Xavier Racine's (Fabrice Luchini, "Gemma Bovery", PÖFF 2014) stiff persona and excessively harsh sentencing made him one of the most feared Criminal Court judges. He is assigned the trial of Martial, an uncooperative stubborn man accused of kicking his 7-months-old baby to death. What seems like an ordinary trial becomes a life-changing event for Mr. Racine when he finds out that Birgit Lorensen-Coteret (Sidse Babett Knudsen, "Borgen") is on the jury. Six years earlier Mr. Racine had a serious accident and Birgit was the anaesthesiologist who looked in on him during the seven weeks he spent in the hospital and with whom he fell profoundly in love.

In "Courted" director Christian Vincent displays the courtroom as a theatre with its public, the actors, a behind the scenes, a dramaturgy; a place where anything can happen when the curtain goes up – even a love story in the middle of a murder case. The film mirrors life in its purest and most complex form. We witness the anxiety of the defendant, the doubt of the jurors, the questionings of the lawyers, the meditations on life of the judge and, most importantly, the intrusion in people's lives. Alongside all these elements the film is carried out by the powerful performance of Fabrice Luchini in the role of a cold reserved judge that, nevertheless, turns out to be a humorous and sympathetic human being.

The film is ultimately a vivid slice of life staged within the walls of a courtroom.

Giampietro Balia / PÖFF

France 2015