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AF FFF 2023: Spotlight on films based on novels

The 34th Alliance Française French Film festival is now open! This special edition features four films based on novels, allowing you to prolong the magic of the festival, or simply continue practicing your French! Read on to learn more.

Written by Sacreblue!

10 Mar 2023

4 min read

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French Film Festival 2023
4 Films based on novels

The 34th Alliance Française French Film festival is now open! Head to the official website to discover the dates and film offerings in your city.

This special edition features four films based on novels, allowing you to prolong the magic of the festival, or simply continue practising your French!


Lie with me / Arrête avec tes mensonges

Directed by Olivier Peyon

Starring Guillaume de Tonquédec, Victor Belmondo, Guilaine Londez, Jérémy Gillet, Julien De Saint-Jean

Lie with me, based on the autobiographic novel by Philippe Besson follows Stéphane Belcourt, a famous writer who has just signed as a brand ambassador for a famous Cognac brand as he returns to his hometown for the first time after thirty years. There, he revisits the passionate love story he had with Thomas in the 80s. The film features a plot twist so we won’t say any more!

As per an IMBD reviewer:

As is the book, the story here is autobiographical and it is felt. The movie captures that quite well, there’s a rawness to it that makes it feel like you’re watching these events as they are unfolding whether they are in the present or the flashbacks. A movie that goes back and forth between the present and the past is nothing new, and someone reminiscing on their first love isn’t either, but this film does a good job of it in the way it’s structured. The flashbacks actually feel like memories, as bittersweet as they can be, and contrast well with Stephane now as he’s still hurt by them and yet cherish them.

Book your tickets here.


On the Wandering Paths / Sur les chemins noirs

Directed by Denis Imbert

Starring Jean Dujardin, Izïa Higelin, Anny Duperey

Selling more than 425,000 copies in France, this epic autobiographic tale was a hit with French readers. On the Wandering Paths, follows Sylvian, played by Jean Dujardin, as he embarks on a three-month journey on foot of solitude and contemplation. After having recovered from a serious injury and coma, Sylvain decides to embark on a journey through country-side France, following obscure paths previously walked by peasants through the mountainous south of France.

Sylvain Tesson’s On the Wandering Paths is an epic journey through the mountainous landscape of southern France. Revealing intimate knowledge of both the peasant landscape and its history, it is also Tesson’s autobiography as an explorer and lyricist. A rare book in the traveling genre for everyone who dreams of leaving the rat race behind to find meaning in the beauty of nature.

–     Rane Willerslev, director, National Museum of Denmark
Book your tickets here.
Ride Above / Tempête au haras

Directed by Christian Duguay

Starring Mélanie Laurent, Pio Marmaï, Kacey Mottet Klein, Carmen Kassovitz, Atmen Kelif

Based on the novel “Tempête au haras” by Christophe Donner, Ride Above is the story of Zoé, having grown up among horses at her parents’ stud farm, she dreams of becoming a jockey and forms a deep bond with a young horse. A terrible accident threatens to end their racing careers, but they fight to reach victory together.

Not since a teenage Elizabeth Taylor rode her steed to victory in National Velvet has a film about a kid and a horse proven such an effective tearjerker as Christian Duguay’s French drama about a young girl who doesn’t let a terrible accident prevent her from pursuing her dream of becoming a jockey. The film may feel predictable at times in its plot machinations, but it nonetheless exerts a solid emotional pull that should make it a crowd-pleaser upon its theatrical release next month in its native country. Ride Above recently received its U.S. premiere as the centerpiece film of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.

– Franck Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

Book your tickets here.


Sugar and Stars / À la belle étoile

Directed by Sébastien Tulard

Starring Riadh Belaïche, Loubna Abidar, Christine Citti, Patrick d’Assumçao, Phénix Brossard

Based on Yazid Ichemrahem’s autobiographic novel, Un rêve d’enfant étoilé , Sugar and Stars tells his story of a rising pastry chef against all odds despite his difficult beginnings living in foster homes.

As per an AlloCine reviewer [translated]:

Being a pastry lover myself, I was instantly drawn to the film and what a great discovery it was thanks to Riadh’s acting game. I was initially quite doubtful about seeing an influencer be selected as lead but I quickly changed my mind!
He acts wonderfully and viewers are very taken by the story. The film also features beautiful visuals and the plot is very touching, overall a great production!

Book your tickets here.

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