Directed by Ladj Ly and Stéphane de Freitas (France, 2016, 99 min.). Digital. French with English subtitles.

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 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 takes us into the tournament itself. Directors Stéphane de Freitas and Ladj Ly create an inspiring portrait, by turns riotous and poignant, of a young generation of all creeds and cultures brought together by a shared commitment to the French art of rhetoric. Viewers will not soon forget Elhadj, formerly homeless; Leïla, a shy Syrian-French Muslim feminist; or Eddy, a fledgling actor who has to walk six miles every day to commute to class.

Co-presented with the Boston Women’s Film Festival.

Watch the trailer


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Sponsors

The Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Film Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is funded by the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation.

The Boston French Film Festival is coordinated by Carter Long, Katharine Stone White Curator of Film and Video, Katherine Irving, Alexis Weinrich, and Charles Cohen.

Co-presented with the Cultural Services Office of the French Consulate in Boston.

Additional support provided by the French Cultural Center.