CINEFRANCO: Not Your Average French Film Festival

Woman with face tattoos looking out from behind a red curtain

Founder Marcelle Lean’s special flair for creating a unique line-up for this Francophone film festival.

Cinefranco Logo Hailing from Morocco (via Paris then England onward to Canada) Toronto is fortunate that Marcelle Lean, Cinéfranco’s Artistic Director, decided to call this city home. Her experience of moving through life by crossing over continents is the reason she is able to curate Cinéfranco with a rich diversity that allows for a deeper and more encompassing experience of Francophone culture(s).

Woman in sunglasses with city of Toronto, lake and CN Tower behind her.
Cinéfranco Founder & Artistic Director Marcelle Lean. Image from www.tfo.org.

Poster for Moroccan Film Femme EcriteWith Cinéfranco’s programming she is not afraid to take chances, even including films that are not fully in French as in Saturday’s Femme Écrite, a Moroccan Production in Arabic with English subtitles.

“Naïm, a renowned anthropologist, wants to make a film on beautiful Mririda, a Berber poet and courtesan who mesmerizes him. At the brothel where she used to go, Naïm is struck by the beauty, the sensuous tattoos of young prostitute Adjou. He immediately feels bound in his flesh and soul to Adjou, a kind of mirror image to Mririda. Adjou’s brutal murder triggers a police investigation. In his desperate search for truth, Naïm sways between a world of imagination and reality.

Lazcen Zinoun is the conductor of a film composed like a five-movement opus framed by tribal rituals and practices like the mysterious, erotic tattooing of women. He sings the hymn of freedom for women to control their own bodies in a society still paralyzed by ancient codes. He films Fatym Layachi’s goddess-like body with the same poetry and lyricism as he does the sexual passion that enflames the lovers. 

A film steeped in poetry and luminous beauty tinged with Pasolini overtones!” (cited from www.cinefranco.com)

Along with Femme Écrite another MIXED BAG MAG pick for this year’s Cinéfranco is the festival closer Tango Libre a French / Luxembourgian / Belgian production in French and Spanish with English subtitles.

“JC, an ordinary prison guard, meets Alice at his weekly tango classes. Attracted by the sensual woman, he is surprised to see her visiting two prisoners: Fernand, her husband and Dominic, her lover, both cell mates. Furious to learn his wife tangoes with the prison guard, Fernand ventures to ask the Argentinian boss for dancing lessons. The tango works its passionate magic: a breath of freedom sweeps the prison and the unusual quartet of lovers dangerously watched by Antonio, Alice’s teenage son.

Prisoners outside in a prison yard dancing the steps of the tangoDirector Frédéric Fonteyne (…) has crafted an intense, intelligent and affecting character piece that never quite goes where you expect. The always watchable Lopez is on top form, but the film’s real revelation is star and co-writer Paulicevich, whose Alice is tough, tender, and sometimes mesmerizingly unknowable” (Jonathan Romney) (cited www.cinefranco.com)

Whatever your taste (or language) Cinéfranco offers something for everyone!

Film Poster for Tango Libre

Visit Cinéfranco’s Schedule Page for more of the weekend line-up or follow on Twitter @cinefranco and Facebook.