SAINT OMER (NYFF 2022) – Review by Margaret Barton-Fumo

Alice Diop has stated that all of her films “exist at the frontier where [fiction and documentary] meet,” and Saint Omer is no different. In conjunction with her co-writers, Amrita David and Marie Ndiaye, Diop reworked dialogue from the actual court case of Fabienne Kabou and allowed her actresses to perform under minimal direction. She also recreated the space of the criminal court in an adjacent room, adorning the walls with wood paneling in a measure of authenticity. With a cast that includes professional, amateur and non-actors, all of the courtroom scenes ring true to life, with an added drama that ties the film together.

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