When director Mickaël Bandela was six months old, his biological mother Gisèle, who lived in France, handed him over to his foster mother Marie-Thérèse, who cared for him for almost twenty years. Though he stayed in touch with Gisèle, visits were always irregular. Now Mickaël is 35 and about to found his own family. It could be the perfect moment to include Gisèle into his life as a grandmother. But she decides to return to her old Congolese home.
Mickaël tries to understand – the woman who gave birth to him, the woman he grew up with and himself. His autobiographical film turns into a fragmented search for the traces of memories of his own becoming. Some sequences show moments of extreme disorientation. A loss of balance while revolving around oneself, as one might assume? No, that’s precisely what does not happen to Mickaël Bandela. His work, which counteracts the lack of archive material with visual ingenuity and an idiosyncratic rhythm, is full of empathy. Not only does he shine a light on growing up unprivileged in the French province, he also allows us to understand the actions of both his “mamans” and reveals backgrounds. In addition, he achieves an elaborate analysis of (un)interchangeability: that of every individual, even the often sacrosanct-seeming figure of the mother. (Borjana Gaković)