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Migrants' stories on the big screen: new film offers a fresh take

Screengrab of film "La Tête froide". 2024   -  
Copyright © africanews


A new film by director Stéphane Marchetti  offers fresh insight into the plight of migrants who attempt perilous journeys into Europe.

"La Tête froide" (or "Winter Crossing" in English) is the story of Marie, a French small-time cigarette smuggler, and Souleymane, a young African man hoping to reach England. 

When Marie meets the younger man on the border between Italy and France, she gets caught up in an increasingly dangerous mission. 

The film is director Stéphane Marchetti's first foray into fiction, after working as a documentarist focusing on issues in Gaza or migrants in Calais. 

"We don't really know how to describe migrants [...] and in the media, they are still often a kind of anonymous, invisible mass," says Marchetti. "Fiction allows us to tell the unique story of a person who has a name, an identity, dreams, hopes, doubts, complexity and ambiguity, just like many other people."

His work on documentary films is part of what attracted the actor Florence Loiret Caille to the project.

"What really interested me was that he came from a documentary background," says Loiret Caille. "He showed us the faces and stories behind the figures. And that's precisely what the film does: it's not the 'nice French woman who takes in the nice migrant'. No, it's much more complex than that."

Actor Saabo Balde, who plays Souleymane, says he worked with Marchetti to create a nuanced portrayal of his character.

The film has just been released in French cinemas.

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