The RER B is an urban train that traverses Paris and its environs from North to South. Multi-award-winning documentary filmmaker Alice Diop takes us through these suburban spaces and confronts us with some of the faces and stories of which they are composed.
A moving testament to the importance of filming as a process of bearing witness and remembering, We is timely in many ways. It is subtle and shrewd in a world that favours shortcuts and easy answers. Justifiably adopting the fragmented structure of a patchwork portrait in order to describe a riven society, Diop displays impressive control of her essay and its impact. In the film’s first few minutes, a deer is observed, through binoculars. A certain sense of awkward, man-made distance stays with us. Isolation, discrimination and nostalgia for hierarchies, inherited from a monarchical past … Divisions haunt France’s present. But the human urge to give as well as to receive stubbornly creeps into every situation, observed or triggered. Could this be the one thing that still keeps a nation together?
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