Directed: Christophe Ruggia
Genre: Coming of Age, Drama
Chloé (Adèle Haenel) is 13 years old and unable – or unwilling – to speak. Damaged by years of abandonment, she cannot bear to be touched, but loyally and unquestioningly follows her younger brother, Joseph (Vincent Rottiers). The years on their own, running from every home to which they have been sent, have made Joseph mature and cunning far beyond his years. He looks out for Chloé, fully aware that the special nature of her trauma could cause them to be separated at any turn, but prepared to fight at all costs to preserve the only family either sibling has ever known. He is fiercely protective of his sister, jealously guarding her from any attempt to make her whole again. Theirs is a mutual dependency of tragic proportions, but to gain any sense of health and normality in their lives, the cycle will somehow have to be broken. When they end up in a hospice for runaways and disturbed children, and in the care of a professional psychiatrist, a door opens for the first time – but will the two of them enter?
Brilliant, Sad, Intense..
In his uncompromisingly intense yet delicately emotional second feature, Christophe Ruggia presents the world of two youngsters abandoned by their mother. Fearlessly, and with a keen sense of identification, he builds a deeply troubling universe where the children seem caught in a vortex from which they cannot escape.
Ferocious, emotional, kinetic and restless, Les Diables marks the arrival of a filmmaker with the courage to face this material without flinching. The clarity of Ruggia’s direction and the unaffected, wonderfully honest performances of Haenel and Rottiers combine to create an unforgettable experience. In this steel-tipped film, the world of children is stripped of its pastel glow and rendered as a stark urban cage, making Joseph’s ardent, inexhaustible love for his older sister meaningful, if deeply troubling.