“One world”, surviving in a hostile environment

A world **

by Laura Wander

Belgian film, 1 h 13

Impressive in mastery and conciseness, this first film by Laura Wandel seduced the Croisette this summer during the Cannes Film Festival where it won the international critics’ prize in the Un certain regard section. This one and a quarter hour immersion in the merciless world of a playground, shot at the level of children in the first sense of the term – we see adults practically only their legs – tackles in a shocking way the subject of school integration and bullying. Far from making a feature film on this subject, the Belgian director instead invites us to share a sensory experience which, through the eyes of a little girl, makes us feel almost physically all the violence of the school environment.

Snorkeling in the school environment

Nora enters primary school and her inextinguishable crying as her difficulty in leaving her father’s arms opens the film which, as soon as she crosses the threshold of the establishment, plunges us into apnea with her in the playground. , its deafening noise, its heckling and its law of the strongest. To the discovery of community life, to the intense pace of learning, and to her thirst for integration, is added for Nora the pain of seeing her older brother Abel harassed by his classmates. But how to react when alerting the adults seems to make the situation worse and the humiliation he suffers begins to reflect on her? Torn between her father’s concern, the hostility of her brother who asks her to keep silent and her own aspiration for normalcy, the little girl will have no choice but to toughen up to face the situation.

→ REREAD. “School Life”, a year in fourth grade

There is no complacency in this initiatory story reduced to the bone, which reveals more than it denounces the microsociety that constitutes a schoolyard and its first traumatic experiences. Thanks to a very precise staging and impressive work on the editing and sound, we are in osmosis with this stubborn-looking little girl with big sad eyes, played by the young Maya Vanderbeque, and like her, we come out of it washed out.


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