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French Film Festival: The White Knights Poster

French Film Festival: The White Knights

Belgian director Joachim Lafosse (Private Lessons) delivers a sobering and impeccably paced feature, inspired by true events, on post-colonialism and the blurred line between assistance and interference. Jacques Arnault (Vincent Lindon) is the head of an NGO that plans on rescuing 300 orphans from an African country torn by war. Having settled in their camp, the team’s enthusiasm soon decreases when the plane they’ve rented from local go-between Xavier (Reda Kated, Hippocrates – Festival 2016) to visit local villages breaks down. Françoise (Valérie Donzelli, Declaration of War – Festival 2012) is a reporter invited to document the team’s mission. Through her presence, we see the relationships between the volunteers evolve and discover their true motivation: the NGO is not here to look after children, but to take them back to France to their adoptive families. Helped by translator Bintou, the aid-workers travel across the country to gather children, faced with a growing doubt about their intentions. The storyline and characters’ psychology pushes us to form our own opinions, and wonder what the outcome of the mission will be.

1hr 52mins long