Q&A: Promise at Dawn

On Monday 18th of March at Palace Brighton Bay, 7:00pm

Promise at Dawn

La Promesse de l'Aube

Buy your tickets here!

Film screening, followed by a Q&A with Dr Bertrand Bourgeois from the University of Melbourne

“A captivating screen adaptation or a failed cinematographic promise?”

This movie is a screen adaptation of the eponymous autobiographical novel by Romain Gary, the only writer who twice won the “Prix Goncourt”. The adventurous life of Gary/Ajar constantly blurs the limits between fiction and reality, which would make for great cinema, however critics of the movie are divided: some praise it as a beautiful adaptation of the novel, while others deem it as unable to capture the book’s emotional and stylistic power. In this Q&A we will examine whether the movie conveys the epic intensity of the novel’s narrative.

Dr Bertrand Bourgeois lectures in French Studies at The University of Melbourne, specialising in 19th Century French Literature and the Visual Arts.

2017 / Drama
Running time: 2h11
Director: Eric Barbier
Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Pierre Niney, Didier Bourbon, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Catherine McCormack

Many people remember author and diplomat Romain Gary for his marriage to ingénue Jean Seberg (star of Godard’s 1960 classic, Breathless) – but Seberg was not his first obsession. In Gary’s own ‘fictionalised’ telling of his early life, he attributes his endearing yet eccentric mother for making him a success whilst simultaneously burdening him with her boundless maternal love.


Originally adapted by Jules Dassin in 1971, this second screen version of Promise at Dawn stars Pierre Niney (It Boy, AF FFF2014) as Gary and Charlotte Gainsbourg (Ismael’s Ghosts, AF FFF2018) as his mother, Nina. We’re thrown into a tumultuous trajectory that twists and turns across a difficult childhood in Poland, a sun-drenched adolescence in Nice and through to piloting adventures in Africa.

At every touchstone in Gary’s life, Nina leaves her ineffaceable mark. With boundless dreams and huge aspirations, she is the momentum that propels Gary forward, eventually culminating in the novel of Promise at Dawn that he feverishly writes as his life comes to a close during the Dia de los Muertos celebrations in Mexico.

You may also like...

Alliance Française French Film Festival

Alliance Française French Film Festival

Celebrating 30 years of French cinema in Australia
06 March to 10 April 2019

Vin & Fromage

Vin & Fromage

Each term on Tuesday, from 6.30pm to 8.00pm
(except School & Public Holidays)

Thanks for sharing! / Merci pour le partage!


St Kilda branch:
51 Grey Street, ST KILDA
Tel : 03 9525 3463
E-mail: info@afmelbourne.com.au

Monday - Friday: 9.00am to 7.00pm /☎ from 10am to 6pm
Saturday: 9.00am to 6.00pm/☎ from 10am to 5pm
Sunday & Public Holidays: CLOSED .

City branch:
Level 13, 55 Swanston St, Melbourne
VIC, Australia, 3000
Tel : 03 9525 3463
E-mail: info@afmelbourne.com.au

Monday-Thursday: 9.00am-1.00pm & 2.00pm-6.30pm
Friday: 9.00am-1.00pm & 2pm-6.00pm
Saturday: 9.00am-12.00pm & 1.00pm-6.00pm
Sunday & Public Holidays: CLOSED