Maternité secrète (Secret Nest)

Maternité secrète (Secret Nest)

Saturday, May 5, 2018 - 4:30pm
Monday, May 7, 2018 - 6:30pm
Sophie Bredier | 
France |
 2017 | 
82 minutes


“I got the coach one morning, not knowing where I was going. ‘To a place with girls like you,’ they told me. It was the first time I’d left home. I was shocked to see the gates closing behind me, as if I had just arrived at a prison. I was in a different world."

An anonymous woman remembers her first glimpse of the Château Bénouville in Normandy, a home for unwed mothers, who came to wait out their pregnancies, and give birth in secret. As one of the nurses who worked at the Château recalls, young women were often convinced to abandon their newborn babies and hide their pregnancies for fear of bringing shame on their families.

Director Sophie Bredier’s exquisitely constructed film brings back some of the women who lived at the Château—groundskeepers, midwives, children, and nurses—to remember their time there. Inside its stately halls and elegant rooms, the women recount some of the most difficult moments in their lives with lullabies and bittersweet recollections. But there is joy here as well, as the film’s penultimate scene demonstrates. As children play on the manicured lawns under the tender watch of their parents, the healing power of memories met and faced un-folds with gentleness and resolution. -DW


Sophie Bredier

Sophie Bredier was born in Incheon, South Korea on October 17, 1970, after which she was adopted by a French couple. At first, her movies were largely autobiographical: Our silent traces (1998), Separated (2000) and foreign body (2004) focus on the mystery of her origins and her ambigous perception of her "foreign" status. Then her movies questioned personal topics, such as women with Asian women, women fantasies, loss with Elie and us, and abandonment with The head of my parents' golden Offspring.