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75 min. French.

Damien Samedi lives in a village in Wallonia. He works from time to time as a gardener and has a close relationship with his mother. Everyday life in the village, which has seen better times, Samedi's quiet and friendly nature and the still largely intact rural setting stand in stark contrast to the heroin addiction Samedi has suffered from for over 20 years, which only his family knows about. His relationship with his mother changes when he makes another attempt to get clean. Paloma Sermon-Daï’s documentary paints a restrained, highly precise picture of a relationship marked by affection and love but which is also difficult to define in relation to Samedi's problem. As the camera observes the long, concentrated conversations he has with both his mother and his therapist, a picture of addiction comes into view which is part of a family structure. This becomes embedded in something larger in turn via the individual images of the village. Petit Samedi creates an image of dependence in which individual, family and social coexistence are intertwined, without falling into the trap of saying what might be able to solve the problem. (ab)

Paloma Sermon-Daï was born in Namur, Belgium in 1993. From 2005 to 2012, she attended the Athénée Royal Jean Tousseul in Andenne, followed by a bachelor’s degree in Cinematographic Technique at the Haute École Libre de Bruxelles Ilya Prigogine (HELB), which Sermon-Daï completed in 2016. Petit Samedi is her first feature-length film.

The healing process

PETIT SAMEDI is born from the desire to transform a dark story into something luminous. It’s the story of a mother who didn’t abandon her son when he got caught up in drugs, and of a son who kept his head above water for years if only to not disappoint her. Twenty years later, we meet them in this film and, between laughter and tears, love comes out victorious.
With this project, I wanted to go straight to the core and modestly sketch a relationship, a bond so singular that it is difficult to understand. This thin-skinned duo consists of my mother and my brother, Ysma and Damien. Damien is seeking healing. The film follows the beginning of his therapy, between confessions to his psychologist and discussions with his mother at the kitchen table. Bit by bit, introspection leads Damien into his past. He listens to the voice of the little boy he once was and faces the man he is today.
Over the course of the film, Damien and Ysma go from interdependence to liberation and take time to consider their relationship and their addictions, confronting us with our own limits. Damien shatters preconceived ideas and questions all the clichés generally associated with drug addiction.
In our little post-industrial Walloon village, populated with its strange characters, together we decided to confront their gazes and free our voice. It was also a way for me to claim my right to expression, no matter my social class or origins. This film, so vital for me, is the unconscious necessity that drove me to study film. The film that had to be done before doing anything else, as a gift for myself and for my family.
At this point, when I think of PETIT SAMEDI, I hear only my mother’s words, which I cling to like a precious gift: “It’s a secret that we needed to tell, to scream, now we are soothed.”
What I’m left with now is the joy of seeing Damien move forward. It’s what’s most important. (Paloma Sermon Daï)

Production Sébastien Andres, Alice Lemaire. Production company Michigan Films (Brüssel, Belgium). Written and directed by Paloma Sermon-Daï. Cinematography Frédéric Noirhomme. Editing Lenka Fillnerova. Sound Thomas Grimm-Landsberg. Co-producers Pierre Duculot, Julie Frère. Co-production Wallonie Image Production, Dérives. With Damien Samedi (Damien), Ysma Sermon-Daï (Ysma).


2017: Makenzy (20 min.).

Photo: © Michigan Films

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