Joachim Lafosse

Our Children

A regular family. One with hopes and dreams and new responsibilities. One with warmth and madness. One with a reasonable peace and an oncoming maelstrom of grief. This is Our Children from director Joachim Lafosse (Private Property). It was a favorite at Cannes, our own Daniel Walber loved it at NYFF, and now it’s getting a limited release in NYC on August 2nd. Fingers crossed that it finds a few other theaters as well. The trailer is dripping with prestige and promise, and there’s an odds on chance that it’s a name we’ll be hearing more of as we slink toward award season. Check it out for yourself:

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“Bury them in Morocco.” Our Children opens with a scene of despair, a mother (Émilie Dequenne) on a hospital bed deliriously asking her nurse if the bodies of her own daughters can be laid to rest on the far side of the Mediterranean Sea. It is a moment of primal fear and desperation. It is not, however, a moment of clarity. There is no context to be had; only the image a woman on a bed and the following shot of Tahar Rahim and Niels Arestrup running down a hallway. It is director Joachim Lafosse’s opening salvo in a quietly violent film that will both assault and deeply move its audience. And then, just as quickly, there is tranquility. The film rewinds back to a simpler time in the lives of its characters, when Mounir (Rahim) and Murielle (Dequenne) had just begun their romance. She is a schoolteacher. He is a restless young Moroccan immigrant who will soon agree to a job in his adoptive father’s medical practice. Dr. André Pinget (Arestrup) not only looks out for his protégé, but lives with him. He has effectively adopted Mounir’s entire family, and is even married to Mounir’s sister so that she can legally live in Belgium. Pinget’s influence over Mounir is powerful, even a little unsettling.

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Private Property (Nue Propri©t©, au francais) is conspicuously contemporary-French; anyone who’s seen some recent French character pieces like The Bridesmaid or The Piano Teacher should find its aesthetic style familiar, from the digital texture and the long takes to the uncomfortable suggestions of incestuous sexuality.

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