French movie week began on February 13 and about 150 people turned up to see Palais Royal.

The films were shown at the Grand Mariah Cinema in Abu Dhabi and the Grand Cineplex next to Wafi City in Dubai.

The event was organised by the Alliance Francaise in collaboration with TV5 and the French film centre in Amman.
"We organise such an event to help and encourage people to learn French. The English language has taken over. We want to spread the French language and there are plans to introduce French in schools. Already some of the major private schools in the UAE teach French," says Mona Benchaabane,

secretary general of the Alliance Francaise.

Unfortunately, she said, not many people watch French movies because they find the French language too difficult.

Previously the movies were not subtitled but for the first time both Arabic and English subtitles have been added to the movies shown during French Film Week.

Pascal Gueyle, director of cultural activities and deputy director of the Alliance Francaise, says, "It is an unfortunate thing with the French. They think that all people should speak and understand French, which is why they refuse to subtitle their movies."

He says that the French-speaking community in the UAE is very small and that the "unfortunate thing with the French" is the reason why not many people turn up to watch a French movie.

"The French cinema is not as lucrative as the American cinema. French movies are more intellectual and dramatic so it's difficult for everyone to understand. People like action movies so they would rather watch an American movie," he says.

"But we were very pleased with the number of people who turned up for French movie week."