Skip to content

Speak Up

Directed by Stephane de Freitas & Ladj Ly France, Documentary, 2017, 99 mins., in French w/ English subtitles

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018 at 12:00 p.m.
(Program concludes no later than 1:40 p.m.)

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 at 9:00 a.m.
(Program concludes no later than 10:45 a.m.)

Thursday, March 1st, 2018 at 12:00 p.m.
(Program concludes no later than 1:40 p.m.)

Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave.

Themes & Subjects: French Educational System, Youth Competition, Speech & Debate, Sociolinguistics

Synopsis: Every year, hundreds of college students from the Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis face off in Eloquentia, a contest to crown the best orator. Speak Up follows some of the surprisingly diverse contestants as they prepare in intensive workshops in classical rhetoric, acting, slam poetry, and breathing techniques, and then into the tournament itself. Smoothly juxtaposing fly-on-the-wall observation with interviews and solo performance scenes (including the future winner) directors de Freitas and Ly create an inspiring portrait, by turns funny, by turns poignant, of a new generation committed to mastering the French art of rhetoric, and revealing how speech is key to universal understanding, social ascension, and personal revelation.

Resources for teachers:

Hollywood Reporter review.

Dossier Pédagogique (in French).

Official Film Website including downloadable press kit (in French).

Official website for Eloquentia Saint-Denis (in French).

American Rhetoric online speech bank.

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.