Docpoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival


In the Billowing Night & Practice

Saarlotta Virri, Finland 2022
Language: Finnish
Subtitles: English

Practice is a short documentary about kids and parents on their way to the practice and back. The film captures one night of hundreds and patiently observes the families as they go about their weekly ritual.

Production notes

In the Billowing Night
The main voice of a documentary In the Billowing Night is Jean-René Etangsalé, a man with a deep yearning for his home island of Réunion, located in the Indian Ocean not far from Madagascar, describing the very same issue: “They did not see us as French. And therefore, we do not think of ourselves as French.”

The film deals with organised and forced migration to the mainland as means of the French colonial policy. The theme of Réunion island sees the family united, as the film is directed by Jean-René‘s daughter, Erika Etangsalé. Together they break the silence on their family history and the island’s ancestors’ pain.

Tomas Krause, Modern Times Review

With what looks like 16mm filmstock, Etangsalé augments her father’s word with almost pedestrian, everyday images of their Parisian suburb, which buttresses this prevailing sensation of perpetual alienation, that immigrants are expelled and ostracized from even the most mundane of spaces. Streetlights at dusk, parents paying bills — all retain a portent that a more histrionic documentary would didactically proffer. In the Billowing Night maintains its quietude, and its tragedy resounds all the louder.

Patrick Preziosi, In Review Online

Language: French
Subtitles: English
Length: 71 min
Age Limit: K7
Year: 2021
Production Country: Réunion, France

Director: Erika Etangsalé
Producer: Erika Etangsalé
Production Company: WE FILM
Distribution Company: Sudu Connexion
Screenplay: Erika Etangsalé
Editing: Marianne Haroche
Cinematographer: Jonathan Rubin
Sound Design: Pierre George