DRAMA / BELGIUM / 2021 / 73MINS / M
Celebrated as one of the major European discoveries of the year, writer/director Laura Wandel’s extraordinary, sit-up-and- take-notice debut explores the complex world of children, as navigated by a sensitive, empathetic seven-year-old girl. Anxious about starting at a new school, young Nora (mesmerising newcomer Maya Vanderbeque) would prefer to stay home with her father (Karim Leklou, The World is Yours, AF FFF19).
Despite her nerves, she soon becomes aware that her older brother, 10-year-old Abel (Günter Duret) is being bullied by other kids. This puts Nora in a quandary: should she tell the adults about what’s happening, or remain silent, as her brother begs? If she does break his confidence, what will be the consequences? Or... should she take action herself?
Incisively observing all events from her protagonist's perspective, Playground illuminates just how the conflicts, grievances and negotiations of the schoolyard dominate Nora's worldview. Transposing the neo-realist techniques of directorial forebears such as the Dardennes and Jacques Audiard to the inner world of kids, Wandel’s gripping film is
arguably one of the most truthful, emotional and memorable films made about childhood – and one of the 2023 Festival’s true artistic highlights.
Stunning! A work of striking integrity and force– NY TIMES
FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
FESTIVAL DE CANNES 2021 - Winner - FIPRESCI Prize (Un Certain regard)
BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL 2021 - Winner – Best First Feature