DIRECTORS: Stéphane de Freitas, Ladj Ly
SCREENPLAY: Stéphane de Freitas
CAST: Leila Alaouf, Eddy Moniot, Elhadj Toure, Souleila Mahiddin, Bertrand Périer, Loubaki Loussalat, Alexandra Henry, Pierre Derycke
DETAILS: 2017. France. 99 min. Color. Documentary.
Every year, hundreds of students from all over the department of Seine-Saint-Denis face off in Eloquentia, a contest to crown the best orator in this wildly diverse, sprawling suburb of Paris. Speak Up follows a group of college students preparing for Eloquentia through an intensive six weeks of workshops in classical rhetoric, acting, slam poetry, and breathing techniques, then into the tournament itself. Smoothly juxtaposing fly-on-the-wall scenes of the group in the classroom and the amphitheater with interviews and solo scenes with a few participants (and the future winner!), directors de Freitas and Ly create an inspiring portrait, by turns riotous, by turns poignant, of a young generation of every creed and color brought together by a shared commitment to the French art of rhetoric. The viewer will not soon forget Elhadj, a formerly homeless young man now running an NGO in West Africa, Leïla, a shy Syrian-French woman who forces herself to become an orator to “redefine feminism,” or Eddy, a fledgling actor from a tiny village who has to walk ten kilometers every day to catch a train to class.
“Uplifting and authentic.” —HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
*This Young French Cinema program was made possible with the support of UniFrance and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the WFU Department of French Studies.
Tuesday, April 17 at 7:00pm
Z. Smith Reynolds Library, 404 Auditorium
1834 Wake Forest Road Winston-Salem, NC 27106