Saint Omer

Saint Omer

A film by Alice Diop. In French with German subtitles

[Credits] [Tickets & Termine] [Trailer]

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.

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