87 minutes| U.K-France-Algeria| 2009| Subtitled| Colour| D-Cinema

Having highlighted his North-African brethren’s WWII heroism in Days of Glory, writer-director Rachid Bouchareb now captures the aftermath of the 7/7 London bombings with this compassionate and affecting drama. Surprising perhaps that a French filmmaker is first to approach these tragic events, yet it fits with the story’s overriding theme of looking beyond self-imposed cultural blinkers and embracing our common humanity. As Brenda Blethyn’s middle-aged Guernsey mum and Sotigui Kouyate, an elderly African working abroad as a forester, negotiate mutual suspicion in the search for children missing after the terror attacks, they find halting French a bridge to communication. Even working in a second language, Blethyn’s gutsy as ever, though it’s the sad-eyed wisdom of fine Malian performer Kouyate (who sadly died in April this year) which sets the tone for the film’s journey through shock, grief and the heartening realisation that only through mutual respect can we defeat the malign forces seeking to divide us. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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