French Film Festival: Celebrating French, Haitian Culture in New Orleans

Gillian Robins, Staff Reporter

Courtesy of New Orleans Film Society

The 22nd annual New Orleans French film festival — “one of the longest running foreign film festivals in the country” — is Feb. 15-21 at the historic Prytania Theatre. The lineup includes 17 full-length films and three short films. The festival includes classic and modern films, most from France, but including other Francophone countries like Belgium, Canada, Haiti and others. All films will include English subtitles for those not fluent in French.

With the old and new movies being screened, the audience can compare the aesthetic differences between them, as well as the cultural contexts that may make them differ.

There will also be opportunities to meet a handful of the directors after the showings to bring a Haitian influence to the film festival. Krewe du Kanaval took place for the first time last year. In 2018, Preservation Hall artistic director and lead singers of Arcade Fire Regine Chassagne and Win Butler created Krewe du Kanaval to remember and celebrate Haiti’s influence on New Orleans.

Public tickets are currently available, with all-access passes for $90 and non-member individual screenings are going for $13 and $15 for the opening and closing films. Tickets are available at

Trying to decide which movies are worth the watch? Here are some highlights:

Contemporary Films

“Sauvage” appeared at Cannes 2018. It follows a young gay hustler in Strasbourg searching for love amidst his world of drugs and casual sex.

Another promising film, directed by and starring Louis Garrel, is “A Faithful Man,” which stars acting novice Lily Rose-Depp.

“Sorry Angel” is set in ‘90s Paris and follows the relationship between two men, one of whom is HIV positive.


1946’s “La Belle et La Bête” (Beauty and the Beast) and the classic French New Wave film “The Nun” (1966) — which was temporarily banned in France following its premiere at Cannes — starring icon Anna Karina. It follows a woman in 1960s’ France forced into the life of a nun.

Art House

Archetypal New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard’s film essay, “The Image Book,” is also playing during the festival. His work received a Special Palme D’Or at Cannes in 2018. It features clips from famous films and distorts them with neon colors to convey the changing of taste over time.


Fashion documentary “Yellow is Forbidden” follows designer Guo Pei who designed Rihanna’s distinctive 2018 Met Gala gown.

Another documentary, “Le Concours,” explores the admissions process of the highly selective French film school La Fémis.

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