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Alice Diop

di F.D.S.
  • wednesday, 7 september 2022

The symbol of the Paris transit authority appears everywhere in Alice Diop’s cinema as the glue and frame that keeps together the irreducible diversity of the many suburbs of Paris and the materialization of the closeness and the distance between the city centre and its outskirts. It shows how hard it is for a young black actor to find his place in the hypocritical theatre world dominated by white men, the love confessions of four youngsters in the Parisian banlieue, immigrants’ health troubles, and the patchwork of lives that populate the suburban train RER B. Diop’s camera is exquisitely lightweight and ironic in framing situation of suffering, and it is also able to quietly show, under a quasi-documentary format, the inexhaustible richness of human lives, their stories, the uniqueness of each.

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Inspired by real events that took place in France in 2013, the film follows Rama, a thirty-year-old author and soon-to-be mother who attends a trial at the court of law in Saint...

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Alice's four
The death of Danton
(2011)

[doc] A black actor in white-dominated theatre grows indignant after a white man is allowed to don blackface to interpret Othello, but the opposite is not allowed.

Towards Tenderness
(2016)

[doc] Love Meetings-style in the Parisian banlieue. Diop reveals the brutality of modern erotic clichés, occasionally torn apart by autobiographical sequences that tentatively show a path to awareness.

On call
(2016)

[doc] A still look on immigrant patients at a clinic in the outskirts of Paris. As is often the case with Diop, neutral, detached description is given the backseat, with full attention given to the individual stories that break the formal frame of the doctor/patient relationship.

We
(2020)

[doc] A view on the reality of life around the areas where suburban train RER B stops: a mechanic, a travelling nurse, deer hunt enthusiasts, and Diop herself. When the nurse sees an elderly woman in her home for a shot, she reminisces “My husband and I used to go to the movies twice a week…” well, don’t you miss that?