Documentarian Alice Diop’s astonishing narrative feature debut is told through the stoic point of view of Rama (played with restrained intensity by a superb Kayije Kagame), a young novelist working on a contemporary retelling of the ancient Medea myth. Pregnant herself and increasingly uneasy, Rama’s own family history, doubts and fears about motherhood are steadily dislodged as the life story of the accused woman Laurence Coly (an extraordinary Guslagie Malanda) — a Senegalese immigrant who allegedly abandoned her 15-month-old daughter on a beach to the high tide — is gradually revealed. SAINT OMER is gripping, affirming and incendiary in its deconstruction of the continued violence forced upon Black women in French society. It’s also one of the most accomplished and important debuts in some time, certain to confirm Alice Diop’s talent on the international stage.
“Diop’s SAINT OMER doesn’t condescend to the viewer by slinking toward black-and-white offerings of good and evil... It dances on the surface of these participants, and in their subtle ripples, to reveal the humanity in the seemingly inhumane.” ––Robert Daniels, The Playlist “A stunning film which stirringly builds a confessional out of the stones in the hands of merciless executioners.” ––Rafaela Sales Ross, Little White Lies