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Directed by Stephane De Freitas

France 2017 99 mins. In French

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. In French with English subtitles.

First feature

Reviews: Hollywood Reporter

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