Franco Film Festival 2014

The 4th edition of  francOfilm Festival 2014 is back, from 26th-29th March. It will take place in Vox Cinemas in Abu Dhabi (Marina Mall) and Dubai (Mall of the Emirates).

This year's edition includes films from Belgium, Canada, France, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Switzerland, Senegal and Chad and will have English subtitles. Tickets for each film costs AED 25, so cheaper than the regular films screening in our cinemas. 

Some of these films were screened recently at the Dubai International Film Festival, I've seen some and others I've missed, so I'm looking forward to catching up on what I missed. And before each screening, short films from the UAE will be shown. 

I'm glad this is on because I've not spent a lot of time in our cinemas since the Dubai International Film Festival. 

Here's the schedule and the line up:

Wednesday, 26th March 2014 

Des étoiles (Under the Starry Sky), 2014

Directed by Diana Gaye | Senegal | PG | 88 mins 

10pm in Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi and Mall of the Emirates, Dubai 

Across Turin, Dakar, and New York, the destinies of Sophie, Abdoulaye and Thierno cross paths. Sophie, 24, leaves Dakar to join her husband, Abdoulaye, in Turin. Meanwhile, Abdoulaye has already left for New York through a smuggler’s network. Nineteen-year-old Thierno is travelling through Africa for the first time.

Under the Starry Sky takes the audience on an unforgettable journey through the diverse cities and draws attention to the characters’ realities, hopes and dreams of contemporary emigration.  

Thursday, 27th March 2014 

Hiver nomade (Winter Nomads), 2013 

Directed by Manuel von Stürler | Switzerland | Documentary | PG | 90 mins

6pm in Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi and Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

Pascal, 53, and Carole, 28, are shepherds. In the month of November 2010, they embark on their long winter transhumance: four months during which they will have to cover 600 km in the Swiss-French region, accompanied by three donkeys, four dogs and a eight hundred sheep.

An exceptional adventure is about to begin: they brave the cold and the bad weather day in day out, with a canvas cover and animal skins as their only shelter at night. This saga reveals a tough and exacting profession requiring constant improvisation and unflinching attention to nature, the animals and the cosmos. An eventful journey with surprise encounters, moving reunions with farmer friends, nostalgic figures of country life that is shrinking away fast.

A film dominated by the strong personalities of Pascal and Carole, whose relationship and joie de vivre transform this transhumance into a magnificent hymn to freedom, at opposite extremes of our comfortable reality. Winter Nomads is an adventure film, a contemporary road movie, a reflection of our current world, which takes us back to our roots and our inner questions. 

Grigris (2013) 

Directed by Mahamet Saleh Haroun | Chad | 13+ | 101 mins

9pm in Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi and Mall of the Emirates, Dubai  

Despite a paralyzed leg, Grigris, 25-year old, dreams of being a dancer. A challenge. But his dreams are dashed when his uncle falls critically ill. To save him, Grigris resolves to work for petrol traffickers. 

Friday, 28th March 2014 

Sur le chemin de l’école (On the way to school), 2013

Directed by Pascal Plisson | France | Documentary | G | 77 mins

3pm in Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi and Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

The children depicted in this film live in the four corners of the globe and all share the same desire to learn. They’ve understood that only education will allow them to improve their lives, and for this reason, each day, they set out on highly risky journeys, through extraordinary landscapes, on their quest for knowledge.

Eleven year old Jackson lives in Kenya and, every morning and evening, he and his younger sister walk nine and a half miles across the savannah populated by wild animals. Twelve year old Zahira lives in the steep Atlas Mountains. It takes her and her two friends an exhausting day of walking to reach their boarding school. Thirteen year old Samuel lives in India. The two and half miles he must cross each day are a challenge because his legs are paralyzed. His two younger brothers push his makeshift wheelchair for more than an hour in order to get to school. Eleven year old Carlito crosses the Patagonian plains on horseback, accompanied by his younger sister. Each day the pair travels 11 miles back and forth, no matter the weather.

On the Way to School allows us to share the extraordinary daily lives of these children, whose determination coupled with a dream leads them down a path that we have all taken, but never quite in this way.

Gabrielle, 2013

Directed by Louise Archambault | Canada | 16+ | 93 mins 

6pm in Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi and Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

Gabrielle is a young woman with Williams syndrome who has a contagious joie de vivre and an exceptional musical gift. Since she met her boyfriend Martin, at the recreation centre where they are choir members, they have been inseparable. However, because they are “different,” their loved ones are fearful of their relationship.

As the choir prepare for an important music festival, Gabrielle does everything she can to get her independence. As determined as she is, Gabrielle must still confront other people’s prejudices as well as her own limitations in the hope of experiencing a love far from the “ordinary”. 

Heritages, 2013 – 96 min 

Directed by Philippe Aractingi | Lebanon | Documentary | G | 96 mins  

9pm in Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi and Mall of the Emirates, Dubai 

When director Philippe Aractingi is forced to leave his motherland for the third time, the reality dawns on him: his ancestors have been fleeing wars for five generations. Exploring his roots, Aractingi goes back to the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the creation of Israel and the Lebanese Civil War. Experimenting with a radical new film-making style, he interlaces directed scenes and archive images with video-filmed personal diaries, family photos and super 8 reels.

Saturday, 29th March 2014 

Le monde nous appartient (The World Belongs to Us), 2012 88 min

Directed by Stephan Streker | Belgium | 16+ | 88 mins

3pm in Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi and Mall of the Emirates, Dubai 

Pouga and Julien are two youngsters in their 20es, who both lead an ordinary life in the suburbs of Brussels. Despite their differences, they share one thing in common, an uncertain future. Julien is an aspiring professional football player, but the way to the top is not easy. Pouga is a small time crook, who steals luxury cars for a living.

When their destinies meet, little do they know that tragedy is just around the corner. Featuring the most promising actors of their generation, “Le monde nous appartient” is sure to resonate with teens.

Rock the Casbah, 2013

Directed by Laila Marrakchi | Morocco-France | 15+ | 100 mins

6pm in Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi and Mall of the Emirates, Dubai 

Summer in Tangiers. After the death of their father, the women of the family get together for three days in the family residency to grieve and remember according to Muslim culture. Goodbye to beach and bikinis, it is now time to wear djellabas, to reunite everyone together and to deck the house out in funeral attire. The house is full of activity.

Things reach a crescendo when Sofia, the youngest daughter, returns home. Actress who only plays terrorist roles in American television series, she arrives from New York after several years of absence. Her return set up the grounds to settle scores with her sisters and to overturn the order established by the defunct patriarch. Between laughter and tears, a collective hysteria allows all of them to discover their true selves.  

Harag W’Marag (Chaos, Disorders), 2012 

Directed by Nadine Khan | Egypt | PG

9pm in Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi and Mall of the Emirates, Dubai  

Manal, Zaki, and Mounir are in their twenties. They live in a chaos-filled community next to a garbage dump where their basic needs are barely met. Beneath the disorder in their society is a layer of troubled relationships, decaying love and a feverish competition between Zaki and Mounir to woo Manal.

A competition that can only be resolved by football. Respecting boundaries, the film carries a current of privacy through its unique portrayal of an isolated and closed society.

You can also download the schedule here, Abu Dhabi schedule and Dubai schedule