Alice Diop and her new film “Saint-Omer” are selected to represent France at the Oscars.

A confused mixture of distance and closeness

Acclaimed at the last Venice Film Festival, acclaimed by ecstatic critics and selected to represent France at the next Oscars ceremony, “Saint-Omer“, the first fiction, by documentary filmmaker Alice Diop, hits screens this week. Honored with a Silver Lion at the last Venice Film Festival, documentary filmmaker Alice Diop (particularly director of Nous, an essay on contemporary France seen through the prism of line B of the RER), is overwhelmed with praise for Saint -Omer. In this film, the filmmaker freely evokes the Fabienne Kabou affair, named after this young Senegalese accused of having abandoned her 15-month-old daughter on a beach in the north of France at rising tide, condemning her to certain death.

Alice Diop

A strange personality

Indeed, the personality of Fabienne Kabou has confused a lot. Endowed with an exceptional IQ, she is immediately presented as an intellectual. But now, this one quickly admits to the bar to have been “bewitched”. Later, we learn that Fabienne Kabou was not actually preparing a thesis in philosophy. She didn’t graduate. In addition, his daughter was never declared. She was born clandestinely in her partner’s workshop. Alice Diop made the trip to Saint-Omer herself in 2016 to attend the trial, so disturbed was she by the story of Fabienne Kabou. With the accused, a native like her from Senegal, the filmmaker felt a confused mixture of distance and closeness. Before embarking on the production of fiction, Alice Diop made several documentaries. The filmmaker therefore has all the codes to transcribe reality with absolute acuity. We find this dexterity in all the scenes of the trial which constitute more than half of the film.

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