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Our Children

À perdre la raison

Emilie Dequenne and Tahir Rahim are superb in an emotionally devastating tragedy of family life, from Belgian director Joachim Lafosse.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.


Image gallery

  • Director Joachim Lafosse
  • Producer Jacques-Henri Bronckart, Olivier Bronckart, Jani Thiltges, Sylvie Pialat, Thierry Spicher
  • Screenwriter Joachim Lafosse, Matthieu Reynaert, Thomas Bidegain
  • With Niels Arestrup, Tahar Rahim, Emilie Dequenne
  • Belgium-Luxembourg-France-Switzerland 2012
  • 111 mins
  • UK distribution Peccadillo Pictures

It’s giving nothing away to warn you that Our Children will make you weep: the opening tells you to expect a tragedy. Joachim Lafosse’s drama then flashes back to the salad days of young couple Murielle and Mounir, a Moroccan medic. Exuberantly in love, the pair live under the roof of Mounir’s adoptive father Dr Pinget. They go on to have children, but their relationship changes under the pressures of family life and the strains on Mounir’s cultural identity. Pinget’s benevolent autocracy becomes a problem too, and eventually it’s Murielle’s psyche that takes the damage. In his most accomplished film yet, Lafosse shows himself a confident, fearless investigator of everyday emotional trauma. Rahim and Arestrup (so memorable together in A Prophet) are terrific, while Dequenne gives her most extraordinary performance since she stunned the world in the Dardennes’ Rosetta.
Jonathan Romney

Director statement

I was freely inspired by an incident that occurred in Belgium in 2007. I was in my car when I heard a dramatic report on the radio about a woman who had killed her five children. I immediately felt that this harked back to Greek tragedy and that the incident offered me the possibility to go deeper into what I spoke about in my previous films: excessive love and its consequences, debt, perverse bonds, dysfunctional families, the question of limits… Some choices imposed themselves from the outset: to neither illustrate nor document the incident, but to take possession of it with my subjectivity, my point of view as an artist. Integrate the idea that in every family story, one person’s truth is not the next person’s. My task is not to seek out the judicial reality and respect it or to relate it with the objectiveness of a reporter. These tasks have already been carried out and they illustrate their own truths, among others. My task as a filmmaker is different. The goal is to offer an interior and interrogative view of what remains a human tragedy whatever the responsibilities. My role is to allow audiences to share the life of the characters that I have filmed and to allow them to perceive the drama from a fresh angle. I wanted to show that such an act, described as ‘monstrous’, is no accident. People often call the crime of infanticide ‘unthinkable’: my goal is to incite the audience to consider something that is too often described as inexplicable, to offer a different view, via fiction, and to arouse questions about the perception of reality, as much through my own gaze as through that of the audiences who view the film.
Joachim Lafosse

Director biography

Having studied at the IAD at Louvain-la-Neuve between 1997 and 2001, he saw his 24-minute graduation film Tribu taking the best Belgian short-subject category at the 2001 Namur Film Festival. His first feature, Folie privée, won the FIPRESCI award at the Bratislava International Film Festival, and the semi-autobiographical Ça rend heureux took the Grand Prix at the Premiers Plans d'Angers Festival. 2006 also saw the release of Nue propriété, starring Isabelle Huppert and brothers Jérémie and Yannick Renier, which bowed at the Venice Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Golden Lion and won a SIGNIS award. His following film was Élève libre. His 2012 film Our Children competed in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes earlier this year.

Filmography

2000 Égoïste nature [s]
2001 Tribu [s]; Scarface [doc]
2004 Folie privée (Private Madness)
2006 Ça rend heureux; Nue propriété (Private Property)
2008 Elève libre (Free Student)
2010 Avant les mots [s]
2012 A perdre la raison (Our Children)

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