Watch: A woman attends the trial of another in this excerpt from Alice Diop’s “Saint Omer”

In Alice Diop’s latest film, ‘Saint Omer’, a novelist in search of inspiration attends the trial of a woman accused of killing her infant daughter – and she is shaken by what she witnesses. Variety has released the first music video for the drama, which will screen in competition at the Venice Film Festival and as a special presentation at TIFF.

In the spot, the accused Laurence Coly (Guslagie Malanga) is brought to the Saint-Omer court in handcuffs. She is escorted to the witness box and asked to state some basic facts about herself for the record. Meanwhile, Rama (Kayije Kagame), the novelist, is sitting in the gallery. She doesn’t say anything, but the look on her face suggests she’s conflicted with what she’s seeing.

Laurence and Rama appear to be the only blacks present in the courtroom.

Diop wrote “Saint Omer” with Amrita David, who edited Diop’s previous film “La permanence” (“On Call”), and award-winning novelist Marie Ndiaye (“Three Strong Women”).

Diop won the Encounters Prize at the 2021 Berlinale for “We,” a documentary examining how a commuter train connects predominantly immigrant and black communities in the Paris suburbs. It is now streaming on MUBI. The filmmaker won a César for her short “Towards tenderness” and received honors from the Cinéma du Réel festival for “La permanence” and “La mort de Danton”.

“When someone is, like me, a black woman, becoming a filmmaker is not common – until now,” Diop told us. “I believe the friendly fairies helped me, and still help me, to find my place and to feel entitled, forcing me to continue, without seeing people who might be annoyed.” She advised fellow female directors to “believe in the legitimacy of their place as women in the film industry”.

Check out the “Saint Omer” clip below, courtesy of Variety. It will be released in France via Les Films du Losange but no news on an American premiere yet. Venice runs from August 31 to September 10 and TIFF from September 8 to 18.

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