A Woman Observes Another’s Trial in This Clip of Alice Diop’s “Saint Omer”

A author seeking inspiration in “Saint Omer,” the newest film from Alice Diop, attends the trial of a lady charged with murdering her baby daughter and is horrified by what she sees. The first teaser for the drama, which will premiere as a Special Presentation at TIFF and in Competition at the Venice Film Festival, has been released by Variety.

In the scene, the accused Laurence Coly (Guslagie Malanga) is handcuffed and carried into the Saint-Omer courtroom. She is led to the witness stand and instructed to provide some background information for the record. The author Rama (Kayije Kagame) is presently seated in the gallery. She doesn’t speak, but it’s clear from the expression on her face that she is confused by what she is watching.

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The only Black persons present in the courtroom, it seems, are Laurence and Rama.

Diop collaborated on the writing of “Saint Omer” with award-winning author Marie Ndiaye (“Three Strong Women”) and Amrita David, who edited Diop’s previous movie “La permanence” (“On Call”).

For “We,” a documentary that looks at how a commuter train fosters bonds among the predominantly Black and immigrant populations of the Paris suburbs, Diop won the Encounters Award at the 2021 Berlinale. It is now playing on MUBI. For her short “Vers la tendresse,” the director was awarded a César, while “La permanence” and “La death de Danton” also earned prizes at the Cinéma du Réel festival.

Being a Black woman and a filmmaker is not common, at least not yet, Diop informed us. “I think friendly fairies helped me and still help me find my position and feel legitimate, urging me to keep walking, without a glance for the people who could be irritated,” the author says. “Believe in the validity of their role as women in the film industry,” she counselled other female filmmakers.

View the “Saint Omer” footage provided by Variety below. There is currently no information about a U.S. debut, although it will be distributed in France through Les Films du Losange. TIFF is from September 8–18, and Venice is from August 31–September 10.

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