CINEMA: French film-maker’s work tells a moving story with a positive message

RACHID Bouchareb is a French film-maker of Algerian descent who made his name with Days of Glory which was shown by the Eastbourne Film Society in October 2007 when it proved to be the most acclaimed film of that season.

The Society is now beginning a Spring Mini-Season at the Curzon Cinema with seats available as usual for the general public and it is Bouchareb’s London River starring Brenda Blethyn which starts off the season on March 23.

Bouchareb’s films always display a great underlying humanity and in London River he chooses to tell the story of two individuals from very different backgrounds who eventually achieve a rapport which initially would seem unlikely. Elisabeth is an Englishwoman living in Guernsey while Ousmane is a Muslim form Mali who has settled in France. Both come to London in the wake of the 7/7 bombings concerned about their children – her daughter and his son – who might possibly have been caught up in the tragedy. Bouchareb’s aim is to find a message of hope in this context, but without sentimentality.

He chose Brenda Blethyn because he had seen her in Secrets and Lies and paired her with the late Sotigui Kouyaté whose performance in London River rightly won him the Best Actor Award at the Berlin Film Festival.

Perfectly acted, this is a moving story with a positive message.