Farewell, Mr. Haffmann: Alliance Française French Film Festival 2022

It’s so wonderful that we can finally attend a film festival – and this year’s Alliance Francaise French Film Festival, which runs from 1 March to 26 April around Australia, is a fabulous place to start. 

This is the first review of a few films at the festival. I started off with ‘Farewell, Mr. Haffmann’ set in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1941.

Directed by Fred Cavayé, and starring the talented Daniel Auteuil (from great films such as ‘A Heart in Winter’ & ‘La Belle Époque’) and Sara Giraudeau from ‘The Bureau’.

Farewell, Mr. Haffmann

Auteuil plays the Jewish jeweller Mr Haffmann, who after organising his family to leave for the south of France, sells the shop rather than having it looted. His conscientious employee François (Gilles Lellouche) buys it,  with the caveat that when the war is over, the shop is returned and Haffmann helps the employee open up his own shop.

The first twist…

But Haffmann doesn’t make it out of the city, so is forced to hide in the basement of his former jewellery shop with Francois and his wife (Giraudeau) living in his former apartment.

The Nazis become interested in buying pieces from the shop, and so a relationship of sorts is formed between François and an officer. 

Such a relevant question

It’s a question often asked: ‘how would we behave in war?’ — and this film takes on twists and turns to explore the psychology of the dark side of humanity. How one man can rationalise, distort and try to force reality to bend to his idea of the future and damn the consequences. It’s a slow descent to immorality and to say anything more would need a spoiler alert.

But the film also shows the good side of people as well, which restores faith in humanity!

Farewell Mr. Haffmann isn’t a typical war film with fighting and dimly lit interrogations, but it is a fascinating thoughtful film that slowly creeps up on you and stays with you long after you leave the cinema.

Have you started attending the festival affff 2022 yet?- It’s time to get going! Comments below, please.

Don’t miss Cynthia’s review of
– Farewell Mr. Hoffmann –
– Goliath –
– Paul WR’s Last Journey –
– Velvet Queen –
– Men On The Verge of A Nervous Breakdown –
– OSS 117 From Africa With Love – 


About the Contributor

Cynthia Karena

I am a freelance journalist, TV researcher and media trainer based in Melbourne. I write about tech, film, sustainability and travel among other things - and of course, all things French for MyFrenchLife.org. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram

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