The other movie in competition: Saint Omer


France, 2022, Director Alice Diop With Kayije Kagame, Guslagie Malanga, Fatih Sahin, Berkay Akinci, Salih Sigirci Running Time: 122’

Saint Omer is the only debut feature in Competition at Venice 79. Director Alice Diop, an established Senegalese-born French documentary filmmaker who won at the 2021 Berlin Film Festival with Nous in the Encounters section, turns to a procedural film for her debut in fiction cinema. Greek tragedy melts with the more contemporary themes of the condition of women, motherhood and immigration. Saint Omer is the story of Rama, a writer who decides to attend the trial of Laurence Coly to use his story as a cue for a modern adaptation of the ancient myth of Medea. Coly is a young woman accused of killing her young daughter, only a few months old, after abandoning her on the shore of a beach in northern France. In the course of the trial, which takes place in the small town of Saint Omer located in the Pass de Calais department, Rama, who is four months pregnant, finds herself questioning every certainty about her motherhood. “It is a procedural film about a very delicate subject,” said artistic director Alberto Barbera, “that of a mother who ends the life of her little daughter. It was love at first sight for us.” After its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, Saint Omer will travel to the Toronto Film Festival.

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