This year welcomes the 30th anniversary edition of the French Film Festival, organised in partnership with Institut Français du Royaume-Uni and Screen Scotland, and is currently the only francophone film Festival in the UK. Plymouth Arts Cinema is showing three films from the Festival: Tori and Lokita, Full Time and Rodeo; a selection that covers a broad range of subjects.
Tori and Lokita is a film that chronicles the friendship between a young boy and an adolescent girl as the latter fights for her right to stay in Belgium. It confronts the harsh realities many immigrants face and also does not shy away from showing the levels of exploitation many migrants suffer. The directors, Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are well-known for tackling contemporary issues in their films (they previously won the Cannes award for Best Director in 2019 for Young Ahmed), and the two leads are excellent in what is their premiere performance in the industry.
Heading back to France, Full Time stars Laure Calamy (who UK audiences will recognise from Dix pour Cent/Call my Agent! as Matthias’s assistant Noemie) in a thriller of sorts as a mother trying to provide for her children as best she can, whilst battling a Parisian train strike. Calamy won a well-deserved Orizzonti Award (Best Actress) for her convincing portrayal, and the director Eric Gravel was also awarded an Orizzonti.
Rodeo also has a female protagonist, although covers a very different subject matter. Set in the arrondisements of Paris, it follows Julia, an independent young woman who finds herself taking part in ‘rodeos’: clandestine urban events where bikers show off their bikes and tricks. The director, Lola Quivoron spent just over a year getting to know an underground group of Parisian bikers to inform herself about this film, and scouted real-life biker Julia Ledru on Instagram to take part in what is her first film role, which gives added authencity to the film.
Written by Imogen Parkin