Alexandre Farel (Ben Attal, the son of film director Yvan Attal, who was entrusted by his father with the first leading role in his career) is a 22-year-old student at the American Stanford University who arrived home in Paris for the weekend for a reunion with his high school team. He also plans to visit his relatively recently divorced parents, father Jean (Pierre Arditi) and mother Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg, who is in reality the director’s wife and the lead actor’s mother), both of whom are prominent intellectuals. Already old Jean is the most famous television presenter, and the younger mother is a controversial essayist and feminist. Claire now lives with Adam (Mathieu Kassovitz) and invited her son to dinner at her home where Adam’s 17-year-old daughter Mila also lives.
And while Alexandre is rushing to the party, his mother will suggest that he take Mila with him, she reluctantly agrees, and the next morning the police break into his apartment and arrest him on rape charges. Until then, we followed the story from Alexandre’s perspective, and then it switches to the perspective of Mila, who accused him of rape. And while it is obvious that there was sexual intercourse between them, Alexander claims that it was consensual, while Mila claims that she was raped and that the sex was not voluntary. The case will end up in court and the proceedings will drag on for several years, and of course this event will not only lead to the breakup of Claire and Adam’s relationship, but all parents will be convinced that their child is right.
And a French filmmaker born in Israel filmed an extremely complex and provocative drama based on the novel “Les choses humanes” (as the film is called in the original) by Karina Tuil, which shows that apparently calm and otherwise realistic people, when their child is at risk, very easily they shift to the most primitive, basic instincts. It all seems completely cold, distant, and the author does not take anyone’s side here, but simply presents what happened from both perspectives and offers the viewer to come to his own conclusion. It is wisely structured narratively because the truth for Alexandre and Mila is diametrically opposed, and both are convinced that that night happened as they claim.
It all seems painful, uncomfortable, and it’s clear that no matter how it ends, it won’t be good for any of the participants in this story, and we also see how the victims of such cases are completely unprotected when court proceedings begin, and how it all looks horrifyingly cruel. We also see how it is actually extremely difficult to decide whether Alexandre is guilty of what he is accused of, and a young man from a respectable family who is used to getting everything he wants, and does not understand that what he has done is not actually done. “The Accusation” premiered out of competition at the Venice festival, and it is an extremely complex combination of drama and thriller that leaves a lot of room for reflection.