directed by Alice Diop, France 2022, 122'
French Oscar nominee and winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. An excruciating, provocative courtroom drama featuring a young immigrant woman accused of murdering her 15-month-old daughter. The case seems settled: the woman pleads guilty. However, her shocking confession to the jury not only complicates the trial, but also impedes easy sentencing.
Alice Diop’s script is based on a true story, but her film becomes a manifesto against accusation of mothers and women, especially “the foreign ones”, with a different skin colour. Saint Omer imperceptibly confronts us with our own prejudices and makes us feel like jurors, lawyers and judges. But the story goes even deeper: towards the collective wounds in hearts and memory, towards daughters inheriting their mothers’ traumas. Because exclusion and contempt can also be an instrument of crime.