Visions du réel, Moscow International Documentary Film Festival Doker, Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal, Traces de Vie
Chaylla, a 23-year-old woman, is trying to break free from an abusive relationship. She is ready to fight to get custody of her children, to make her ordeal right. But deep down, she still has hopes of starting a family again with her ex-partner.
Chaylla smokes before going into a centre for prevention of domestic violence. This is to be followed by many other cigarettes: at her front door, on her way out of the doctor's, outside a party. Cigarettes that punctuate the film like introspective parentheses, moments to stop and think and rethink what has already happened, what continues to happen, the next legal step to take. Pauses in which to gather the strength to carry on fighting to get out of a violent, abusive conjugal relationship that she has tried fruitlessly to save too many times. She is not alone: apart from the crucial relationship with her lawyer, Chaylla has the unconditional support of two invaluable allies, her best friend and her own mother in law, with whom she shares smiles, tears and songs.
The camera follows this young 23 year-old mother form northern France very closely, sometimes almost touching her face, allowing us to see much more than what the words say, and it does so for a considerable length of time (which we often notice first from the changes in her hair). We accompany Chaylla on a long path, a process of internal reconstruction and external recognition that, apart from the distinctive traits of each woman, each private relationship or each legal system, is shown to be largely universal.