Saint Omer

Date Shown

28th Feb 2024

‘Saint Omer’ (2022) is the feature film debut of French documentary director Alice Diop. Named after the northern French town where it is set, ‘Saint Omer’ follows pregnant novelist Rama, who daily attends the trial of Laurence Coly, a young woman accused of killing her fifteen month old daughter.

It is inspired by the real-life 2016 trial of Fabienne Kabou, charged with killing her baby daughter by leaving her on a beach. Diop attended this trial, like her fictitious novelist, writing a script directly using the words spoken in court, written down from memory each day. Although most of the film takes place in the courtroom, it does not attempt to replicate the factual events precisely, but is more concerned with universal maternal emotional unease through traumatic memories, unsettling the pregnant Rama.

The acting throughout is superb, as the legal truth begins to emerge slowly through the evidence of witnesses. This isn’t an easy film, but it certainly is rewarding- it won two awards at the Venice Film Festival, and is shortlisted for an Oscar in the Best International Film category.

‘Breathtaking, intelligent, beautiful…10 out of 10’ Awards Daily website,

‘*****’ the Guardian, ‘*****’ Daily Telegraph, ‘*****’ Financial Times.

Audience Reactions

A: 16, B: 09, C: 05, D: 06, E: 0


A: Brilliant but a tough watch (A) An instant classic. Alice Diop is top league! (A) Gripping and absorbing. (A)     Amazing acting – incredibly moving – a great film (A)  Excellently made, acted etc but another donkey – hated it. (A)  Sometimes we can be moved without knowing why or how to put it into words (A)  Absorbing and simplex – beautifully acted – very good cinema. (A) 
Beautiful visually, such rich colours…but heavily sad and hopeless. I enjoyed how the characters’ stories interwove. (A)                                                                         

B: Dramatic, beautiful cinematography, thought provoking. (B) Seductive and manipulative. (B)  Very French!! Loathed the ‘arty’ music!! (B)
Very good. So much to say. Rich and complex. Compelling gaps. Only not an ‘A’ because there were moments which failed to hold my attention.(B)  Beguiling, original. A courtroom drama like no other. (B)

C: Interesting. Difficult. (C)   Good -??? Need to find out what it was about though. Summing up useful! (C)

D: Okay but I just didn’t understand – I am lost (D)  I got confused, interesting seeing French court (D)
Overall message very moving changing emotions towards defendant. (D) Very confusing, hard to see connection between Rama & Laurence. (D) Okay but.. I didn’t like the story. (D)

IMDB details

Saint Omer | November 23, 2022 (France) 6.8


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Laurence Coly
La Présidente du tribunal
Maître Vaudenay
Luc Dumontet
L'avocat général
Odile Diatta
Cécile Jobard
Seynabou jeune
Rama adolescente
Rama enfant
Maître Darcourt

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Countries: FranceLanguages: French, Wolof, Italian


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