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Our Children, or the Importance of Medea


Nos Enfants

By Christopher Sharrett.

Joachim Lafosse’s Our Children (Á perdre la raison, a.k.a. Loving without Reason, a much more sensible title) put me in mind of Catherine Corsini’s Leaving (Partir, 2009), in part because both films represent the continued promise of the international cinema during the US cinema’s ongoing willed bankruptcy at every level. Leaving appeared in the season that brought us Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love, and Marco Bellochio’s Vincere, all films about the oppression and destruction of the female. Our Children appears (at least within my imagination) perhaps as another harbinger of good things to come since it is within another rich cluster, including Bruno Dumont’s masterpiece Hors Satan (actually released in Europe in 2011, and shown here only at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image and Anthology Film Archives) and his Camille Claudel 1915 (which also had very limited release in the US), among the most stunning films about the oppression of woman, and Cristian Mingiu’s Beyond the Hills, another somewhat overlooked masterpiece about women and one of their biggest enemies, the church. The US reader will note that this latter cluster may be unknown or vaguely known (unless you pursue cinema very diligently) relative to the first. These enjoyed less distribution than the 2009 films as the American industry becomes more rigid about what the public sees and American taste is yet more coarsened by the blockbuster trash that is now entrenched as standard fare, defining “cinema” in yet more limited terms.

Our Children has a basic similarity to Leaving; both films deal with the female within the confines of domestic life, her travails of husband, children and home markedly ordinary, the horrors facing woman flowing from basic domestic activities that are consistently oppressive under patriarchal assumptions. Leaving strikes me as the more focused and accomplished film, but Our Children shares a similar intelligence, an understanding of the relationship of male rule to capitalism, racism, and neocolonialism (Lafosse addresses the latter in a DVD interview), and a sensitive reference to classical culture that shows us, in the words of Robin Wood, what we have lost, yet making us realize that there are still those artists who apply the past to the present, to convey both an enlightened sense of human progress and the awful challenges still facing us.

A_perdre_la_raison_Bande_annonce.mp4_snapshot_00.34_[2012.10.22_00.57.41]Mounir (Tahar Rahim) is a young Moroccan man living in French-speaking Belgium. He is the adopted son of Dr. Pinget (Niels Arestrup), who took him out of Morocco at the request of Mounir’s widowed and impoverished mother Rachida (Baya Belal). Pinget also entered into a sham marriage with Mounir’s sister Fatima (Mounia Raoui), permitting her to live near her brother. Pinget’s motivations are unclear. Does he actually have affection for Mounir and his sister? Is it all an act of condescending charity? Does he have a sexual relationship with Fatima? How did all this happen in the first place? The film is best read as pure metaphor. As Lafosse has remarked, the film can be understood as a critique of colonialism – Europe erases another culture as Mounir is westernized, and the west again asserts its prerogatives in the Middle East. I cannot help but think of the notorious French takeover of Algeria, next door to Morocco, turning it into a “department” of France, resulting in a war and several bloodbaths in both nations. As the horrors of Mounier’s household unfold, one cannot help but think of marriages of convenience, in this sort of instance at least, as a form of human abuse, perhaps human trafficking.

The Passive Oedipus

On a more essential level, the film looks both at the Oedipal trajectory and the treatment of the female (as well as the control of the sex act) by the patriarch. Pinget’s interaction with Mounir is aggressive, but burnished with a false graciousness and expression of paternal concern. In an early scene we see Mounir making love with girlfriend Murielle (Émilie Dequenne); afterward, they clean the car fastidiously so Pinget won’t know – the father wants his belongings to stay in order of course, but there is the strong sense, as the film unfolds, that he is the primal father, policing his grown son’s genital activity, and monitoring the behavior of his “horde.” When Mounir tells his father that he wants to marry Murielle, Pinget responds: “Being in love is no reason to marry the first girl who blows you.” The advice might be sensible, were it not couched in such terms, suggesting that the female is the aggressor, that she is the one who does something to the male. Mounir is diminished by Pinget’s castrating remark; his responses are essentially passive-defensive, not rebutting the father effectively, nor does he challenge his basic assertions. Pinget insists on footing all the bills, setting Mounir up in life, stymieing the son with guilt. Mounir does take the step of marrying Murielle. Pinget pays for the honeymoon, at which point Mounir, almost incomprehensibly, invites him to come along. Pinget accepts, always ready with his wallet.

1009390_a_perdre_la_raison_1336728172348When the men come home to find Murielle asleep, the dinner unprepared, Pinget offers to buy pizza. The offer is accompanied by nasty glances at Murielle, and derisive remarks to his adopted son about a disgraceful wife. When Murielle registers her timid complaints, Mounir’s retorts include lines like “It’s his home.” We see then not just the castrated son but the colonized subject (and consciousness) in the position suggested by Frantz Fanon: the subject thinks s/he must feel beholden, and learns to internalize the value system of the colonizer. The dynamic continues: Mounir turning anger toward his wife, Murielle sinking into deep depression that transforms her even physically.

The Atrophied Female

Murielle more or less evaporates before our eyes. She has an identity and a position in life, but the job’s function suggests a stifled element key to her character, and to conceptions of the female under gender assessment in western culture. She teaches young children in grammar school, a job seen as especially suitable to women, viewed as most nurturing to children of course, and the job requires not much in the way of intellectual achievement – the female and her charges are both children. It is an extension of domestic life – the female merely continues the raising of children in another sphere. The point is emphasized by Murielle’s constant pregnancies. Her motherly function is underlined by her job and the steady signifier of her large belly. As strife worsens on the actual domestic front, the affable Murielle becomes aggressive toward the schoolchildren. When a boy seems to be cheating during a test, she expels him from the room. As he leaves in anger, he shouts at her, pitying, he says, the child she is about to have – the remark, or at least its misogynist rage, could come from Mounir or Pinget.

02Murielle is turned into a breed sow, giving birth to four children in close order. The film’s editing emphasizes the breathless aspect of the process, as we see Murielle bearing one child after the other, the last a screaming, terrifying process that results in a Caesarean section. When she finds she is pregnant with the fourth child, Pinget talks to her about the situation. Is he concerned about Murielle or the extra financial burden on him, caused by another of his son’s offspring? (He says at one point “I’m not made of money”). His racist ideas are just below the surface; when Murielle suggests to Mounir that they move to Morocco where the cost of living is cheaper (and where they might escape Pinget’s reach), Mounir broaches the topic with his father. Pinget rebukes him out of hand: “Do you know how they raise girls in Morocco?” The comment assumes, of course, that child-rearing in the west, especially under the roofs of the Pingets, is fine and dandy. The child-rearing concern is less about Islamic law than it is the father retaining authority over the son, the female interloper constantly demeaned both in her own mind and in that of her husband. The Morocco idea pushes Pinget into a rage that exposes his racism: “I’m sick of taking care of you and your tribe!” He quietly reproaches Murielle: “what ideas have you put in his head?” The female is, typically, the demonic temptress, the force of irrationality, who plants evil within the male.

Since abortion is (and perhaps long has been) in Murielle’s mind (it’s perhaps more a case of her own desires being momentarily validated by the patriarch), she brings up the subject to her husband. Mounir’s response is predictable: “You didn’t think I’d let you have an abortion?”

“Sham Marriage”

Mounir’s response to his wife capsulizes his entire behavior toward home and family, characterized by resentment, even hatred. When one of his young daughters brings to him a broken toy, Mounir barks, admonishing her – and the household – for disturbing his peace of mind when he wants to watch football.

Murielle disintegrates. At one point we see her sleeping with one of her babies, her breathing almost convulsive, so difficult is it for her to rest as her burdens increase, including a visit from Mounir’s mother and siblings. One evening, the mother falls on the floor by the bathroom. Murielle jumps up like a shot, feeling by now that all bad things that happen in the house are her doing. Helping the mother is important on several counts. She embraces Murielle as a daughter. When she returns to Morocco, she can hardly leave the airport out of her grief at leaving Murielle. The two women stop to embrace each other twice, showing real affection (the mother doesn’t embrace Mounir once). The mother stops, turns, and looks back at her daughter-in-law, a gaze of longing and sadness on her face. There is the sense, expressed at a different register in Tokyo Story, of a bond shared by women across generations (here across cultures as well), knowing quite well the struggles that are eternal, and the indifference and outright cruelty of men.

A_perdre_la_raison_Bande_annonce.mp4_snapshot_01.28_[2012.10.22_01.00.11]As Murielle slides inexorably into depression, Pinget recommends a colleague, a female psychiatrist named De Clerck, but cautions Murielle to not mention their living arrangements (Murielle’s living with her family doctor, who dictates all, including topics at the foundation of Murielle’s mental illness). De Clerck is pleasant and apparently open, but Murielle mentions Pinget’s marriage to Mounir’s sister (De Clerck responds “sham marriages can be a sources of stress” – of course the obvious response is to question what constitutes the “legitimate,” since Murielle’s life has driven her to the precipice). Murielle then accidentally mentions her precise relationship with Pinget, which raises issues to De Clerck about her own professional situation. Although she is somewhat astonished by the Pinget-created living arrangements, the real issue seems simple fear of a powerful patriarch whose authority in his field is vast (I’m reminded of the Dr. Hill sequence in Rosemary’s Baby, where the affable and trusted young doctor returns Rosemary to the devil-worshippers, not because he’s part of a conspiracy, but because he is afraid of the wrath of the revered Dr. Sapirstein, a heavyweight in medicine). Naturally, when Pinget learns of the slip, he again gouges Murielle.

Medea

Lafosse has mentioned the application of the Medea narrative to his film. In Euripides, the most psychological of the Athenian tragedians, Jason is a bastard, his mythic status somewhat lessened. Euripides tries to reduce Jason, and indeed because he does so the play has its applicability to all epochs. Here, the Medea story flows from the male’s unbridled arrogance (but Medea’s barbarism is very much in the foreground, cautioning us about reading the play as a feminist text of antiquity). Murielle, like Medea, is an outsider (at several levels). She acts not out of rage over adultery, but rather the basic horror of marriage as imposed upon her by the male. Our Children, unlike Medea, is unburdened by theatrical flourish and period bias, helping it to focus more precisely on the elementary, impossible snares of gender. It is notable, however, that as Medea is applied in art over the ages, it necessarily becomes more radical because more precise and reduced, a tool used to investigate the foundations of the heterosexual relationship itself.

As Murielle crumbles, her physical presentation elicits no sympathetic, supportive comment. Mounir tells her: “You realize what the children think, seeing you like this?!” Most of his comments are on the order of “You’re pissing me off.” When a child falls down a staircase as Murielle naps (the male of course having no responsibilities), she is blamed for sloth and neglect – one gets the sense that this is an unconscious act, a prelude to what will happen later on as her situation is exacerbated.

Murielle shops in an awful big-box store, the current site of the female’s looking out for the home, her “shopping.” It is notable that she stops for a moment at a DVD rack and chooses a film. She tries to sustain her inner life through culture (assuming she didn’t select a piece of dreck). She then walks into the kitchen appliance section where she shoplifts a butcher knife – the instrument used for her ultimate act of repudiation comes from the realm over which she is supposed to preside.

A_perdre_la_raison_Bande_annonce.mp4_snapshot_01.31_[2012.10.22_00.59.19]There is a key scene as she drives home. We see her in her car, the radio on, the song “Femmes Je Vous Aime,” by pop balladeer Julien Clerc amplified on the soundtrack. We hear the lyrics: “When every single wound seems to last forever… I know only fragile ones [women], and difficult ones, not simple ones…” This supposedly heart-felt torch song needs to be read “against the grain” (a phrase I tend to despise, assuming as it does that people before postmodernity never saw the ambiguity of art, and it can provoke readings that ignore all evidence). The song assumes that women are constantly wounded (true enough) but that they have one quality, one set of characteristics that are a projection of male notions of the female. The song is a slice of latter-day Romanticism that is about male angoisse, not women’s struggle for survival. In a superb moment, Murielle breaks down, perhaps recognizing the irony of the song, perhaps knowing that true affection (excluding the departed mother) is nowhere in sight, and that escape is impossible. Pinget has too firmly established his economic centrality as the film informs us that capitalism undergirds male supremacy – the particular gender of the administrator of capital is of course not very relevant, since it will always be a patriarchal institution.

The killing of the children takes place off camera. She calls each child upstairs, in a pleasant voice, as the kids sit nestled in front of cartoons on the family television (always a distraction, always an escape and an excuse not to converse). The final shot is of the large, somewhat rustic domicile, paid for by Dr. Pinget, as Murielle announces, tearfully, her crimes to the police over the phone. The image of the house, like similar shots in Leaving, establishes the home as prison.

Like Haneke’s early masterpiece The Seventh Continent, Our Children is “based on true events.” Fortunately, neither film makes much of this. Both filmmakers simply noted the incidents behind their narratives in conversation, but then assumed them to be typical of our present world, not aberrations with which to titillate the spectator, who is then invited to enjoy them as such, thus preventing an identification with the crisis implicit in the normal.

DinnerA word about the film’s formal properties. The color palette is cool, tending toward blues and grays, emphasizing Murielle’s icy emotional alienation, her despair. The several shots of the household at night have an eerie aspect. We see Pinget holding one of his grandchildren gently, his body encompassed almost entirely in darkness, an amber glow framing the left side of his body. This is a horrific variation on chiaroscuro, the sinister element of this aspect of the plastic arts. The camera rarely “opens up” space to place scenes in context. In fact, the very first image is of Murielle in hospital, shot in medium close-up. She asks someone barely discernible on the edge of the frame to “take them to Morocco” (she refers to the dead children, the tragedy having already happened). The cinematography constantly emphasizes claustrophobia and entrapment.

As the end credits roll, we hear the “fac me vere tecum flere” verse from Haydn’s magisterial chorale piece Stabat Mater, the adaptation of the religious text about the sorrows of Mary at the cross of Jesus. The piece, conducted here by Trevor Pinnock, is especially dolorous; the line “Make me truly weep with you” speaking to us, I think, not about seeing Murielle as having something in common with the Virgin Mary (whose image, imposed upon women, may be part of the foundation of their oppression), but about the grief of all women, and therefore a reason for common grieving.

I want to thank Gwendolyn Audrey Foster for bringing this film to my attention.

Christopher Sharrett is Professor of Communication and Film Studies at Seton Hall University. He writes often for Film International. He is currently revisiting Carmina Burana, the most significant example of kitsch in the music canon, as he prepares to write about Salò, or the 101 Days of Sodom.

3 Comments for Our Children, or the Importance of Medea”

  1. Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    Chris-

    This is such a brilliantly written, thoughtful and detailed close reading of a truly exceptional film. Loving Without Reason (Our Children) is a harrowing and complex masterwork of the cinema.

    There is very little to add to your fine in-depth essay, but a few things are subtly implied that may add just a bit to your astute analysis. I’d go further into the colonialist human trafficking angle, as it is not only implied that Dr Pinget has made a lifetime habit of “buying” children, particularly boys, in Morocco, but it is also heavily implied that he used them for sexual pleasure.

    Dr. Pinget’s relationship with Mounir is not that of a father and son, except in appearances and, I suppose, by law. It is a sick and depraved Fanonian master/ servant (sexualized) colonial relationship that still (perhaps surprisingly, to some) exists in our supposed post-colonial world.

    Indeed, so twisted is this bond that I’d argue that one of the biggest tragedies in this text is the destruction of the Moroccan boy, Mounir. Mounir, a bought person, a slave, eventually becomes a hybrid replica of Dr. Pinget, and, for me, this is probably most well demonstrated when Mounir rapes his wife, Murielle.

    This rape scene is subtle and almost banal; played unlike any other rape scene I have ever seen in film. Lafosse depicts the rape as routine, casual and it therefore feels very much like a real rape. I had to stop the DVD and cry a moment after I witnessed this scene. astonishingly, there is no smashing music or melodrama here in this treatment of rape between man and wofe. In bed, Mounir asks Murielle for sex, she clearly says no, and yet he goes ahead and takes his sexual pleasure. The realism of the scene is unmatched in my book, because it displays that evil really is banal and everyday; common and unstoppable.

    The camera shows Murielle’s face briefly, if my memory serves me, during or after the rape, and her face registers that she emotionally dies here right before our eyes. Murielle dies in increments throughout the film as you note, thanks to an incredible and underplayed performance from the talented Émilie Dequenne and Lafosse’s direction. As you point out, the woman we meet towards the beginning of the film who is happily having sex with Mounir almost looks like a different person later on in the film, and, come to think of it, so does Mounir look almost like a different actor in those early gorgeous scenes of sexual bliss as he himself turns into a tragic victim AND monster.

    Mounir, as you well illustrate, is increasingly cruel and terroristic towards his wife. Before our eyes, Mounir slowly becomes a hybrid version of his captor (his ‘father”) as he becomes even more abusive towards Murielle.

    But Murielle has not married a man, she has actually married a male “father/son couple in a sense, (in the words of Lafosse) and she is an intruder in the life of the two men who use her as a thoroughbred animal to make babies.

    For me, one of Lafosses’s significant accomplishments here is the accurate demonstration of how colonialism and patriarchy not only destroy the female, but equally destroys the colonized male, which you point out. I hesitate to call Mounir a “son,” but i guess it is necessary for the purposes of speaking of colonialism as a “dysfunctional family,” I find this so difficult because he is playing the role of son, but he has been bought. A slave cannot be called a son. This is truly sick and evil, but it works here as a metonymic metaphor; challenging both the relationships of colonial mastery/slavery, and the often rather twisted, dependent, deparved and dysfunctional relationships of the average nuclear family under patriarchy.

    It is very important to note that the male figure is often destroyed under colonial patriarchy because the father/son – colonizer/colonized relationship depends on financial dependency and a false illusion of love.

    Dr. Pinget repeatedly threatens to withdraw his financial support from Mounir in exactly the same way colonizing administrations casually threaten the colonized with financial withdrawal and abandonment. indeed there are other “brothers” barely alluded to here — victims of human trafficking—whom Pinget brought to France and he cut off financially when they disobeyed him or simply ran away.

    Pinget’s sustained quiet manipulation is very much in keeping with the colonial practices of the ruling powers involved in colonialism and slavery.

    There is no love here between “father” and “son.” There is only financial dependence, the false illusion of family, and continued master manipulation. It is tragic to be reminded that had he not been the victim of human trafficking, Mounir may have developed into a decent guy, a good person, and a loving husband, but his fate was sealed when he was traded for a few francs as a young boy.

    Mounir is essentially “married” to his “father” and he cannot ever have his freedom unless he has the ability to walk away from financial dependence, just as the colonies had to overthrow their masters and pay a dear financial price and live with a continued legacy that continues to this day, in many ways, even in our supposedly “post-colonial” times. (For example, The French and the Dutch routinely visit former colonies to enjoy sex trafficking with boys and girls; such is the economic and cultural post colonial reality.)

    Former colonies are often still tethered economically and socially to their colonial masters. I think perhaps this is what Murielle is beginning to see in a microcosm in her private sphere of the home as colonial and patriarchal prison.

    Pinget’s colonial mastery knows no bounds. For me, Pinget may just as well be named “Colonial France,” as his sadistic and manipulative (often passive aggressive) behavior is reminiscent of France’s relationship with former colonies such as Morocco and Algeria, as you point out here. Of course this mastery and colonial depravity is certainly not limited to France as it exists all over the world.

    I find the fact that the film is based on a true story as deeply significant because Lafosse directly answers the question most people had when they read about this famous act of matricide, “How could this woman have done such a thing?” Lafosse says that he made the film as a response the loud and unfair very popular public demonization of a woman whom, in real life, murdered her children and attempted to commit suicide.

    But as you mention, and as Lafosse says himself, he has no interest in titillation of the audience, and, as you also mention, the film is best read as a metaphor for colonial relations and horrors that goe well beyond the parameters of the true story. Still, I give Lafosse much credit for answering the basic question, how could a mother do such a thing? She sees no alternative, and her behavior makes a lot of sense, in a way, if you add up in all the elements.

    There are some nagging aspects that are alluded to very subtly in the film that I am left to wonder about…much in the same way we never really understand a true story in full. i wonder what you make of them?

    In Our Children, Dr. Pinget is rather free with his prescription pad; and thanks to him, Murielle is increasingly drugged up — on top of living in an increasingly cramped and hostile environment that is overseen by the smiling (supposedly benevolent) Dr. Pinget.

    This routine and cavalier drugging of Murielle with who knows what; antidepressants? tranquilizers? anti-anxiety meds?– again brings me back to the issue of human trafficking as drugs are usually used to manipulate the victims of human trafficking.

    I guess what I am hinting at is that perhaps Lafosse reopens our definition of “human trafficking” to include areas that have not been highlighted as such…as in the domestic sphere and the patriarchal institution of marriage? Murielle may not have been used to “turn tricks,’ but even she she gradually realizes that she has been used as a vessel for breeding.

    And there is something in the gaze of Niels Arestrup when he looks at the children that is borderline pedophilic and undeniably creepy, If not pedophilic, it is certainly a gaze of ownership, as if he is looking at his own prize animals. (Pinget is deeply jealous of Murielle’s ability to create. He can only destroy.)

    I may be wrong and reaching here, but I wonder, do you the feeling that Murielle is protecting her children from this menacing figure for more reasons that may meet the eye? Or is it that she does not want to see them destroyed in the way she has watched Mounir become colonized and himself destroyed?

    Regardless of her many quite reasonable motivations, Murielle succeeds in a bizarre and horrifically tragic manner, by returning the children’s bodies to Morocco by plane. I think the choice to open the film with this act is quite brilliant on the part of Lafosse. In fact, the film makes me gasp. Few films have such power or complexity.

    Thanks for such a powerful and rather dense close textual analysis, Chris. I certainly hope that your work here brings attention to the fine films of Lafosse.

    And I hope Lafosse continues to bring his visions to the screen. It makes me very hopeful about cinema to stumble upon such treasure.

  2. Christopher Sharrett

    You invite much more exploration of this film, Gwendolyn. The issue of pedophilia alone needs emphasis, as you so thoughtfully point out. And the neocolonialist aspect also needs developing, but in tandem, in my view, with all the other themes, which Lafosse integrates into such an organic whole. I do hope others pick up what you have written here. I simply hope that people will SEE this film.

  3. Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    Yes, though some viewers may find watching Our Children a downbeat or depressing experience, I find it very emotionally satisfying to witness the subtle (yet relentlessly HONEST) approach Lafosse takes to the HORROR of family life and the parallels he draws between family and colonialism.

    Lafosse has made four films that render the family as a site of entrapment and horror. He compares himself with Chabrol, who is one of my favorite filmmakers and he also is fond of the Dardenne brothers and Haneke, but he has a style that is all his own. Lafosse is interested in the perverse nature of family as well as colonialism; specifically the ugly aspects of these patriarchal institutions that we tend to shove under the rug or even actively work to deny, such as human trafficking of boys, familial abuse, and the enslavement and destruction of women.

    For me, Our Children it is the perfect antidote to the falsehoods perpetuated by all the myriad holiday movies playing at this time of the year that insist that the safest/happiest place to be is with your family. While this may be true for a select few, I think that for most of us this is a dangerous falsehood that props up fallacious and destructive patriarchal myths.

    Families can be truly harrowing and incredibly destructive forces. I know that from horrifying traumatic personal experience, as does Lafosse himself. His close up camera and lighting work accurately render the claustrophobic and perverse emotional/physical entrapment of family life and remind me a little of Lucrecia Martel’s brilliant and similarly harrowing family horror film, La Cienaga. Lafosse says,”Claude Chabrol also works with that: the perversion of the bourgeoisie, the danger that comes with power and money. I like to make films about that.” He admits to a certain obsession with dysfunctional families.

    Interestingly, Lafosse says that he wished to make the sexual relationship between the two male leads rather subtle, but he also says that while writing the script for Our Children he was reminded of the sexual chemistry between Niels Arestrup and Tahar Rahim in A Prophet (2009), which, I suspect, had an influence on his casting them in this film together.

    It is captivating to watch these two fine actors working together again in Our Children under the guidance of Lafosse, whose motto is “less is more.” Much of the tension between them is conveyed without words or music, just glances and gestures. They even mirror one another with physical reactions as they slowly become one horrific monstrous being with two bodies – a creature that uses both cruelty and false kindness to destroy the female who is unlucky enough to marry them BOTH, as Lafosse points out.

    Obviously, I think it this film is an overlooked masterpiece. I am so glad you took the time to write on it here in a careful close reading and textual analysis. You are right, there is much more going on in this film that wrapped up into an organic whole.

    I wish everyone watching those wretched and destructive holiday films such as It’s a Wonderful Life would have the opportunity to see Our Children. I found it on Pay Per View after a long search. I hope it finds a larger audience and broader distribution…..

    You might be interested to hear that Lafosse is working on a script about a group of well-meaning colonialists who try to save an African orphan. He says, “They do a lot of stupid things; they begin with good intentions and end in tragedy.” I am already looking forward to seeing whatever Lafosse is up in his next films.

    Thanks again for an illuminating article here, Chris!

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