North American Premiere
Based on the story “Victoria and the Staveneys” by Nobel laureate (and oft-filmed author) Doris Lessing, My Friend Victoria relocates its black London heroine to contemporary Paris while retaining her essential, puppet-like passivity. As an 8-year-old orphan, Victoria (Keylia Achie Beguie) is taken into the home of a white bourgeois family for a single night, fueling her dreams of comfort and privilege for the rest of her life. As an adult (now beautifully played by Guslagie Malanda), she reconnects with the youngest son of her host family, bearing his child after a brief affair. All the while she drifts from job to job, independent yet lacking focus—except for that one night from her childhood and its revelations. Director Jean-Paul Civeyrac manages a treatise on race and class that’s subtle, moving, and refreshingly non-didactic, refusing to reduce the characters to symbols or dilute the richness of Lessing’s prose.