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RELEASES France

Back To Square One looks at West Indies, racism, history and integration

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Back To Square One looks at West Indies, racism, history and integration

While critics are in raptures over Mia Hansen-Love’s Goodbye First Love [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Mia Hansen-Love
film profile
]
(Les Films du Losange on 62 prints) and Spanish directors Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal’s animated film Chico & Rita [+see also:
film review
trailer
making of
interview: Javier Mariscal, Tono Errando
film profile
]
(Rezo Films & Studio 37 on 69 prints), one of the curiosities among this Wednesday’s 11 other new releases is directorial trio Thomas Ngijol, Fabrice Eboué and Lionel Stekebee’s comedy Back To Square One [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, launched by Mars Distribution on 369 screens. Beyond the questionable quality of this purely light-entertainment debut feature, its interest lies in its subject matter (dealing with issues of racism, integration and history) and its protagonists of West Indian origin, who are reminiscent of those in 2009’s surprise box-office hit Meet the Elisabethz [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
.

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Back To Square One tells the story of two half-brothers, one who puts his failures down to racism and the other, completely integrated, who can’t bear any references to his origins. Called to their dying father’s bedside in the West Indies, they suddenly find themselves transported back to 1780, to the time of their slave ancestors.

"Like many children of immigrants, we got inspiration from our parents who lived through much more difficult periods than our own," said Eboué (who also stars in the film alongside Ngijol). "At each stage in their life, they’ve had to adopt different positions towards France and their integration. At first, they were really enthusiastic and tried to become totally integrated, and then, realising that it wasn’t working, they experienced periods of rejection (…)”

“It is such a sensitive subject nowadays that if we had approached it in another way other than through this trip back to the past, we wouldn’t have pulled off the idea. Back then, racism wasn’t considered as racism. It was a way of thinking. The aim was also to point out that today black people can choose to try to integrate and move forward, or be a rebel, whereas back then, you were a nigger and you had no choice. That was also why it was interesting to look back in history."

Back To Square One was produced by Alain Goldman for Légende. Its €9.2m budget included co-production support from TF1 Films Productions and Mars Films, and pre-acquisitions from Canal+ and Ciné+.

Also hitting screens are Albanian director Bujar Alimani’s Amnesty, which won the Cineuropa Award at the Lecce Film Festival (Arizona Films Distribution on four prints); Brit director Joe Wright’s US/UK/German co-production Hanna [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(Sony Pictures Releasing); and four other French productions: Julien Lacombe and Pascal Sid’s 3D horror film Behind the Walls [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(see news - Bac Films on110 prints); Frédéric Schoendoerffer’s thriller Switch [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(see news); Bruno Rolland’s Léa [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(see news - Zelig Films Distribution); and Emilie Jouvet’s documentary Too Much Pussy (Solaris Distribution).

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(Translated from French)

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