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The Children of Troumaron

In Troumaron, on the outskirts of Port-Louis, capital of Mauritius, life has stopped. The factory is shut down. The unemployed men and women look out at life from behind fraying curtains. The boys rule the streets and the girls try to avoid their gaze. Four of these young people, Sad, Eve, Savita and Clélio describe their days and nights, their struggle to survive and their worry about the future. They observe the world through unblinkered eyes, without any illusions. A Troumaron, aux abords de Port-Louis, capitale de l'île Maurice, la vie s'est arrêtée. L'usine est fermée. Les hommes et les femmes au chômage jouent aux dominos ou regardent la vie derrière leurs rideaux déchirés. Les garçons font la loi et les filles tentent d'éviter leur regard. Quatre jeunes, Sad, Eve, Savita et Clélio, racontent leurs jours et leurs nuits, leur tentative de survie et leur absence d'avenir. Ils regardent le monde avec des yeux nus, sans illusion.

In Troumaron, a deprived area in the suburbs of Port-Louis, capital of Mauritius, life has come to a standstill. The nearby garment factory has shut down. Unemployed men and women spend their days playing dominoes by the roadside or watching television. Gangs roam the streets while the girls try to escape from their merciless eyes. In Troumaron, swallowed by the race towards development, History has come to a standstill. Slipping by in the yellow shadows of the concrete blocks, Sad, Eve, Clélio and Savita talk about their days and nights, their fight for survival in the absence of any future. They stare at the world with naked, dreamless eyes. Telling about their life, they also reveal a pitiless world, people struck blind and deaf to others' needs and the predatory nature of those who roam on the fringes. For them all, the countdown has begun.

Sadiq or Sad, the main narrator, perhaps the one is who is telling the whole story, tells us how he once discovered poetry through the extraordinary verses of Rimbaud. Since that day, he has been covering the walls of his room and of the apartment blocks with poetry, writing about his love for Eve and his belief in possibilities. But he cannot keep his distance from the gang and continues to follow them at night while attending school during the day.

Eve is the pivot of the story, the epicenter of the earthquake that will hit Troumaron. Magnetic, bone-thin, desirable, she is even poorer than the others. As a child, she had to ask the other children at school for pencils, rulers, erasers. Then, one day, an older boy asks her for something in return. She suddenly realized that she had something to sell: her own body. Her body became her sole bargaining chip. She has followed this path for so long, she has deadened herself to her own feelings.

It is only with Savita, her friend, that she finds consolation and solace. Savita, the "good girl", who wants to leave Troumaron, but will not go without Eve. She is the only one who loves Eve generously and does not ask anything from her. Together, they think they can defy the gang and escape from the trap of Troumaron.

Clélio, the fourth protagonist, is the rebel, angry against the entire world because his older brother has left him to emigrate to France. He waits in vain for his brother to come and fetch him. In the meantime, he lashes out in anger at anyone who comes too near, even those who want to be his friends.

The gang leader, Kenny, desires Eve and cannot bear the idea that she sells herself to so many men but refuses to give herself to him. His resentment grows as she taunts him, together with Savita.

Savita tries to persuade Eve to leave the country. Eve promises Savita that she will change her way of life as soon as they leave. She tells Savita that she has a plan to obtain better grades and get through her exams, but she doesn't tell her what this plan consists of. Her plan will have devastating consequences on all their lives, leading to a spiral of violence.

Launched in 2003 by Harrikrisna Anenden, a film-maker and Ananda Devi, a writer, Cine Qua Non Ltd. is a fully Mauritian production company that aims to produce films of a high quality and to contribute to the emergence of the yet inexistent Mauritian cinema.

This company has produced the second full-length feature film tio be made entirely by a Mauritian team. This was a film entitled "The Cathedral", based on a short-story by Ananda Devi.

This film was selected by a large number of international film festivals, including the Montreal film festival, the International Indian film festival, the film felstival of Cambodia, where it received the Public award and the Jury award, the Durban film festival and many others.

Kitty Philips Eve

Roshan Hassamal Sadiq

Vinaya Sungkur Savita

Kristeven Mootien Clélio

Thierry Françoise Kenny

Palmesh Cuttaree Biology Teacher

Gaston Valayden Eve's Father

Géraldine Boulle Eve's Mother

Jérôme Boulle Police Inspector

Smita Lallah French Teacher

This second feature film of Cine Qua Non is based on a screenplay Ananda Devi, who adapted her own novel, published in France under the title "Eve de ses Décombres".

What fascinated us about this novel was it unflinching outlook on Mauritian society in the 21st century and on the world at large, through the portraits of the four young people telling their story. They live in Troumaron, a deprived area of Port-Louis, the capital of Mauritius, which feels as if it has been forgotten by the rest of the country. We follow the story of each of the four, their fight to survive, their plans to escape.

Although "Troumaron", is a fictional place, we shot the film in a very similar area where most people are unemployed and hope seems to be leeching out of the yellowed walls. The neighbourhood is almost one of the characters of the film, since the inhabitants allowed us to film their daily lives until the line between fiction and reality becomes blurred. Like the novel, the images we show of Mauritius are very different from those shown in the media. We see the flip side of the tropical island, where danger surrounds the young protagonists despite the slow and quiet beggining of the film.

Gradually, the shadows gather around the main characters. In fact, these shadows are set in motion early on in the film, where Savita decides to leave Troumaron. As she is walking away, she encounters her friend Eve on the beach, looking devastated. She tries to find out what happened to her and decides to stay for her sake. It looks as if their friendship will bring them the hope they never had until then. But it is this decision made by Savita that will lead to her own death.

What we also liked about this story were the connections between all the characters, the ties that bind them more and more tightly until they are imprisoned in the manner of a Greek tragedy. Sad wishes to protect Eve, but is also a member of the gang that threatens the two girls; Eve's escape plan will backfire tragically and lead to Savita's death; Savita's murder causes Clélio to be arrested; Clélio's arrest will set fire to the already smouldering neighbourhood; and Eve, at the film's core, the most ambiguous of the characters, will close this devastating cycle of violence.

The film also makes a politcal statement about the way those in power have forsaken the youngsters from the deprived areas, about the adults who are no longer able to guide their children, about a society that turns away from the tragedies that take place in front of their eyes. The resort to violence is, as Sad says in the film, "the resistance of the hopeless."

cine qua non limited
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01210 Ferney-Voltaire
France

Mail to: anenden@cinequanon.net

Tel: 00 33/450 40 62 70