FRANCE 72 MIN, 2022
Chaylla, a 23-year-old woman, is fighting to escape an abusive relationship and gain custody of her kids. But, deep inside, she still hopes to restore the family. This is a story of a woman, whose longing for freedom and desire for justice are enmeshed with abusive control and dependency.
She was born in 1992 in Paris. She holds master’s degrees in Philosophy and Documentary Filmmaking. Her end-of-studies film, Demain l’usine, was selected and awarded at several international film festivals (Millenium Festival, Traces de vie, Festival International Jean Rouch, FIFEQ). She then co-directed Chaylla with Paul Pirritano, screened for its world premiere at Visions du réel 2022 (Nyon, Switzerland) in the International Competition. Aside from directing, she has contributed to various projects as a writer or as assistant director.
He was born in Lens in 1986. After an audiovisual BTS in editing in Roubaix, he obtained a Master's degree in directing at ENSAV. Since then, he works as a chief editor. He has edited Faut savoir se contenter de beaucoup by Jean-Henri Meunier, Hakawati by Karim Dridi and Julien Gaertner, Le pays rémanent by Ugo Zanutto, and Fahavalo by Marie-Clémence Paes among others. Chaylla, co-directed with Clara Teper, and selected at Visions du réel is his first film as a director.
We have been struck by Chaylla’s bursts of vibrancy and brightness despite her deep aches and scars, making for the beauty and the complexity of her character. When we first met her, she would veil her vulnerability, rarely referring to herself as a victim and often mentioning her abuse in a strikingly aloof tone. Over the years, she began to shed a different light on her story, using her voice to fervently share her pain and sense of injustice. In spite of everything, something would always gnaw at her: the idea that she absolutely had to raise her children with their father, that families could not exist any other way. We have thus attempted to explore this dividing line, unraveling it throughout the film. Torn between alienation and emancipation, dependency and protest, Chaylla, a beaten woman and a fighter, embodies the burden of male and social dominance, as well as the opening to a possible path to freedom. While legal steps, taken to gain custody of her children, but also to convict her former partner, loom over the film’s horizon, we have first and foremost aimed to depict Chaylla’s inner journey in her quest for freedom. We have shown both the obstacles that she has faced – whether institutional or psychological – and the breakthroughs and changes that she has undergone. The film narrates a woman’s personal struggle to shake off labels, to stop the recurring vicious cycle and to make her own way.
- Visions du réel Nyon, Switzerland
Doker 2022 — Main Competition