Our Children: New York Film Festival 2012

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New York Film Festival 2012: Our Children

New York Film Festival 2012: Our Children


Three is most certainly a crowd in Belgian filmmaker Joachim Lafosse’s devastating look at a young married couple (Tahar Rahim and Émilie Dequenne) whose lives are intertwined with that of an elderly doctor (Niels Arestrup). The latter raised the husband, an Arab immigrant, since he was a lad—so why shouldn’t the kindly physician live with the now-grown man and his new wife, go on their honeymoon with them, help them raise their kids and virtually control every aspect of their life? You’re never sure whether this pathologically manipulative puppet master is a patron saint or Satan; but given the film’s flash-forward opening scene, in which “burials in Morocco” are conspicuously mentioned, you sense that things will not end well. Arestrup and Rahim’s reprise of their warped father-son bond from A Prophet suggests these performers should form a permanent double act ASAP, but it’s Dequenne who’s the movie’s MVP; the way the Rosetta star goes from quiet suffocation to full-blown mental breakdown is nothing short of revelatory. It’s a near-perfect portrait of domestic tragedy as a master-and-servant psychodrama that leaves catastrophic collateral damage in its wake. The festival has now officially found its hidden treasure.—David Fear

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