Rama, a literature professor and novelist, travels from Paris to Saint-Omer to observe the trial of Laurence Coly. Coly is a student and Senegalese immigrant accused of killing her 15-month-old daughter by abandoning her to the rising tide on a beach in northern France. Rama, who is four-months pregnant and, like Coly, is in a mixed-race relationship and has a complex relationship with her own Senegalese immigrant mother, feels a personal connection to Coly. She plans to write a modern day retelling of the Greek Medea myth about the case. As she learns more about Coly’s life and the isolation Coly experienced from her family and society while living in France, Rama becomes increasingly anxious about her own life and pregnancy.
“A film of vast reach and great complexity.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker
“This immensely intelligent film … exposes a host of limits—of empathy, self-knowledge, language, cultural understanding—while it expands into infinite possibilities regarding the timeworn genres of the courtroom thriller and the immigrant tale.” Melissa Anderson, 4Columns
“An intellectually charged, emotionally wrenching story about the inability of storytelling—literary, legal or cinematic—to do justice to the violence and strangeness of human experience.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times