in its globality." 

This year's festival has been broken up into two weekends, with screenings March 21-23 and again on March 28-30. Seven films total are being featured in the festival.

All the films have subtitles, and will be shown in the Little Theater on Oakland Drive.  

There will be two opportunities to meet the filmmakers following the screenings: director Anais Barbeau-Lavalett will discuss her film 'Inch'allah' on March 21, and director Haminaina Ratovoarivony will discuss his film 'Legends of Madagascar' on March 30.

Desroches is adamant in reshaping how foreign countries are perceived in the western world through cinema.  


"What are the images that we have in our mind when we think about Africa? Well we may have 'Tarzan' - we may have 'The Lion King.' Those images that have been manufactured to present one type of image," says Desroches.   

"We have this film called 'War Witch,' which is about [the] Congo, where war has been raging for 20 years. Where the number of casualties [is] getting close to what happened in World War I.But we don't hear about Congo! Now we present a film that shows the reality of child soldiers. These types of film show a type reality that is not present otherwise."


Now in its 13th year, Desroches is proud of what the festival has striven to accomplish. "I think we have been able to produce a very wide variety of films about very different [types] of realities," he says of the works.

From Canada to the French Caribbean and everywhere in between,the festival's films will take you on a journey around the world and hope to leave you with an enhanced view of the culture around you - all without leaving your seat.

Admission is $8 for the general public, and $5 for students.