Celebrating Francophonie: Alliance Française Lagos Hosts Free Cinema Day

Celebrating Francophonie: Alliance Française Lagos Hosts Free Cinema Day

Yinka Olatunbosun

The Alliance Française in Lagos, in collaboration with France, Canada, and Switzerland, treated Nigerian French students and culture buffs to a day of free cinema screening. The event was aimed at showcasing the richness and diversity of French-language cinema while promoting French language and Francophone cultures to the Nigerian public.

The cinema screening featured three captivating films namely “Les 2 Alfred,” a French satirical comedy directed by Bruno Podalydes; “Ma vie de courgette,” a Swiss animated film by Claude Barras, and “Coco Ferme,” a Canadian tale directed by Sébastien Gagné. With English subtitles provided, attendees were immersed in the cinematic experience.

Laurent Favier, the Consul General of France in Lagos, shared insights into Nigeria’s growing interest in French language learning, revealing that 11,000 Nigerians embrace French annually, with 15,000 teachers across schools and institutes. 

“Nigeria is ranked seventh in the world for issuing certificates of the French language,” Favier remarked.

Beyond cultural exchange, Favier highlighted collaborations in education and film, including artist residencies, scholarships for Nigerian students to pursue higher education in France, and support for events like the Cannes Festival. Such initiatives help to nurture talent and foster connections between Nigerian and French counterparts, enriching both countries’ cultural landscapes. 

He said: “We have been supporting the Cannes Festival for many years. Movie makers in Nigeria have to meet their counterparts in France to attend summits and festivals. To develop talents and to make sure they meet the right people at the right place.”

Echoing the importance of French language proficiency for Nigeria’s economic development, the Swiss Consul General, Frank Eggmann, and the Canadian High Commissioner, James Christoff, emphasised the strategic significance of bilingualism in a region surrounded by French-speaking neighbors like Nigeria.

On his part, ace filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan emphasised the power of collaboration in driving the film industry forward. Recognising the contributions of both Anglophone and Francophone countries to African cinema, he urged unity and cooperation among filmmakers to create impactful and culturally diverse works.

“Globally, the French have contributed a lot to the development of film, arts, and culture in both the Anglophone and Francophone African countries. Let’s narrow it down to my area of expertise, which is film. I’m a filmmaker but my understanding of film tells me that film doesn’t have a language. I have always been an advocate of collaboration; let’s collaborate. Let’s do it together.”

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