Children plot against deportation in Hands Up
by Fabien Lemercier
"We risk ending up thinking in unacceptable terms, entering a debate that in 50 or 60 years’ time will be considered totally shameful". Struck by "a feeling of powerlessness before the effects of a policy whereby illegal immigrants are escorted back to the border", Romain Goupil decided to explore this subject from the perspective of children in Hands Up [+see also:
film profile], which is being released today on 115 screens by its producer Les Films du Losange.
With his eighth feature, starring Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Linda Doudaeva and Hippolyte Girardot, the director of Half A Life (Cannes Camera d’Or in 1982) makes an impressive comeback after being absent from screens since Purely Coincidental (Directors’ Fortnight in 2002).
Understatedly moving, light-hearted and funny despite its subject matter, Hands Up centres on some Parisian schoolchildren in class CM2 (UK equivalent: year 6), in 2009. Milana, of Chechen origin, is friends with Blaise, Alice, Claudio, Ali and Youssef.
But the latter, who has no residency papers, is deported. Then it’s Milana’s turn to be threatened with deportation. The children pledge to always stay together and organise a plot to hide her.
Goupil commented: "What we’ve put children through in France in the first decade of the 2000s (…) makes me ask the question: how long will it take for us to realise that what is happening now is simply intolerable?"
Hands Up was produced by Margaret Menegoz, co-produced by France 3 Cinéma, and pre-bought by Canal + and Ciné Cinéma. The film also received an advance on receipts from the CNC and backing from the Ile-de-France region.
Four other French films are hitting theatres this Wednesday: René Féret’s Nannerl Mozart [+see also:
film profile] (see news – JML Distribution on 60 screens); Vincent Ostria’s Crime [+see also:
film profile] (Les Productions Aléatoires); Julien Rambaldi’s comedy Best Friends Forever [+see also:
film profile] (Gaumont); and Franck Phelizon’s Secret Loves [+see also:
film profile] (UPL Films Distribution).
The line-up also includes Stephan Komandarev’s Bulgarian/Hungarian/Slovenian/German co-production The World is Big [+see also:
film profile]. This feature, which has won multiple awards (at Tallin, Sofia, Warsaw, Zurich, Bergen…) and was shortlisted for a 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination, is distributed by Epicentre Films.
(Translated from French)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.