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Return to Bollene

// Presented as part of Filmatique's In Transit Series //

Essay: The Impossible Return: Saïd Hamich's Return to Bollène

Spotlight on Return to Bollene




Saïd Hamich / 2017, Festival du cinéma méditerranée de Montpellier, Festival du film de Sarlat, Festival international du film indépendant de Bordeaux, France Odeon - Florence, Manarat Film Festival, Tübingen - Stuttgart Festival International du Film Francophone, Young French Cinema / 67'


Nassim is a prosperous businessman living in Abu Dhabi with his American fiancée, Elisabeth. After several years of absence he returns to Bollene, the small town in France where he grew up. Nassim's parents are first-generation immigrants; his siblings have adapted to French life with varying degrees of success. Faced with complex new realities— the city is now governed by France's far right— and a father with whom he does not speak, Nassim embarks on the difficult journey of encountering what he left behind.


By portraying a mid-thirties man successful in terms of his adopted environment but not his inherited culture, Return to Bollene expounds a rarely explored facet of refugee existence— what comes next. Saïd Hamich’s first feature premiered at Festival du Cinéma Méditerranéen Manarat, Tübingen - Stuttgart Festival International du Film Francophone, and Festival France Odeon, where it won a Jury Special Mention.


"Return to Bollene is a lucid, precise, concise, even moving story of an impossible return and an impossible farewell"

- Jean-Philippe Tessé, Film Review, Cahiers du Cinema [fr]