Omar Sy stars on the front line in Cannes

First World War epic to open Un Certain Regard

by Richard Mowe

Omar Sy as the father and Alassane Diong as his son in Father & Soldier slated to open Un Certain Regard in Cannes on 17 May
Omar Sy as the father and Alassane Diong as his son in Father & Soldier slated to open Un Certain Regard in Cannes on 17 May Photo: Marie-Clémence David
The forgotten heroes of the First World War from Senegal who were forced to leave their homeland to fight for the liberation of France, will be put into sharp focus in Father & Soldier by Mathieu Vadepied which has been chosen to open Cannes Un Certain Regard section.

Making the announcement today the festival organisers noted that the Franco-Sengalese production stars Omar Sy (also a co-producer with Bruno Nahon and recently seen as the gentleman thief in Netflix’s Lupin). He plays a father who enlists in the French army in 1917 to join his 17-year-old son.

The pair are sent to the front line by a gung-ho officer where they find themselves in conflict: the son wants to fight on while his father tries to pull him out of the combat and seeks to bring him home safe and sound.

By shooting on the land of the Peuls, near the Mauritanian border, the director evokes another tragic dimension of colonisation, when France sought soldiers in West Africa.

Father & Soldier, Vadepied’s second feature after Learn by Heart, will receive its world premiere at the opening of Un Certain Regard on Wednesday 18 May.

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