Catch up on the crème de la crème of French-language cinema at the Francofilm Festival

The screenings will take place simultaneously at Vox cinemas in both cities, at Yas Mall in the capital and Mall of the Emirates in Dubai.

Rémi Chayé’s Tout En Haut Du Monde (Long Way North). Courtesy Diaphana
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The Francofilm Festival returns this weekend to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, celebrating not only French cinema, but films from the wider francophone world. This year’s event, the seventh edition, features movies from France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Senegal and Switzerland.

The screenings will take place simultaneously at Vox cinemas in both cities, at Yas Mall in the capital and Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. This year, the festival runs from Thursday to Saturday, rather than spanning a full week, as was the case with previous events – ­organisers explain that they have decided to give audiences the chance to watch several films each day, rather than the previous one-per-day approach.

The festival opens at 9pm on Thursday with the regional ­premiere of Emmanuel Courcol's drama Cessez-Le-Feu (Ceasefire). It tells the story of a First World War veteran's efforts to recover from the trauma of trench ­warfare by travelling in Africa with an ­artist, while also trying to mend ­damaged relationships with ­family and friends.

Animation is the theme on ­Friday, with Rémi Chayé's Annecy Award-winning adventure Tout En Haut Du Monde (Long Way North) starting the day at 2pm. The film is a proto-feminist tale of ­adventure, in which Sacha defies her parents and sets out to track down her ­explorer grandfather, who has failed to return from an expedition to the North Pole.

Claude Barras's Oscar-­nominated Ma Vie De Courgette (My Life as a Zuchinni) follows at 6pm. This stop-motion Swiss comedy drama was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards, losing out to Disney's Zootopia, and was also the Swiss entry for the Best ­Foreign Language Film Oscar, but failed to make the final shortlist. It won two Cesar Awards, the French equivalent of the Oscars, and also earned a Golden Globe nomination.

Saturday's closing-day triple bill returns to live-action features. First up, at 2pm, is Moussa Sène Absa's 2002 Senegalese social drama L'Extraordinaire destin De Madame Brouette (Madame ­Brouette).

Savina Dellicour's Belgian ­coming-of-age drama Tous Les Chats Sont Gris (All Cats are Grey) follows at 4pm, before Pol Cruchten and Frank Hoffmann's Luxembourgeois film noir, Les Brigands (The Robbers), brings this year's festival to a close at 7pm.

Francofilm is a joint production of the Institut Français des Emirats Arabes Unis, Alliance Française Dubai and Abu Dhabi and the Dubai International Film Festival.

• Tickets for each screening cost Dh25. Pre-booking is possible, but not essential, at www.voxcinemas.com

cnewbould@thenational.ae