Dalva

  • 87'
  • Belgium
  • 2022

This poignant yet remarkably vindicating feature debut by Belgian writer and filmmaker Emmanuelle Nicot portrays the journey of a girl at the cusp of teenager-hood, Dalva, who must unlearn the grooming perpetrated by her father, Jacques.

Eschewing the sensationalism typical of child captive cases, and drawing on her research in an emergency shelter for young victims of abuse, Nicot focuses on Dalva’s confusion as she is abruptly severed from Jacques and lodged in a youth shelter. She enters this new world with outrage and resistance, remaining loyal to her belief that paternal and sexual love is one and the same.

Through Dalva, Nicot unveils a past of incest, control and deceit inflicted by the young girl's father, who substituted his daughter for his estranged wife – the similarity in clothing becomes evident in a mother-daughter reunion.

Dalva’s shift to life in a shelter is initially jarring, and adding to her alienation is the arrival of puberty, leaving her torn between clinging to her conditioning as an adult woman and the yearning to salvage the remnants of her childhood. Gradually, the support of her roommate, Samia, and a social worker, Jayden, undermines the illusions created by her father's manipulations, challenging Dalva’s very idea of self and swaying her to reframe her life as she discovers her youth and the camaraderie of adolescence.

 

Olivia Hărşan

Director
Emmanuelle Nicot
Premiere
Dutch Premiere
Countries of production
Belgium, France
Year
2022
Festival Edition
IFFR 2023
Length
87'
Medium
DCP
International title
Love According to Dalva
Language
French
Producers
Julie Esparbes, Delphine Schmit
Production Companies
Hélicotronc, Tripode Productions
Sales
mk2 Films
Screenplay
Emmanuelle Nicot
Cinematography
Caroline Guimbal
Editor
Suzana Pedro
Production Design
Catherine Cosme
Sound Design
Fabrice Osinski, Valérie Ledocte,, Aline Gavroy
Music
Frédéric Alvarez
Cast
Zelda Samson, Fanta Guirassy, Alexis Manenti
Local Distributor
Gusto Entertainment