In some ways, Seyna is no different from any other seventeen-year-old; a party girl who spends too much time on her hair. But a new layer of her personality is unveiled the minute she receives her exam results. After achieving a top score in her diploma, the Cameroonian teenager is determined to pursue her longstanding dream of becoming a politics major. But, unfortunately, chasing this aspiration proves to be a great deal harder than she envisions.
‘French’, also titled ‘Le bleu blanc rouge de mes cheveux’ is directed by Jozsa Anjembe, a documentary filmmaker and journalist, who famously captivated audiences with ‘Cameroonian Massage’, her first documentary that was broadcast at various film festivals back in 2009. Although ‘French’ marks her fiction debut, the compelling drama doesn’t fail to deliver prominent themes, such as parental pressure and generational conflict, as well as unjust attitudes towards ethnic minorities.
Seyna, played wonderfully by award-winning actress Grace Seri, is a very easy character to connect with. If you are someone who has experienced the challenge of having to make decisions in your best interest, without disappointing family members, then you will find yourself showing her a great deal of empathy. Throughout the film, the young girl’s determination to carve out her ideal future strengthens, and she eventually decides to take the plunge and do what she feels is necessary for her success.
‘French’ looks at teenage rebellion from an alternative angle, for Seyna’s unprecedented actions are glorified rather than discredited. It also explores evolution of character, for her fierce ambition soon replaces her humble compliance.
Whilst the plot may be intense, the little details such as the laissez-faire attitude of Seyna’s best friend, as well as the inquisitive nature of her little brother add some funny, light-hearted elements to it.
So, if you have half an hour to spare on a Friday evening, why not pour yourself a glass of red wine, put your feet up, and enjoy ‘French;’ the celebrated short film about a tough battle for a bright future. The fiery French accents are an added bonus!
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