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Spartacus & Cassandra

Documentary Film
81 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Samuel Luret, Gérard Lacroix, Gérard Pont
Ioanis Nuguet
Aurélie Ménétrieux, Milk Coffee & Sugar
Ioanis Nuguet
Ioanis Nuguet, Anne Lorrière
Ioanis Nuguet
Maissoun Zeineddine, Marie Clotilde Chery, Jean-François Briand, Alexandre Gallerand, Marc Nouyrigat
One thing in life should be understood: that a child should be able to rely on his or her parents and grow up sheltered. That he or she should have a home. 13-year-old Spartacus and his 10-year-old sister Cassandra don’t even have a roof over their heads when the Roma family’s dwelling in the French town of Saint-Denis burns down. While the state helps them find refuge with the young trapeze artist Camille, their parents continue on a downward spiral. One side offers security, education and a childhood off the streets. On the other, a vicious circle of poverty, alcohol, self-pity and lethargy awaits them. Spartacus and Cassandra have to choose. It’s more than the old question of whether it’s possible to rise above difficult circumstances. How can children let go of their parents?
In shimmering, dreamlike images and an impressionist montage, Ioanis Nuguet shows the children poised between a family background they can’t shake off and a future that’s not easy to attain. A Caucasian chalk circle at whose end – as in Brecht’s play – something like hope is waiting. But also a bitter rap performed by Spartacus who makes it clear that this problem is not a personal one.

Grit Lemke

Prize of the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique 2014