France 2017. Dir: Xavier Legrand. 94 min. DCP
VANCOUVER PREMIERE! In a stark judicial chamber, a separated couple argue over custody of their son, 12-year-old Julien. (Another child, Joséphine, about to turn 18, is not part of the dispute.) Miriam demands full custody (also Julien’s preference), and accuses her ex-husband of abuse, although no legal evidence of this exists. Dumbfounded, Antoine blames his ex-wife for turning the children against him. “Which one of you is the biggest liar?” asks the judge, before ultimately deciding on shared custody. The sense of dread and menace hovering over Julien’s weekends with his father only intensifies as it becomes frighteningly clear that Antoine is unable to accept that his marriage is over. Under Xavier Legrand’s assured direction, what begins as a naturalistic domestic drama transforms into a psychological thriller and then into a horror film of heart-in-mouth proportions. Winner, Silver Lion (Best Director) and Lion of the Future (Best Debut), Venice 2017.
Post-screening discussion with Dr. Susan Gamache and Vandana Sood.
Dr. Susan Gamache is a Registered Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice and a parent educator, mediator, trainer, author, and media consultant.
Vandana Sood is Supervising Lawyer at Rise Women’s Legal Centre and an Adjunct Professor at UBC’s Peter A. Allard School of Law and has practiced in the areas of family law, child protection law, and immigration and refugee law, with focus on assisting women who experience intimate partner violence.
Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.
“Custody can be difficult, even wrenching to watch, but it always plays fair with the audience, and the experience, worth every minute expended, is impossible to forget.”LA Times | full review
NYT Critic’s Pick | “Spare and unsparing … Mr. Legrand is skilled in the techniques of dread and suspense, and without sensationalizing or cheapening the story, he gives this closely observed drama the tension and urgency of a thriller.”
New York Times | full review