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The Crack Magazine

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La Mif

Director: Fred Baillif

Starring: Claudia Grob, Anaïs Uldry, Kassia Da Costa, Joyce Esther Ndayisenga, Charlie Areddy

Swiss writer-director Fred Baillif’s vérité-style Swiss drama is an unvarnished but empathetic portrait of the residents and social workers in a residential care home for teenage girls in Geneva - La Mif means ‘the fam’ or ‘the family’. The narrative is broken down into chapters illustrating each character’s take on events after one of the female residents is caught having sex with a fifteen-year-old boy. A rules-conscious intern calls the police and then informs her colleagues (when the unspoken rule is that staff are alerted first) suggesting the situation may have been ‘negotiated’ differently if done the latter way. A former social worker himself (and professional basketball player of seven years) Baillif developed the project over a two-year period via improvisation with a non-professional cast, most with experience of the social care system, and he elicits impressively raw and entirely relatable performances from young and adult cast alike. Claudia Grob, a care home director in real life, is particularly impressive as the frustrated but passionate manager, her character struggling with her own personal issues and relying on her job for emotional sustenance.