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‘Father & soldier’ from Mathieu Vadepied, starring Omar Sy to open Cannes’ Un Certain Regard

by Paul Heath

We’ve heard that Mathieu Vadepied’s film Father & soldier is set to open the Un Certain Regard strand at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film stars Omar Sy, Alassane Diong and Jonas Bloquet, and highlights the story of the Senegalese infantry men, forgotten heroes of World War One, forced to leave their homeland and fight to liberate France.

Photo credit: Marie-Clémence David © 2022 – Unité – Korokoro – Gaumont – France 3 Cinéma – Mille Soleils – Sypossible Africa

According to the press release we received earlier today, the film tells the story of Bakary Diallo, a father, who enlists in the French army in 1917 to join Thierno, his 17-year-old son, who was drafted by force.

Sent to the front, father and son will have to face the war together. Galvanized by the fervor of his officer who wants to lead him to the heart of the battle, Thierno comes of age while Bakary does everything to pull him out of the combat and bring him home safe and sound.

Bathed in a brilliance reminiscent of the Autochrome Lumière, Father & soldier sways between the ochre of the earth and the blue of the uniforms, between natural light and the darkness of the trenches. By shooting on the land of the Peuls, near the Mauritanian border, Mathieu Vadepied evokes another tragic dimension of colonization, when France sought soldiers in West Africa.

The world premiere of Father & soldier will open Un Certain Regard on Wednesday, May 18, before the Jury, which will announce its award winners on Friday, May 27.

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