two women and a basket


A couple of Parisian lawyers, Julien (Benjamin Lavernhe, of the Comédie-Française) and Anna (Sara Giraudeau), cannot have children, and will switch to illegality to buy someone else’s baby couple. Franck (Damien Bonnard), scrap dealer, and Meriem (Judith Chemla), have five children, plus a sixth on the way, they live in a caravan in Aubervilliers (Seine-Saint-Denis) and have no money to raise any. a sixth… Loosely adapted from a novel, crying riversby Alain Jaspard (Héloïse d’Ormesson, 2018), The Sixth Child, first feature film by Léopold Legrand, received four awards at the Angoulême Francophone Film Festival, where it was presented in competition – including the coveted Audience Award, as well as the Best Actress Award tied for Sara Giraudeau and Judith Chemla.

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The 30-year-old director, who likes to be inspired by reality, is the author of a remarkable short film, Death to codes, with Olivier Rabourdin, taken from the eponymous short story by emergency doctor Patrick Pelloux – an SAMU team tries to intervene in the home of an elderly couple, in an ultra-secure residence. A film whose mainspring is suspense, rather well done. It’s the same tension that animates The Sixth Childthe spectator being embarked on a story a priori implausible, but which ends up taking shape, a little belatedly, by focusing on the psychology of this woman ready to do anything to be a mother.

Pregnancy by proxy

How can lawyers, knowing the law, venture into an illegal enterprise that resembles human trafficking? The start of the film is a bit offbeat. Damien and a fellow scrap dealer, the van filled to the brim, have an accident at a crossroads. Caught in a case of concealment, Damien is defended by Julien who manages to save him from prison. The two couples meet. Julien and Anna are invited to have a drink on the land where Franck and his wife live, with a rounded belly – who belong to the Yenish community. What to do with the unwanted baby? Abortion, “We don’t do that at home”makes Franck understand.

The film received four awards at the Angoulême Francophone Film Festival, including the coveted Audience Award

The bet was risky, but Damien Bonnard and Judith Chemla (looking constantly exhausted, a remnant of blonde hair with brown roots) are not doing too badly. Two other characters manage to exist, their eldest son and the grandmother. The tandem of lawyers is a trickier score to play: Julien doesn’t want any trouble with the law, Anna doesn’t say too much, but does things in her own corner, the couple is torn apart. This all seems hard to believe.

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