French take on adoption

Now that it’s summer vacation, I thought I’d borrow a few DVD’s from the library. The first thing that caught my eye was Bertrand Tavernier’s “Holy Lola,” a movie about a French couple’s journey to adopt their Cambodian daughter. Here are pictures.

The orphanages featured are much better than I’d imagined them to be. At least the movie didn’t try to pull heartstrings on that score. The French adopters all looked very much at home in the local setting. They seemed to know their way around. I thought this had to do with the fact that the couples were on extended stays. It only occurred to me later that Cambodia was a French colony, like Vietnam, and that for almost 70 years. It is ironic that the script mentions at several points how there were no babies for French couples because all the babies were being scooped up by “American baby catalogs.” There’s the parallel of the powerless French having to secede Indochina to American interests. And everything is so commercialized in America that even babies can be ordered by catalog.

One scene did really bother me. At a government office, while filling out forms, the prospective father was asked if he wanted to fill in “unknown” or “dead” as to the parents of the child, Lola. He’s confused for a moment. Next scene is a dictaphone journal entry where he promises Lola that he will help her look for her parents. Is this compensation enough?


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