22.04. ‐ 27.04.2025
Langue Etrangere

Foreign Language (Langue Étrangère)

Claire Burger

La langue [ˈlɑ̃ɡ] f – the tongue, the language; the meaning of this pair is the foundation of a European love story:

The German-French friendship manifests itself in the teenagers Lena and Fanny. After a long time of being pen pals, Fanny visits her exchange partner in Leipzig but instead of being welcomed, she finds herself being unwelcome. Lena tells her that the correspondence was only meant to please her mother, which shocks Fanny. With the intention to win her affection, she thinks up a long-lost sister who is a left-wing activist like Lena. As a result, the two of them grow closer and after a fateful French kiss, they seem to be inseparably connected. Exchange of saliva and language overlaps and creates something new. But when Lena visits her friend in Strasbourg, Fanny’s lie is revealed and endangers the imaginary shared future…

More information Lichter FilmfestLichter Filmfest

Direction Claire Burger
Country France, Germany, Belgium
Year 2024
Duration 101 min
Language French & German with subtitles
Production Marie-Ange Luciani
Cast Lilith Grasmug, Josefa Heinsuis, Nina Hoss, Chiara Mastroianni, Jalal Altawil
Camera Julien Poupard
Script Claire Burger, Léa Mysius
Editing Frédéric Baillehaiche, Claire Burger
Sound Julien Tan Ham Sicard, Olivier Goinard

Berlinale 2024

Presented by:

About the director

Claire Burger was born in Forbach in 1978. At first, she worked as a photojournalist, before she was accepted at the renowned film academy La Fémis in Paris. There, she completed an education in film editing. Her first film projects like the short film Forbach (2008) or the feature film Party Girl (2014) were realised in cooperation with her friend and director Marie Amachoukeli. Together with their co-director Samuel Theis, they won the debut prize Caméra d’or for Party Girl at the film festival in Cannes. With her feature film C’est ça l'amour, she directed a film on her own for the first time in 2018, as well as her newest feature film Langue Étrangère which celebrated its world premiere at the Berlinale in 2024.

Press reviews

„Burger’s two prior features, Party Girl (co-directed with Marie Amachoukeli and Samuel Theis) and Real Love, were both set in her hometown of Forbach — a border village where people switch easily between French and German, whether it’s the language or the customs. In Langue Étrangère, her most accomplished work to date, the director movingly reveals how such shifting identities put two girls on a path to find each other and, ultimately, themselves.“ (Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter)

“The sequences in which this affection develops are wonderful – not least because of the chemistry between the talented young actresses Lilith Grasmug and Josefa Heinsius. It is almost magical when the two of them fool around in the garden at night and exchange their first kisses. “Is this a dream?” Lena asks at one point when they share an intimate moment together. The camera of Julien Poupard captures captivating images that show the excitement of falling in love.” (Andreas Köhnemann, Kino-Zeit)

The director about the film

“I wanted to make Europe a topic, and ultimately even more: to embody Europe. […] This idea of a student exchange between France and Germany is on the one hand a metaphor for the relation between the two countries, but on the other hand it is the simple attempt to represent my Europe. For there is always the possibility to achieve something together, despite linguistic and cultural differences. I believe in project Europe. Sometimes I have the feeling that it is seen too negatively. I hope the film shows that Europe is more than just an idea.” Claire Burger in an interview with arte



International Feature Film Program