Simultaneously philosophical, sombre and pretentious, yet playful, fun and firmly tongue-in-cheek, Francofonia employs a whimsical and varied approach – not unlike that of Chilean master Patricio Guzmán – to ruminate on the value of art in Nazi-occupied Paris.
Consisting of archive footage, historical re-enactments and some daft interplay between its historical figures and the narrator, Francofonia is more concerned with creating a mood and asking questions of its audience than offering fresh insight into fairly well-trodden ground. Depending on the subject matter at any given moment, it varies throughout the film as to whether this is to its credit or its detriment.
More meditative than informative, Francofonia is many things, but it’s not your run-of-the-mill documentary. Art and history buffs will get a kick, but perhaps not too many others.
CAST: Johanna Korthals Altes, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing,Vincent Nemeth, Benjamin Utzerath
DIRECTOR: Aleksandr Sokurov
WRITER: Aleksandr Sokurov
SYNOPSIS: Francofonia looks at how the Parisian people and the occupying Nazi forces viewed their culture – and thus themselves – during WWII.
Francofonia was screen as part of the Official Documentary Competition at the 2015 London Film Festival.