Phase9 Movies 2000-12

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Year: 1999
USA: 1080
UK: Artificial Eye
Cast: Philippe Torreton, Maria Pitarresi, Nadia Kaci, Veronique Ataly, Nathalie Becue, Emmanuelle Bercot, Francoise Bette, Christine Citti, Christina Crevillen, Sylviane Goudal, Didier Bezace, Betty Teboulle, Gerard Giroudon, Marief Guittier, Daniel Delabesse
Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Country: France
Language: French
UK: 118 mins
USA Release Date: 8 September 2000 (Limited Release - Los Angeles and New York)
UK Release Date: 23 July 1999


Daniel Lefebvre (Philippe Torreton) is the director of a kindergarten in Hernaing, near Valcenciennes, in the north of France. One evening, a mother, Mrs. Henry (Betty Teboulle), is late picking up her daughter, Laetitia. She collapses, dead drunk, in the schoolyard. Overcome with shame, she flees, leaving Laetitia and her baby brother. Daniel finds himself with two children on his hands. He phones the Child Welfare Services, who hang up on him. Taking responsibility, he takes Laetitia and her baby brother home himself against school regulations.

This leads to serious repercussions and into conflict with the education hierarchy and city officials but is supported by his companion, Valeria (Maria Pitarresi), a young sculptor, and Samia Damouni (Nadia Kaci) , a case worker and paediatric nurse.

This story of stubbornness and courage, pain and tenderness is played out against a natural backdrop of the landscapes of northern France, amid changing seasons of strongly contrasting light, the austerity of abandoned industrial zones, working-class neighborhoods blighted by economic recession and the countryside in which Daniel lives with Valeria, with its vast horizons and embracing mists. And most of all, there is the horizon of children's faces, because for them, at all times and in all places, it all starts today.

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