Saint-Omer court of law. Young novelist Rama attends the trial of Laurence Coly, a young woman accused of killing her 15-month-old daughter by abandoning her to the rising tide on a beach in northern France. But as the trial continues, the words of the accused and witness testimonies will shake Rama’s convictions and call into question our own judgement.
"A documentarian at heart, Diop was inspired by the real life case of a woman Fabienne Kabou, who allegedly left her 15-month old on a beach in northern France in 2013. Most of her previous work has been similarly inspired by a personal “obsession,” as she herself calls it, to recenter and reorient typical stories particularly of immigrant communities and racial minorities in France. Saint Omer may be her fictional debut, but her past documentary films, including La Mort de Danton (2011), La permanence (2016), and Nous (2021), according to Diop herself, all “exist at the frontier where the two [documentary and fiction] meet.” Saint Omer masterfully puts this into action, playing around with elements of reality and theatricality such that the boundaries between the two become blurred, and nearly disappear altogether – what remains is a touching, engrossing story of the continuous, interconnected web of violence that entangles Black women in French society."
(from the introduction by Jessica Lovett, French & Francophone Studies, Brown University)
"In Saint Omer, Alice Diop aims to depict the invisibility of Black women, and how they are often denied portrayal as complex beings. Described by a New York Times reviewer as “intellectually galvanizing and emotionally harrowing,” Saint Omer is sure to leave a taste in your mouth long after the film has ended."
(from the introduction by Cici Osias, French & Francophone Studies and Sociology, Brown University)