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Director Laura Wandel: ‘The brutality of the playground is conveyed through noise’

The schoolyard is a psychological minefield in Playground, Wandel’s stomach-churning debut. As the film is released in the UK, she reveals the secret to immersing the viewer in a child’s world It has been quite a year for Brussels-born director Laura Wandel. Last July saw the premiere of her debut feature film, Playground, at the Cannes film festival; since then, this stomach-churning drama about the psychological minefield of the schoolyard has gone on to garner awards and adulation at festivals around the world and became Belgium’s entry for the 2022 best international feature Oscar.. Playground is about a seven-year-old girl named Nora who must quickly adapt to the social order of her new school with older kids, which includes her brother, Abel, who has his own bully-shaped obstacles to overcome. “What I was interested in,” says Wandel, “is a young child who leaves the world of their family and finds themselves confronted with a new society. The challenge of integration is something we find at many stages of our lives – this need to fit in.” This, she believes is made all the more complicated by the bonds of the sibling relationship: “When you enter this new society, what are you prepared to let go? What are you prepared to become?” Continue reading...

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