Saint-Omer court of law. Young novelist Rama attends the trial of Laurence Coly, a young woman accused of killing her 15-month-old daughter by abandoning her to the rising tide on a beach in northern France. But as the trial continues, the words of the accused and witness testimonies will shake Rama’s convictions and call into question our own judgement.

Director's Statement

In June 2016, I attended the trial of a woman who killed her baby daughter by dropping her off at high tide on a beach in France. I imagined that she wanted to offer her to the 'sea', a more powerful ‘mother’ than she could be. Inspired by a true story, but fueled by an imagination that summoned mythological figures, I wrote this film: the story of a young novelist who attends the trial of an infanticidal mother with the aim of writing a contemporary version of the Medea myth. But nothing will happen as she had planned. The opacity of the accused will constantly return her to her own ambiguity about motherhood. It is a film that I wanted to make to probe the unspeakable mystery of mothers.

Director's Biography

French screenwriter and director Alice Diop was born in 1979. After studying history and visual sociology at the Sorbonne, she began her career as a documentary filmmaker. Her short and medium length films selected and awarded prizes in several festivals, include LES SÉNÉGALAISES ET LA SÉNÉGAULOISE (2007), LA MORT DE DANTON (2011), LA PERMANENCE (2016) and VERS LA TENDRESSE (2016), which won with the César for Best Short Film in 2017. Her feature length documentary NOUS (2020) won the Best Documentary Award as well as Best Film in the Encounters section at the Berlin Film Festival in 2021. SAINT OMER is Alice Diop’s fiction feature film debut and was awarded with the Lion of the Future and the Silver Lion - Jury Prize at the 90th Venice International Film Festival.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Alice Diop

Written by: Alice Diop, Amrita David, Marie NDiaye

Produced by: Toufik Ayadi, Christophe Barral

Cinematography: Claire Mathon

Editing: Amrita David

Production Design: Anna Le Mouel

Costume Design: Annie Melza Tiburce

Make-Up & Hair: Élodie Namani Cyrille, Marie Goetgheluck

Sound: Dana Farzanehpour, Josefina Rodriguez, Lucile Demarquet

Casting: Stéphane Batut

Cast: Kayije Kagame (Rama), Guslagie Malanga (Laurence Coly), Aurélia Petit (MaÎtre Vaudenay (The lawyer)), Valérie Dréville (La Présidente (The judge))

Nominations and Awards

  • European Director 2022
  • Feature Film Selection 2022