Sixteen-year-old Mélanie lives with her mother. She loves school, her friends, playing the cello…and she wants to change the world. But when Mélanie falls in love with a “prince” on the Internet, her world turns upside down. Sonia is seventeen years old and considers doing something irrevocable to guarantee her family a place in paradise. These teenage girls could be called Anaïs, Manon, or Leila; each is heading down a seemingly inexorable path to indoctrination. Can they ever return?
FOCUS ON: Origin of the project
“I was just coming out of my last film Les Heritiers when I started reading multiple articles about parents looking for their daughters who had left to go to Syria. At that time, I was very involved and interested by the whole process of religious conversion. I started to read about the subject and began to have a lot of questions. At this point, in my mind it wasn’t a movie yet, but an abundance of questions that I had as a mother of a young girl. How all this could happen? How could a fifteen, sixteen, seventeen year old go from watching Disney Channel to leaving for Syria? To me it was a mystery. So I started looking into it and talking to journalists and people involved in that matter. Everyone I talked to lead me to this woman who is in the film, named Dounia Bouzar. Since 2016, she had began working with young girls and families that were confronted with this problem. I explained to her that I wanted to try to better understand before making a movie and asked if I could follow everything that she did and be involved in all aspects for a few months. After that experience I began writing the script.”
– Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar