During the First World War, Camille (Sylvie Testud), a young woman whose husband is away fighting at the front, receives a short letter of break-up from him. Distraught, she decides to go to join him, but is driven back by the rule of the time which forbids women to move around alone. She has no other recourse than to dress herself up as a man so as to be able to take to the road on foot. As she lives near the Western Fromt she hooks up with a passing group of French soldiers without too much trouble. But there’s something a bit odd about these stragglers, and it’s not just their habit of bursting into song at every opportunity.
Adapted from a story by Doris Lessing, My Friend Victoria is a complex, poignant portrait of two young black women in contemporary Paris. The film follows them from childhood into adulthood, with the older Fanny narrating the story of her friend and adoptive sister. Aged eight, Victoria spends a night in the home of a wealthy white family; years later, she encounters them again and her life is changed forever. As Fanny and Victoria’s destinies take them in separate directions, the drama offers a distinctly fresh take on racial identity in contemporary France – and on questions of class, privilege and blinkered liberal racism. Superbly acted by newcomers Guslagie Malanda and Nadia Moussa, along with veterans Mouchet and Greggory, My Friend Victoria sees Jean-Paul Civeyrac returning to the LFF after his poetic, elegant Young Girls in Black (2010). His follow-up is an acutely intelligent achievement by a director whose time has surely come.
Barbara, a young girl, lives in an old country house with her father and her teacher. One night, she dreams that a fireman enters her room through the window. Having grown, Barbara leaves her father to travel across the world, before coming back to her childhood fantasies: one day, she calls the firemen, and locks herself with one of them in her bedroom.