PARIS (IDN | SWAN) – The French branch of rights group Amnesty International is hosting its 8th Human Rights Film Festival, with films from countries including France, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia.
The six-day festival, which runs until November 12 in Paris, includes features and documentaries, with the aim of raising awareness and increasing the public’s “engagement in favour of human rights,” the organisation said.
Each screening will be followed by discussions between the filmmakers and the audience.
“Through a rich selection of narratives, the films give a voice to victims and to those who fight daily to advance rights,” Amnesty International France said.
“Cinema can arouse emotions, spark indignation and give us a wish to discuss and to understand ways in which each of us can contribute to change,” said Camille Blanc, the group’s president.
The focus this year is on violence against women and children (Jusqu’à la garde / Maman Colonelle / I Am Not a Witch), the situation of refugees in France (Une saison en France), transexuality (Coby) and human exploitation (Makala).
French-Iraqi filmmaker Abbas Fahdel was the “keynote” presenter or parrain, appearing at the opening on Nov. 7 for a discussion with the audience.
The inaugural film is the gripping Jusqu’à la garde(Custody), by French actor and director Xavier Legrand, who received an Oscar nomination for his 2013 short film Avant que de tout perdre (Just Before Losing Everything). Already acclaimed at screenings during the Toronto and Venice film festivals, Custody is the continued story of an abused woman dealing with a manipulative ex-husband.
Other participating filmmakers include Dieudo Hamadi, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), whose documentary Maman Colonelle portrays a senior policewoman battling to stop abuse of women and children; Emmanuel Gras, with the documentary Makala, a film about back-breaking labour, also set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; France-based Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, with the drama Une saison en France (A Season in France), which tells the story of undocumented migrants (“sans papiers”) in Paris; and Zambian filmmaker Rungano Nyoni with her haunting debut feature I am Not a Witch about a nine-year-old girl accused of witchcraft and sent away to a “witch camp”. [IDN-InDepthNews – 8 November 2017]
Note: This article first appeared on November 7, 2017 in SWAN – Southern World Arts News – an online cultural magazine devoted to the arts of the global South, and is being reproduced by arrangement with the editor.
Photo: A scene from ‘A Season in France’, a film by France-based Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun.
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