First Feature Competition
The harsh world of playground politics is seen through the eyes of a seven-year-old girl in a gripping debut from Belgian writer-director Laura Wandel.
Maya Vanderbeque, Günter Duret
Belgium 2021. 72min
New Wave Films
With English subtitles
The original title, meaning ‘a world’, suggests that a school is a self-enclosed universe with its own customs and abuses – and a microcosm of the injustices outside. Nora (mesmerising newcomer Maya Vanderbeque) arrives in a new school, nervous about leaving her dad and yearning for the protection of big brother Abel (Günter Duret). In fact, it’s Abel who faces bullying – and when Nora tries to help him, his ordeal only worsens. Laura Wandel’s extraordinary debut is a triumph in terms of focus and concision, with the action restricted to the school premises and the camera held exactly at Nora’s child’s-eye height. Arguably one of the best films ever made about childhood; without doubt, one of the most gripping, and lucidly truthful.
Contains scenes viewers may find distressing.
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