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Q&A with Alice Diop
In this nuanced, sophisticated, and wonderfully engaging documentary, filmmaker Alice Diop creates a kaleidoscopic portrait of people from largely Black and immigrant communities in the Parisian suburbs, their lives and work connected by the RER B commuter train that cuts through the city from north to south. Her subjects include a migrant from Mali working as a mechanic; her own sister, a community care worker making house calls to the elderly; the writer Pierre Bergounioux, expounding upon centuries of French history and inequity; and an energetic variety of young people enjoying coveted leisure time in their own corners of the banlieues. Appearing on screen—and therefore making herself part of the “we” of the title—Diop says that in her filmmaking she aims to “conserve the existence of ordinary lives.” Her film is not just a work of conservation, but also of intellectual rigor, and of love. A New Directors/New Films 2021 selection.
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