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Love According to Dalva (15)


In her poignant feature debut, director Emmanuelle Nicot navigates the ramifications of childhood sexual abuse with sensitivity and grace, rejecting a sensationalised depiction of trauma and examining the complexity of coercive, controlling parental relationships in detail.

The film is strengthened by a luminous performance from Zelda Samson, who fully expresses bewilderment and, with honesty and insight, brings us inside the turbulent emotional journey of Dalva, who lives alone with her father. She’s only 12 and still baby-faced, but wears grown-up clothes and heavy make-up, with her hair scraped into a bun. When the police storm into their home and take Dalva into care, her whole world view shifts.

Befriending her new roommate Samia (Fanta Guirassy) and looked after by kindly social worker Jayden (Alexis Manenti), she gradually comes to understand that the relationship she shared with her father was not what she believed it to be, and with their help, she begins to learn how to be a child again.


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