With this first feature film for cinema, documentary filmmaker Caroline Glorion highlights with the force of fiction the question of the placement of children removed from their families for economic reasons.
First feature-length fiction film by documentary filmmaker Caroline Glorion, Like a wolf recounts the ordeal and struggle of a young woman from whom social services took away custody of her three children because she was in a precarious situation. The film is released in theaters on September 20.
Lili, 26, waitress in a bar in Marseille, raises her three children alone. After an episode of violence with the father of the last two, she took refuge in a foster home. Her goal: to quickly find a home for herself and her children. But his request for social housing is not moving forward, due to a lack of pay slips which his boss is reluctant to provide. The management of the home appoints a social worker, Elodie Piat (Sandrine Bonnaire) to follow her, believing that she is not properly ensuring the education of her three children.
The current is bad. Lili has always been in trouble, but she makes it a point of honor to get out of it alone, to protect her children herself, with whom she has the feeling of living in perfect complicity. She doesn’t want this “help” that is being offered to her. All she wants is a safe place to live with her children.
To escape social services, which she calls “child thieves”, the young woman runs away from home. Without work, without housing, she sees her children snatched away in the early morning, in the middle of the street, in front of the school, on the grounds of “educational deficiencies” and of “suspicion of abuse”.
“Alone and poor”
The film was financially supported by several associations and foundations such as Secours catholique or Apprentis d’Auteuil and the director, experienced in the documentary format, this time chose fiction and “a romantic story although largely inspired by real events” for better “shake up, and overturn prejudices”.
Without being totally responsible for social services, which we feel overwhelmed by complex situations, Like a wolf however clearly positions itself on the side of the poor young woman, victim of the inconsistencies of a system favoring placement rather than aid to precarious families. “Why don’t you give the money you give to the foster family to take care of my children to me?”, asks Lili. Because even if she is on edge and doesn’t have the right “codes”, Lili takes great care of her children and considers that she offers them all the affection they need. His only crime, as his atypical lawyer says, “is to be alone and poor”.
Without pathos and far from stereotypes, the camera captures, in the style of a documentary, the different episodes of this slice of life, the small moments of everyday life, those that Lili shares with her children, or with her friends, which ring with great natural. She also captures through key scenes (in the judge’s office, in the meeting spaces under supervision of the mother with her children) the rigidities and limits of an administration fixed in principles, where each situation is nevertheless unique. .
Two great actresses
The film is carried by the two actresses who make up this duo of antagonistic characters. On the one hand Lili, a sanguine young woman, often overwhelmed by her emotions, magnificently played by Mathilde La Musse. On the other hand, Sandrine Bonnaire, very apt in an unsuitable role in the skin of Elodie Piat, the intransigent and cold, even unsympathetic social worker, who follows Lili, and who ends up revealing herself a little more to the listening over time.
The secondary characters are not left out. The film features a great troupe of actors and actresses to embody the mother’s entourage: Marilyne, the friend at home (Laurence Côte), Nora, the lifelong friend (Naidra Ayadi), and the children, confusingly natural. Without forgetting the members of the administration, the judge (François Morel) and especially Maître Clerc, Sarah Suco fantastic in the role of Lili’s offbeat lawyer. This magistrate, more familiar with a wealthy clientele, manages with her whole character and a frankness that hits the mark, to slowly but surely bring the young mother to accept the “good postures”, expected by society to recover her children.
Strong and committed social film, Like a wolf is also a hymn to maternal, vital love, the strength of which is measured here as much in the affection that Lili has for her children, as through that which she lacked, like other “damaged” characters in this uplifting story.
Gender : Drama
Director: Caroline Glorion
Actors: Mathilde La Musse, Sandrine Bonnaire, Sarah Suco, Laurence Côte, Arthur Igual, Naidra Ayadi, François Morel, Aydan Hullmann
Country : France
Duration : 1h 38min
Exit : 2023
Distributer : Alba Films
Synopsis : Lili, 26 years old, insecure, raises her three children alone. Wrongly accused of mistreatment, social services take them away from her. She collapses but very quickly, surrounded by strong women and a budding love, Lili launches into a decisive battle to rebuild her family.