A film by Alice Diop. In French with German subtitles
French director Alice Diop has explored intrafamilial fractures in Afro-European families in a series of notable documentaries, most recently NOUS (2021). SAINT OMER, her first work of fiction, is co-written with acclaimed author Marie Ndiaye and continues this project within the framework of a cleverly mirrored courtroom drama – creating one of the most astonishing fiction debuts of the year. The starting point is a fait divers about a young woman from Senegal who abandoned her 15-month-old baby to the tide on a beach in northern France. On the one hand, Diop follows this woman’s trial in an emphatically sober tone, with the accused presenting herself neither as a victim of circumstances nor as a conscienceless perpetrator. This choice of staging already creates a sort of defamiliarization that makes clear attributions and simple answers difficult. However, the film turns out to be even more complex due to the fact that there is an outside perspective to boot: Rama, a young novelist working on the ancient Medea myth, is attending the trial. Rama is pregnant, but that’s not the only reason the woman’s story triggers doubts in her about her own self-image. Diop tells a story of cultural differences – not only between minorities and the majority society, but also within the diaspora. (Dominik Kamalzadeh)
FR 2022, 123 Min., franz. OmU
Regie: Alice Diop
Kamera: Claire Mathon
Schnitt: Amrita David
Mit Kayije Kagame, Guslagie Malanda, Valérie Dréville, Aurélia Petit u. a.