Our Children – À Perdre La Raison Film Review – Belgium, 2013

At the start of Our Children, a young couple frolicks about, madly in love, over-the-top saccharine, full of wordless smiles and child-like naivete. Soon, an elderly doctor, clearly a father-figure in the young man’s life, appears. He warns the young man against a serious relationship with the young woman, citing the cultural difference of her being Belgian and him being a Moroccan immigrant as a prime reason. This disapproval offers the first signs of strain, hinting that the young man is somehow indebted to the older man, though the reasons are unclear.

 

Shortly thereafter, after a series of strange communicative moves between all parties, the young couple move in with the man, and, in yet another awkward bout of communication, reveal to him their plans for marriage. The older man voices pleasure though it is known to the audience he is rather dissatisfied; nonetheless, he offers to pay for the couple’s honeymoon because they can’t afford it. The couple naively invite him to join in on their honeymoon as thanks for his generosity, and he accepts, thus cementing a bizarre and inappropriate relationship triangle. Years pass and they all continue to live under one roof. One-by-one, four children enter their lives, adding pressure and taking up more of the already difficult-to-find space, as the three adults become more and more entangled and volatile in their treatment of one another.

In addition to the interpersonal element of the film, Our Children also seems to wish to offer cultural commentary on differences in culture-specific relationships to elders and to marriage. It moves back and forth from family-to-family and Morocco and Belgium in an attempt to drive home this point — but this idea, while very central to the narrative of the film, only seems to have minimal impact. Though the film is never boring and the main characters do a fine job or portraying a relationship’s shift from bliss into tragedy, there is ultimately something that leaves viewers wanting more. The extent to which the characters cannot communicate or help themselves is unrealistic, in way that is not even frustrating, but ultimately just devoid of emotionally-invested interest. Suspension of disbelief always feels just a bit out of reach.

Directed by Joachim Lafosse

This film was reviewed for Seattle International Film Festival 2013.

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Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

In 2017, Vee released the narrative short film, Searching Skies — which touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States — and co-organized The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. 2022 sees the release of their next short film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature film.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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