On Friday 8 March, all Years 10, 11 and 12 French students made their way to Palace Cinemas Como in the city to watch a film called Divertimento, one of the many movies shown across various cinemas for the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival. 


The early train ride to South Yarra was a very painful, yet much-needed wake-up moment for the Year 12s - who had their formal the night before - but the day was so much fun regardless, and the entire senior French cohort learned a lot from the movie.


Based on a true story, Divertimento follows the life of Zahia Ziouani - a renowned French conductor - and the story of how she created the namesake orchestra despite numerous challenges, with the support of her sister Fettouma and the rest of her family, during the mid-90s in France. The movie addressed many of the challenges women, especially women of colour, must face when trying to emerge as an orchestral conductor in a very male-dominated music industry. It was a very inspiring story, and we were all surprised when it was announced that Zahia and Fettouma had flown all the way from Paris to give a Q&A for our cinema screening! 


Many students had the opportunity to ask both Zahia and Fettouma questions (in French, of course), ranging from how hard it was trying to be the head of an orchestra as a woman and what kind of music Zahia likes, to what kind of instruments are used in the Divertimento orchestra. We all learned a lot more from the Q&A, and everyone in the room was so grateful to Zahia and Fettouma for coming to chat with us.

After all the excitement abuzz from the recently passed Q&A, all students had a chance to quickly grab a bite before heading back to school, hoping for the day to continue for a little bit longer.


A big thank you goes out to all the French teachers involved in organising this fantastic day for all of us senior French students; c'était une journée inoubliable!

Bhanuka Dissanayake Year 12


On Friday 8 March, all of the senior French students at McKinnon attended the 2024 French Film Festival. Not only were we excited but we were also eager to watch the movie that many of our teachers had been anticipating for weeks. We were given the opportunity to watch Divertimento, a story about two teenage sisters, overcoming societal barriers to reach their goals. 


This inspiring story was actually based on a true story, centred about Zahia Ziouani, a renowned conductor and her sister, cellist Fettouma Ziouani. The movie was fabulous but also a great way to improve our French skills. We were also lucky enough to be given the opportunity to ask a variety of questions in-person from both Zahia and Fettouma Ziouani about their inspiring journeys. Truly, this was an amazing opportunity for us, and I would love to thank all the teachers who organised and provided us with this excursion!! 

Maleesha Dharmadasa Year 10


On Friday 1 March, I had the pleasure of visiting Artisanal Bakehouse, a French bakery in Bentleigh, with my Year 12 French class. The aroma of the freshly baked pastries and breads and the tantalising croissants and buns in the display cases were a wonderful way to start an otherwise dreary Thursday. 

We also had an opportunity to speak to the baker, David, and ask him questions about his life in Melbourne (in French, of course!). We found out that this bakery was only a third of his culinary repertoire, as he owns two restaurants back home in France. Both him and his colleagues were warm and welcoming, and made it very easy for us to put our French knowledge to the test. We returned to school with stomachs filled with croissants and minds with better appreciation of French cuisine and culture. 



Maya Arvind Year 12