May God Be With You

  • Cléo Cohen
  • France
  • 2021
  • 80 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Best of Fests

Cléo Cohen’s directorial debut is a personal investigation of her own identity as the granddaughter of Jewish Arabs who at some point in the past emigrated from Tunisia and Algeria to France. In an intimate setting, Cohen questions her grandparents in front of the camera about the course their life has taken. Are they more strongly connected with Judaism or with their Arabic background? What do they think about their current home country of France, the former colonial power? Do they feel African or European? And how do they hope to see their descendants forming their own identity?

Their answers are sometimes crystal clear and sometimes more cryptic. In between interviewing, Cohen seeks illumination in the work of Albert Memmi (1920-2020), a French-Tunisian writer of Jewish origin. In the context of Cohen’s consistent personal style, the informal conversations provoke introspection among members of both the older and the younger generation. At the same time, this personal quest conveys a complex world history, bringing together colonialism, antisemitism, and racism, as well as  religious, cultural, and political themes.

Credits

  • 80 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: French
  • Subtitles in: English
Director
Cléo Cohen
Production
Rebecca Houzel / Petit à petit production, Maria Knoch / Petit à Petit Production
Co-production
ViàOccitanie, Tënk
Cinematography
Cléo Cohen
Editing
Saskia Berthod

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