Film Screening 6th May, 2016

Poster for The Bélier Family (La Famille Bélier)

The Bélier Family (La Famille Bélier) 

7:30 PM, 6th May, 2016

  • M
  • 105 mins
  • 2014
  • Eric Lartigau
  • Victoria Bedos, Stanislas Carré de Malberg
  • Karin Viard, François Damiens, Eric Elmosnino, Louane Emera

This double feature screening of The Bélier Family and Girlhood is proudly presented by the Embassy of France

This was France’s most popular film of 2015, and it’s not hard to see why.
The Bélier Family follows the trials and tribulations of sixteen-year-old Paula (Emera) when she joins the school choir and discovers she has talent – talent that could prove good enough to take her away from her rural home to study in Paris. The only problem is that her mother, father and younger brother are all deaf. Engaging characters in their own right, they rely on her as their indispensable interpreter in the running of their family’s dairy farm. It’s a loving, close family and Paula finds herself in a dilemma choosing between her independence and family commitment.

This is a coming-of-age film so, yes, there’s a boy, and, yes, there’s a best friend; but both are neatly woven into the plot. And, yes, it’s a formulaic plot too, but it’s deftly handled. The Bélier Family is by turns funny and sad – but always enjoyable – with a fantastic lead performance by the young Emera and great supporting performances by François Damiens as the father and Karin Viard as the mother.

This is not just a feel good movie – it’s a feel great movie. Bring tissues. 

Dallas Stow

Poster for Girlhood (Bande de filles)

Girlhood (Bande de filles) 

9:25 PM, 6th May, 2016

  • M
  • 113 mins
  • 2014
  • Céline Sciamma
  • Céline Sciamma
  • Karidja Touré, Assa Sylla, Lindsay Karamoh, Mariétou Touré

When it comes to making films about childhood and adolescence, one can either go broad to milk our nostalgia for easy laughs, or can strike at the dramatic core of what it means to grow up (something we have all done) thereby transcending both the time and the setting to affect the audience deeply.

Girlhood manages the second approach successfully. It centres on Marieme (Touré) who is at a critical juncture in her life. Her school grades are poor, and she is uninspired by the two futures immediately available to her: technical school, or cleaning hotels like her mother. Within a world that is mostly run by the opposite sex, she finds herself drawn to a gang of women who have recently lost a member to motherhood.

Director Céline Sciamma has made a niche for herself making movies about girls growing up (we screened her previous film, Tomboy, in 2012). For this film, she was inspired by teenage girls that she would regularly see hanging out in the vicinity of Paris shopping centres and train stations. She scouted the streets for actresses, and lucked out when finding Touré, who brings innocence, strength and authenticity to the central role.

The scene where the girls sing along to Rihanna’s “Diamonds” in stolen dresses almost sums up the whole movie, in how it presents their lives as both beautiful and dangerous. Girlhood is a true feminist film, and it is hard not be sucked in by its energy and effervescence.

Travis Cragg