(Release Info London schedule; June 25th, 2020, Curzon Home Cinema)
In Belgium, today, the destiny of young Ahmed (Idir Ben Addi), caught between his imam’s ideals of purity and life’s temptations. It's the story of the fruitless attempts made by various characters to dissuade the young fanatic Ahmed, the main character, from carrying out his murderous plan. Whoever these characters may be, his teacher Inès (Myriam Akhecktou), his mother (Claire Bodson), his brother Mathieu (Laurent Canon), his sister Rachel (Amine Hamidou), his caseworker (Oliver Bonnaud), the judge (Marc Zinga), the psychologist at the detention centre (Eva Zingano), his lawyer (Baptiste Sornin), the owner of the farm (Brazil Jail) where he's placed, his daughter Louise (Victoria Bluck) not one of them manages to reach the hard, mysterious core of this boy ready to kill his teacher in the name of his religious convictions. Ahmed is such an inscrutable character, capable of eluding us to such an extent, of leaving us without any possibility of a dramatic construction to catch up with him and bring him out of his murderous madness.
Even Youssouf (Othmane Moumen), the imam at 'The fundamentalist Mosque', this magnetic figure who has harnessed the energy of the adolescent’s ideals to focus it on purity and hatred of impurity, even he, the master, is surprised by his disciple’s determination. But could it be any different? Could it be any different when the fanatic is so young, almost a child, and when, moreover, his charismatic master encourages him to venerate a martyred cousin, a dead man? How to halt the headlong rush towards murder of this fanatical boy, cut off as he's from the kindness of his educators, from the love of his mother, from the friendship and romantic games of young Louise? How can he be stopped in a moment when, without resorting to naïve optimism or an implausible happy ending, he could open up to life, converting to the impurity he has loathed until that point? What scene, what shots, could allow to film that transformation and trouble the gaze of the audience that has entered Ahmed’s night, as close as possible to that which possesses him, and to that from which he would finally be delivered.