Adapted from the novel by Leïla Slimani, the film “Chanson Douce” with Karin Viard, broadcast on France 3 this Monday, September 11, 2023, returns to a sordid true story.
Watch out, not for the faint-hearted. The film “Chanson Douce”, broadcast on France 3 this Monday, September 11, deals with a chilling subject: infanticide. From 9:10 p.m., viewers of the third channel will be able to discover the story of Paul and Myriam, a couple who hire an experienced nanny to look after their two young children. Initially conscientious and devoted, the nanny will take up more and more space in this family, until she becomes particularly worrying...
Released in 2019, this feature film worn by Karin Viard, Leïla Bekhti and Antoine Reinartz is the adaptation of the novel written by Leïla Slimani, who won the Prix Goncourt in 2016. The author was also inspired by a sordid true story that hit the headlines in 2012, that of Yoselyn Ortega. Nicknamed the "killer nanny" by the American media, she had been hired by Kevin and Marina Krim, a couple living in the luxurious Upper West Side of New York. They sought his services in 2010 to look after their two young children. Everything was going perfectly well, until the nanny was kicked out of her apartment, ran into financial difficulties and found herself living in the Bronx with her son.
According to the American media which followed the affair, Yoselyn Ortega's mental state disintegrated to the point of developing a form of resentment towards the rich couple who employed her. On October 25, 2012, Marina Krim returned to her apartment to discover her two children, Lucia (6 years old) and Léo (2 years old), in the bathtub, killed after having received numerous knife wounds. Yoselyn Ortega survives her suicide attempt. She was sentenced to life in prison in 2018.
Leïla Slimani was inspired by this sordid affair to write her award-winning novel. The author explained at the time of its release that she especially wanted to dissect the class relationships at work in this news item. "It's the relationship between the employer and the employee that I question, she explained in La grande bookstore in 2016. It's the fact of sacrificing your freedom to comfort, of not realizing that you can have an extremely humiliating reaction towards others, the fact of hiding the lives of others, of not wanting to face poverty..."
The author also explains that it was by hiring a nanny herself that she realized "the ambiguous relationship between a mother and a nanny, because ultimately you pay someone to love your children, to take caring for your children and keeping them safe. You never know who has power over the other. It's that tension that fascinated me."