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Presumé coupable | Vincent Garenq, 2011
France | Format: DCP | 102 minutes
Equally fascinating and unsettling, Vincent Garenq’s second feature is a breathtaking journey into a Kafka-esque judicial nightmare. Alain Marecaux (an extraordinary performance by Philippe Torreton) is a court bailiff who lives quietly with his family in a small provincial town. One evening, his home is raided by the police, and he and his wife are arrested, accused of being part of a regional child sex and abuse ring. Imprisoned, Marecaux refuses to admit guilt or strike a deal, protesting his innocence even as his reputation and family life are destroyed. Based on real events (the Outreau Affair, as it was known in France), Guilty is a sober reminder of how quickly personal rights and freedom can disappear in an atmosphere poisoned by fear and hatred—even in the most democratic societies.