Denis' award-winning autobiographical film traces a young white woman's return to her youth in pre-independence French Cameroon, haunted by strong memories of black African Protee, the family's 'houseboy' and a man of great nobility, intelligence and beauty.
A stirring and subtle examination of intricate relationships in a racist society and the human damage exacted on both the colonized and colonizer.
Denis, like the young protagonist of her first feature, developed a sophisticated understanding of the nature of difference and displacement. Subtlety, secrecy, control and power - all tools she dexterously employs in her work - were learned in everyday human relations.
'In Africa', Denis has noted, 'nothing is ever said, but the weight of things is always there'. This is also true of her filmmaking, in which presence and absence dominate over words and action.
The stark, ominous beauty of the African landscape is embedded in Denis's visual style, with its depictions of space, texture, and fleeting images of silhouettes, flesh and sunlight.