Archive of films Atelier de conversation / Atelier de conversation

Austria / France / Liechtenstein
2017, 72 min

Section: Documentary Films - Competition
Year: 2017

One room, twelve red chairs, and a common language. Foreigners from all corners of the world meet each week for free lessons to hone their French. This formally minimalist documentary captures the fleeting moments in which grammatical fumblings and the painstaking search for the right word inadvertently open a window into the human soul.


A dozen red chairs, an equal number of mutually disparate life stories. Just a room and a common language, however, become a means toward understanding… Foreigners from all corners of the world meet each week at the Centre Pompidou in Paris for free lessons to hone their French. War refugees, businessmen, doctors, lawyers, and students sit side-by-side, immersing themselves in both lighthearted and weighty conversations, in which cultural differences sometimes result in peaceful confrontations. The dangers of multicultural life, at times easily overcome with the help of a shared language, manifest themselves in drastic altercations, as well as in cheerfully awkward monologues, fleeting gestures, and subtle facial expressions. Minimalist in form – but all the more so due to the filmmaker’s choices – this thoroughgoing documentary captures those elusive moments in which grammatical fumblings and the painstaking search for the right word inadvertently reveal a window into the human soul.

Martin Horyna

About the director

Bernhard Braunstein

Bernhard Braunstein (b.1979, Salzburg, Austria), documentarist, editor, and camera operator, graduated in communication sciences from the University of Salzburg and now resides in both Austria and France. Since 2003, when he and Martin Hasenöhrl shot the student documentary Kopfbahnhof, he has co-directed several short and mid-length movies: Reisen im eigenen Zimmer (2006), Pharao Bipolar (2008), Sleeping Image (2013), and The Benevolent Dictator (2016). After moving to Paris in 2009, he soon realized that without conquering the language he could never truly integrate into French society. For this reason he began visiting the library at the Centre Pompidou where they taught French at one of the work stations. Later he joined a free French conversation course – Atelier gratuit de conversation – and it became the inspiration for his feature-length documentary debut.


Neubaugasse 45/13, 1070, Vienna
Tel: +43 152 609 900
E-mail: [email protected]

Press kit

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About the film

Color, DCP
International premiere

Section: Documentary Films - Competition
Director: Bernhard Braunstein
Screenplay: Bernhard Braunstein
Dir. of Photography: Adrien Lecouturier
Music: Lucile Chaufour
Editor: Roland Stöttinger
Producer: Bernhard Braunstein, Dominik Tschütscher
Production: schaller08
Coproduction: Supersonicglide
Sales: sixpackfilm


Bernhard Braunstein


Dominik Tschütscher

Film Institution Rep., Producer

Roland Stöttinger

Film Editor

Brigitta Burger-Utzer

Distributor, Sales Agent


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