Irish Film Institute -OUR CHILDREN



111 minutes, Belgium-Luxembourg-France-Switzerland, 2012, Subtitled, Colour, D-Cinema

The quest for domestic bliss becomes an inescapable nightmare in this immensely powerful Belgian character study based on shocking true-life events. 

Emilie Dequenne, already an indie icon as the Dardennes’ Rosetta, is arguably even more affecting here as a young mum whose children and Moroccan-immigrant husband Tahar Rahim are stuck under the same roof as his seemingly generous benefactor, respected doctor Niels Arestrup.

Effectively reuniting the male leads from A Prophet, the film intelligently uses them to different ends, since Arestrup’s quietly-spoken presence proves an insidiously oppressive reminder of Rahim’s family’s social and economic subservience. Dequenne yearns for her own life, but enveloping entrapment pushes her closer to the edge, as director Joachim Lafosse’s sensitively reserved visuals guide us towards the unthinkable. A tough subject, but this masterly achievement is without question one of the films of the year. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.) 

IFI Programmer’s Pick: Émilie Dequenne (Rosetta) was a deserving winner of Best Actress in the Un Certain Regard strand of last year’s Cannes Film Festival for her outstanding performance in Joachim Lafosse’s Our Children, a penetrating study of immigration, social status, and psychological decline. Compelling and claustrophobic, it’s a superb film whose events will stay with audiences long after its conclusion.


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