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40. Camille; movie review

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Title : 40. Camille; movie review
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Cert TBA
90 mins
BBFC advice: TBA

Brave, daring or reckless? 
These were the three words which came into my head to describe Camille Lepage after watching this account of her life and death in the civil war-stricken Central African Republic.
Lepage died in 2014 while she was taking frontline photos of the conflict.
But she wasn't there because she had an important commission and, therefore, I pose the questions over her motivation.
Boris Lojkine's movie is a mainly dramatised account of what happened to Camille. He fills in the blanks with an informed fictional version of events.
Nina Meurisse plays Camille as an ambitious young woman who is desperate to make it as a foreign news photographer.
She worked for AFP, the French news agency in South Sudan before going freelance and trying to sell her pictures from the Central African Republic where she spent eight months.
When she arrived there the country was submerged in violence after the Seleka, an alliance of mostly Muslim rebel groups forcibly seized power and subsequently committed many atrocities,
Lepage became embedded with their direct enemies, the Anti-balaka, made up of self-defence militia groups.
She had one brief assignment but then the French media lost interest. Nevertheless, she continued to photograph the deadly conflict.
Did she become too close and what was her real motivation?
Lojkine's movie poses more questions than it answers around both the civil war and why Lepage seemed oblivious to the obvious dangers to her life.
Interestingly, the seasoned war reporters are portrayed as keeping themselves much more distant from their subjects.
But, if Lojkine's film is to be believed, Lepage was less security conscious, making close friends of a young rebel (Fiacre Bindala) who is moving his way through the ranks.
One scene prompted both Mrs W and I to gasp in unison because, if true, it was reckless in the extreme.
Was she naive or did she have a death wish?
Who knows but I can say Camille is a gripping if sometimes frustrating watch.

Reasons to watch: Stunning true story
Reasons to avoid: Fictionalises some elements

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 7/10

Did you know? 
The number of fatalities resulting from the civil war in the Central African Republic is not known. In April 2014, the United Nations estimated about 2,000 deaths. In September that year, an independent count by the Associated Press found the death toll to be more than twice as high—5,000 people killed and more than one million displaced.

The final word. Boris Lojkine: "The most important thing was that Camille’s journey had to have a certain kind of simplicity, that it had to make sense, and that, through the group of students from the Central African Republic, we would be able to tell the whole story of the crisis of their country, with the students representing different facets of the conflict. " Cineuropa

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