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Sunday, January 23, 2011


The Festival du Film Français aims to deliver some of France's finest contemporary films to South African audiences.

France has influenced the art of filmmaking for more than a century and now this local festival will extend this influence across five cities, including Durban, during the first two weeks of February. Its curator is a young South African filmmaker, Oliver Hermanus, who has impressed many with his cinematic feature debut Shirley Adams which won him the Golden Unicorn for Best Feature Film at the 29th Amiens Film Festival. He was the first South African filmmaker selected to participate in the prestigious Cinéfondation in Cannes. He will return to Cannes this year as a guest of the French Embassy.

Hermanus has been has been handed carte blanche on film choice in selecting the movie line-up for the festival. This offers contemporary French cinema dating from 2008 to 2010. Amongst his selection are three avant-premières in South Africa, On Tour, Of Gods and Men and Black Venus. For a few days of the festival, audiences will also be able to savour the characteristics of French cinema – slower plotlines, strong character development and a deviance from ‘happy’ or conclusive endings.

At least ten French films are screened in South Africa each year, with about 500,000 tickets sold. The festival is thus not an isolated event as French cultural exchange is thriving in South Africa supported, at the national level, by the French embassy in South Africa and the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) and, at the provincial level, by the French Consulate in Cape Town and the language and cultural centres Alliances Françaises in Cape Town and in Mitchell’s Plain, the latter being a satellite theatre of Artscape.

The Festival du Film Français runs from February 2 to 7 in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg. It then moves to Port Elizabeth and Pretoria from February 9 to 12. It opens officially in Cape Town on February 2. Hermanus will hold film workshops in each city. More information from Frikkie Odendaal on email: or visit