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L'ombre du doute (1993)

Alexandrine, 12, is the only witness to a crime she can barely denounce. Yet, a few words will suffice to spread panic around her. Why is she bringing horrific charges against her father and then retracting?


Aline Issermann


Martine Fadier-Nisse (collaboration), Frédérique Gruyer (collaboration) | 3 more credits »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mireille Perrier Mireille Perrier ... Mother
Alain Bashung ... Father
Sandrine Blancke Sandrine Blancke ... Alexandrine
Emmanuelle Riva ... Grandmother
Michel Aumont ... Grandfather
Luis Issermann Luis Issermann ... Pierre
Roland Bertin Roland Bertin ... Judge
Dominique Lavanant ... Alexandrine's Teacher
Thierry Lhermitte ... Alexandrine's Lawyer
Jean-Pierre Sentier Jean-Pierre Sentier ... Maître Toussaint / l'avocat de Jean
Féodor Atkine ... Therapist
Isabelle Petit-Jacques Isabelle Petit-Jacques ... Therapist
Cynthia Gavas Cynthia Gavas ... BPM Inspector
Eric Franklin Eric Franklin ... BPM Inspector
Simon de La Brosse ... BPM Inspector


11-year-old Alexandrine lives in a wealthy and happy family. Little by little, we learn that she is anorexic, that her school results are deplorable and she is almost silent. She screams in silence, a terrifying shadow enters her room at night. She is overwhelmed by the horror: incest. Her mother, her friends, her grandparents don't want to know anything. It is obvious that this "kid" is fabricating. Everything would be called into question, their life would collapse. However, his French teacher encourages her to file a complaint. But she cannot go to the end and gives up the titanic fight. Then justice sets in motion to reveal the horrible secret. Written by Unifrance

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Drama | Thriller


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User Reviews

Being Donkey Skin.
13 November 2020 | by ulicknormanowenSee all my reviews

Aline Isserman is Yannick Andréi 's sister-in-arms :both produce works which deal with the woman's position in society ; Andréi was the first to devote a whole film to a rape and its aftermath (after ida Lupino's "outrage" in the USA) ,Isserman broaches here incest , in a much more convincing way that Malle's insignificant "souffle au coeur"(1971)

Both principals are either almost unknown thespians (Mireille Périer) or a pop singer (the late Alain Bashung ,whose performance is thoroughly remarkable ; the viewer does not know whether he must hate or pity him ;his final confession will haunt you long after the screening).On the other hand,the supporting parts are played by bigger French actors :Dominique Lavanant, Thierry Lhermitte ,the great Emmanuelle riva in a role unworthy of herself) The young Sandrine Blancke , in a part of an abused child ,gives it all without overplaying ;she remains sparing of words and gestures.

A picnic in the country shows the perfect family;but at school , an essay makes the teacher suspicious : a personal version of Charles Perrault 's "Donkey Skin" in which a king wants to marry his daughter :refusing the obligatory happy end of the fairy tale ,no "and they lived happily ever after" but a tragical fate lies in store for the princess .

And if this essay were the key to a family tragedy? Much to father's displeasure ,a social worker and a youth worker come to visit the house and they find strange things;little by little ,cracks in the mirror appear : the girl does not want to sleep without her pet dog (who protects her) , she lies undressed on her bed ,she becomes anorexic ...She confesses unthinkable things to the police and the father is accused .

Despite the brilliance of the cast , the screenplay is sometimes overloaded :it works when it deals with dad's background , who remembers his childhood fears ,with a bigger-than -nature father who would take him to hunting rapaces with him ,and who abused his children too ;these fears never went away and emerge again as he makes his way through adulthood and come back at night,when his wife ,who works by night as a nurse,is away.

On the other hand, the mother's past is overblown and does not bring anything to the plot :doesn't one learn that she had a little brother who died two years before she was born ,and that her own mother has always had a grudge against her and demanded her to be perfect ?If it were not enough ,the movie has international pretensions and shows one of Saddam Hussein' s hostages ,the famous little boy and his cornflakes for breakfast.

In spite of these reservations ,it is a movie to be recommended ,for this kind of horror happens every day,everywhere.

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Release Date:

20 October 1993 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Shadow of a Doubt See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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