OSS 117: From Africa With Love

Top 10 films to see at French Film Festival Aotearoa

This popular festival runs from 23 June – 10 July at Academy Gold Cinemas, and showcases the boldness, daring originality and poignant excellence of French cinema. Side-splitting comedies to gripping drama, swoon-worthy romance to Hitchcockian thrillers, there’s something for all cinematic tastes here, so peruse this handy list and go straight to booking your tickets!

A Mermaid in Paris

This is a quirky and eccentric tale of a musician who rescues a mermaid washed up on the banks of the Seine. Gaspard is nursing a broken heart and has sworn never to love again, while Lula has only her voice to defend herself from men. A refreshingly original film about what it means to believe in the things you love.

OSS 117: From Africa with Love

France’s answer to an 80s James Bond, this film reached number one at the French box office. This is the third instalment of secret agent OSS 117’s parodic spy adventures. Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath is a clueless, arrogant, hilarious and staunchly patriotic French secret agent, sent to Africa to help out President Bamba, whose re-election is threatened by rebels, led covertly by his young wife.

Happy 50

A group of long-time friends reunite for a holiday abroad to celebrate Yves’ 50th birthday in this hilarious and irreverent comedy. The group plans to go to sunny Greece, but a cancelled flight sees them ending up in a much rainier, less glamorous location. On top of that, a joke gift of an ancestry DNA test given to Yves ends up having unforseen consequences.

Between Two Worlds

A well-known author, played by the ever-charming Juliette Binoche, moves incognito to northern France to research for a new book about job insecurity. In the course of her research, she gets a job as a cleaner and experiences financial instability and social invisibility for herself, but also discovers the strong bonds shared by the women working behind the scenes.

Farewell, Mr Haffman

Winner of the Audience Prize at the 2021 Sarlat Film Festival, this is a gripping historical drama set in 1941 Paris during the German occupation, starring the legendary Daniel Auteuil. Jewish jeweller Joseph Haffmann arranges for his family to flee Paris, but when his own escape attempt is thwarted, he must turn to his employee for help. An agreement between the two men becomes a Faustian bargain that will change the fate of all.

Madeleine Collins

This Hitchcockian psychological thriller follows a woman living a double life, whose identity cracks under the weight of her own lies. Sophisticated and elegant with a touch of suspense, Madeleine Collins is a deft tale of a woman at the centre of two colliding worlds, carrying hints of Vertigo and Kramer vs. Kramer.

Men on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Seven men of wildly different ages come together for a course in the wild lead by a feisty female instructor. They have nothing in common, apart from the fact that they are all on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and they’re embarking on a boot camp designed to help them get back on their feet.

Employee of the Month

This smash-hit comedy follows Vincent, a civil servant quite comfortable in and entirely reluctant to leave his cushy office job. But when budget cuts see him on the receiving end of a series of transfers to some of the worst corners of France, Vincent might end up convinced that the bureacratic system isn’t so great after all.

Everything Went Fine

Emmanuèle hurries to her father André’s bedside when he suffers a major stroke. Sick and half-paralysed in his hospital bed, he asks Emmanuèle to help him end his life. An engrossing family drama with outstanding performances that handles a complicated issue with grace and honesty.


Based on astonishing true events, this gripping thriller depicts the remarkable story of Mathieu, a gregarious and dedicated diplomat who finds himself framed for a terrible crime, arrested and imprisoned with no options available to him except… try and escape.

Academy Gold Cinema
Thursday 23 June – Sunday 10 July