Les Diables Review

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Two children, a brother and sister, escape repeatedly from a Marseilles care home in search of their parents' house, and eke out a living on the streets.


The recent French trend for hard-hitting social realism continues with Christophe Ruggia's unflinching but sensitive study of two kids whose mutual reliance (in a world that has largely disowned them) is shattered by a capricious discovery that would seem like a monstrous contrivance in a more melodramatic context.

Reduced to wounded silence by the rejection she has suffered since being abandoned as a baby, 13 year-old Adele Haenel is protected by her younger but savvy brother, Vincent Rottiers, as they repeatedly escape from Marseilles care homes and eke out an existence on the streets.

But the unexpected realisation that they are not siblings causes them to unleash a pent-up torrent of bitter fury that can only end in tragedy. The leads are exceptional, but it's Ruggia's restrained depiction of their pain and vulnerability that makes this so powerful and poignant.

A powerful and poignant tale of pain and vulnerability.