Our Children 2012

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Based on true events, celebrated director Joachim Lafosse's intense, multi-layered dissection of an unorthodox family unit created an unprecedented buzz at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, and won Emilie Dequenne the prestigious Best Actress Award. OUR CHILDREN was critically heralded as one of the top art-house world cinema films of 2012 and Belgium’s official entry for the 2013 Academy Awards. Young and full of life, Murielle (Emilie Dequenne, Rosetta) has a promising future ahead of her when she meets and falls head over heels for Mounir (Tahar Rahim, A Prophet). A wedding soon follows, and the happy couple quickly set about preparing to make a family. However, with family come ties, and none come as tight as that between Mounir and his adoptive father (Niels Arestrup, A Prophet, Sarah's Key) As Murielle continues to bring new life into the family, frictions between Mounir and Doctor Pinget reach boiling point. Helpless to extract her husband and children from the wealthy nest that Doctor Pinget has provided for them, Murielle is drawn into an unhealthy family dynamic. There is only one way out of this nightmare, and for Murielle all sense of reasoning begins to abandon her.

Starring:
Niels Arestrup, Tahar Rahim
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 51 minutes
Starring Niels Arestrup, Tahar Rahim, Emilie Dequenne, Stephane Bissot, Mounia Raoui
Director Joachim Lafosse
Genres Drama
Studio Saffron Hill
Rental release 28 October 2013
Main languages French, Arabic
Subtitles English
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 51 minutes
Starring Niels Arestrup, Tahar Rahim, Emilie Dequenne, Stephane Bissot, Mounia Raoui
Director Joachim Lafosse
Genres Drama
Studio Saffron Hill
Rental release 28 October 2013
Main languages French, Arabic
Subtitles English

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Dooley TOP 50 REVIEWER on 2 Nov 2013
Format: DVD
Based on true events, this French film tells a very dark tale indeed. It is about Andre (Niels Arestrup `War Horse' and `A Prophet') who plays a doctor who seems to have a soft spot for Algerians who want to escape to France to have a better future. He has married one for her convenience and then he sponsors her brother Mounir (Tahar Rahim `Free Men' and `also `A Prophet'). They seem to have a very close bond indeed so when Mounir announces he wants to marry a French woman, there is a moment of awkward friction.

This woman is school teacher Murielle played by the achingly beautiful Emilie Dequenne (`The Pack' and `Brotherhood of the wolf'). They waste absolutely no time in starting a family and Andre insists that they live with him. He sees himself as part of the larger family and what at first seems to be a loving and helpful man soon starts to be revealed as a manipulating and very controlling person indeed. As his influence grows so does the gap between the erstwhile love birds and it is only a matter of time before things will come to a head.

Director Joachim Lafosse has managed to make a harrowing true story be very watchable and engrossing with his portrayal of the inter relationships that make people act in a way they would never have meant to. All of the performances are excellent with Emilie Dequenne putting in an exceptional performance of a woman slowly coming unravelled; she seems to age as the film progresses. Issues around illegal immigration are touched upon but the morality is left for the viewer to decide. This was a co-production of companies in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland and is a case where too many cooks can make a rather excellent meal of a film altogether.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Keith M TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 Nov 2013
Format: DVD
Anyone who knows of the (real-life) tragic events that befell Belgian wife and teacher, Genevieve Lhermitte, will realise that this 2012 film by Belgian Joachim Lafosse, whose film is based on said events, was never destined to be an easy watch (indeed, anyone who doesn't know this 'story' can probably deduce it from Lafosse's practise here of showing us the 'aftermath' - not a recommended practise, in my book - at the start of his film). I recently watched Our Children twice in the space of three days (a glutton for punishment, I hear you say) and, whilst on first viewing I felt that perhaps it was a little too clinical (or even too realistic?) for its own good in its depiction of a woman's emotional disintegration (reinforcing the comparison with Michael Haneke that has been made for the film), watching a second time I found it increasingly mesmerising, (of course) harrowing and compelling (causing me to raise a four star rating to five).

Whilst it would have been 'easier' for Lafosse to have fictionalised his tale (and not suffer challenges to the veracity of its depiction), nevertheless, for me, the film can be appreciated on its own merits - in particular, the naturalistic performances of his cast, newly married couple Émily Dequenne's Murielle and Tahar Rahim's Mounir plus Mounir's 'adopted step-father', benefactor and doctor Niels Arestrup's André Pinget, and their creation of an almost dream-like, but at the same time, frighteningly realistic, atmosphere in which Murielle becomes trapped in her own domestic nightmare. Of course, in his three 'stars' Lafosse struck gold.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lola TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 23 April 2014
Format: DVD
OMG what a shock! I am referring to the amazing performances, the believable chemistry between the actors playing Murielle (Emilie Dequenne) and Mounir (Tahar Rahim) (I cannot imagine a better ensemble for this film!), the love story, the emotions running wild (just below the surface), the excellent psychological study on families and relationship between men and women (artfully done by director Joachim Lafosse)... I came to see "Our Children" almost believing that this 2012 Belgian-French production was a light melodrama. Two hours later I gasped for breath. This film is based on a real-life incident. Wait till the end of the film for that phrase to struck home.

There is no question why Émilie Dequenne received a Best Actress award at the Cannes 2012 - she is simply magnificent. Dequenne does a great job showing her character's psychological states as she transgresses from a happy young woman about to marry her sweetheart to an emotionally distraught and depressed wreck who can hardly speak.

I don't want to say anything else and spoil the film (if you decide to watch it), but be prepared for a quietly violent drama that will both shock and affect you. Saying that, "Our children" is moving, engrossing and absorbing film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sindri on 6 Dec 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Belgian screenwriter and director Joachim Lafosse`s fifth feature film which he co-wrote with French screenwriter Thomas Bidegain and Belgian screenwriter Matthieu Reynaert, is based on a real-life incident that took place in Brussels in 2007 where a 42-year-old woman killed her five children. It premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the 65th Cannes International Film Festival in 2012, was shot on location in Morocco and Belgium and is a France-Belgium-Luxembourg-Switzerland co-production which was produced by producers Jacques-Henri Bronckart and Olivier Bronckart. It tells the story about Mounir and Murielle, a couple in their late twenties who lives in Brussels, Belgium. Murielle is a Belgian elementary school teacher and Mounir, a Moroccan and former youth worker without a permanent residence certificate. After deciding to get married, Mounir shares the great news with his close friend André Pinget, a wealthy doctor who has been like a father to him through most of his childhood and helped him and his family in many ways. André gives Mounir a full-time job at his practice, let`s him and Murielle live with him in his apartment and Murielle and Mounir is happily married, but as time goes by André`s ways of making himself indispensable and his insisting involvement in their lives begins to stagnate their relationship.

Precisely and commandingly directed by Belgian filmmaker Joachim Lafosse, this somewhat biographical and fictional story which is narrated mostly from the female protagonist`s viewpoint, draws an intimate and nuanced portrayal of a Belgian teacher`s saint like suffering after marrying, becoming a mother and being second-rated by a husband who is more committed to honouring the wishes of his generous and demanding father figure.
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