Alliance Francaise French Film Festival

It is on now. And it’s sumptuous. If you haven’t yet had the chance to get along to the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival, don’t worry there is still time and so many of the great films are yet to come with the more popular films (see Night Shift review) having several sessions. Also make time to check out some of the nominees of the 2021 Cesar Awards highlighted below.

Night Shift
Night Shift is an insightful new film by acclaimed Luxembourger auteur filmmaker Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel; The Innocents, AF FFF17). The film explores the tension between police power, government authority and human rights particularly pertaining to refugee policy.  

Three jaded police officers are assigned what they think is a simple task on their night shift. They are supposed to be accompanying Tajik asylum seeker Tohirov (Iranian actor Payman Maadi) to Charles de Gaulle Airport for deportation. The three police officers, Aristide (the seductive Omar Sy, Lupin) Virginie (Virginie Efira, Sibyl, AF FFF20) and Erik (Grégory Gadebois, Reinventing Marvin, AF FFF18) appear to be dutiful and robust French police, but beneath the brave exteriors lie a whole host of toxic problems.

Early on in the film Erik (the cop boss) explains how he counts to 60 seconds every night on the porch before entering is home so he can leave his workday behind him. A harrowing 24 hours later, the film closes with fellow cop Aristide doing the same. It’s a ritual that has meaning. Over the last 24 hours emotions have been stretch to new levels of elasticity. Aristide is grappling with the upcoming abortion of his child with lady love Virginie. Virginie (who he calls Miss Norway) is grappling with sleepless nights caused by her young child, cheating on her husband and reconciling her physical fondness for her workmate. Then there’s the would be terrorist slash refugee who can’t speak a word of French and refuses to escape even when given several chances. Erik reaches for his hit flask and drinks on the job despite seemingly being in control of his alcoholism. Will natural justice prevail and the prisoner be released?

The majority of the film is shot inside a car with the three officers and prisoner travelling through blurry nightscapes. The simplicity of the set intensifies the interpersonal conflicts between the characters and deepens the viewer’s understanding of their unique moral dilemma.

Check session times here.

Nominees of the 2021 Cesar Awards

Best First Film Arab Blues
Best Screenplay Delete History
Best Actor Miss
Best Animation  Calamity
Best Screenplay The Godmother
Best Screenplay Small Country
Best Actor De Gaulle
Best Animation Little Vampire
Best Film Summer of 85

For more on this year’s fantastic line-up, sessions
and special events, visit the Festival website