The regional RER B train route transects Paris and its suburbs from north to south. Alice Diop gets off at various stations and meets a Malian car mechanic in Le Bourget, a district nurse (Diop’s sister) in Drancy, the writer Pierre Bergounioux in Gif-sur-Yvette, and a band of deer hunters in the Chevreuse valley.
Diop interweaves her calm observations with memories of her father, who came to France from Senegal as an immigrant in the 1960s, and of her mother, who barely appears in the old family photos and films she finds. To her dismay, her mother is never more than a silhouette at the edge of the frame, about to disappear. Diop movingly redresses this image of her mother.
All the while, the RER rolls on and the disparate stories she collects come together organically. Diop chooses not to accentuate the differences between people, but to look and listen closely, and to pay attention to small gestures. All these individual slices of life ultimately form a compelling and moving whole—a possible ‘we’.