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Zombi Child Zombi Child

Bertrand Bonello / France / 2019 / 103 min / French

French director Bertrand Bonello uses zombies as a metaphor for historical trauma whose echoes re-emerge to haunt new generations of white elites.

festivals, awards Cannes 2019


Haiti, 1962. Clairvius falls dead in the middle of the street, only to be summoned back to life. He’s assigned to a chain gang with his fellow members of the walking dead, and put to work in the fields. Meanwhile, in the modern world, a girl named Mélissa is struggling to fit in at a stuffy boarding school that was founded by Napoleon. She’s the only black student on campus, and she might be totally shunned if not for the attentions of Fanny, who bonds with Mélissa over their shared passion for the novels of Stephen King. The Haitian girl confesses an old family secret to her new friends – never imagining that this strange tale will convince a heartbroken classmate to do the unthinkable.

"The figure of the zombi is at the meeting point between history and the collective imagination in Haiti. I tried to preserve this ambiguity. And I like the idea of going through imagination to evoke something that is in fact very real – slavery. /.../ It’s not about folklore, but about political and historical reflection. And this, through a figure that is well known the world over – the zombi." (Bertrand Bonello)

Bertrand Bonello
Born in 1968 in Nice, France. Before venturing into film, Bonello worked as a classically-trained musician. He writes his own film music and teaches at the French national film school La Fémis. He has asserted himself as a director and writer with The Pornographer, House of Tolerance and Saint Laurent. He belongs to the movement called the New French Extremity.

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