Olivier Masset-Depasse

Belgium 2010, 91 min.


Spoken language: French

Subtitles: English

Festival year: 2011

Immigration drama in which Russian immigrant Tania finds herself in a detention centre after being arrested on her son Ivan’s thirteenth birthday. Her expulsion seems inevitable. This award-winning film at the Cannes Film Festival gives a poignant portrait of Belgium’s asylum policy.


Upon arriving home after a long day Tania finds an expulsion order in her mailbox. Determined to stay in Belgium together with her son, she mutilates her fingers with a smoothing iron making it impossible to take her fingerprints and verify her identity.
In the following years, mother and son try to make the best of it. On Ivan’s thirteenth birthday, however, their quiet lives come to a brutal end when Tania is arrested and has to leave her son with a friend. Tania hopes to recover freedom by concealing her identity. She is completely powerless, though, in the face of the Russian mafia threatening her son and the perspective of being deported. 


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