Le Ciel attendra
One evening, as you’re making dinner for your daughter and you find her particularly grumpy, you just tell yourself «Oh boy, teenagers». Tomorrow’s another day. She won’t say what’s wrong, anyway. Tomorrow, though, will be too late. It is the day she disappears, for good, leaving you with the maddening burden of grasping it all at once. Your own flesh and blood has succumbed to ISIS’s jihad propaganda for weeks. She is probably already abroad, on her way to Syria, convinced that she is joining the prince charming who promised her divine purity and bliss during their countless chats online. Worse even, she has played an active part in converting a few more girls, some as young as 12.
The use of the second person above isn’t innocent. The idea that it could happen to any of us underlies Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar’s tense psychological drama. The clueless mothers (beautifully) embodied by Clotilde Courau and Sandrine Bonnaire in Le Ciel attendra (Heaven Will Wait) would tell you so much. When the film opens, 17-year-old Sonia is arrested just before reaching the point of no return, whereas Mélanie is a balanced high school student, and a gifted cello player. But within the familiar environment of Facebook, she forgets about the old command not to talk to strangers. A shockingly efficient method turns the peace-and-love kind of ideals of this sensitive teen into hatred against the Western world. France being a hotbed of these campaigns, the filmmaker took on the subject carefully. A prominent expert on deradicalization plays herself here, surprising the lost sheep with her approach. In fact the film, as its title suggests, is an optimistic reminder that if we dare understanding the logic ISIS unfolds, it is possible to fight back with the same, deadly weapon. Ideas? Sure. Mostly, though… love.