New Films

The Child

A Criança

A film by Marguerite de Hillerin, Félix Dutilloy-Liégeois

Starring Grégory Gadebois, Loïc Corbery, João Arrais, Maria João Pinho

In the middle of the 16th century Lisbon was a cosmopolitan city, powerful as a consequence of the expansion, a power that began to collapse whilst the rigidity of an increasingly overbearing Inquisition was installed.

This is the story of Bela (João Arrais), a young man that was adopted by a wealthy couple of French-Portuguese merchants. The story takes place near Lisbon where Bela crosses paths with Rosa (Inês Pires Tavares), the love of his life;  it is also where he meets Jacques (Loïc Corbery), a friend of his adopted parents, with whom he lives an eventful friendship. Meanwhile Bela tries to find his place, but a succession of uncontrollable events (caused by misunderstandings, ambiguities, jealousy…) lead to disaster.

Release date


Grégory Gadebois

João Arrais
Maria João Pinho

Loïc Corbery de la Comédie-Française
Inês Pires Tavares
Alba Baptista
Ulysse Dutilloy-Liégeois
Cleonise Malulo
Raimundo Cosme
Olivier Dutilloy
João Vicente

with the special guest appearance of

Albano Jerónimo


Screenplay and direction:

Marguerite de Hillerin and Félix Dutilloy-Liégeois
Freely adapted from Der Findling by Heinrich von Kleist

Image: Mário Barroso
Art direction: Zé Branco
Costumes: Lucha D'Orey
Sound: Francisco Veloso
Editor: Paulo Milhomens
Sound editor: Pedro Góis, Elsa Ferreira
Assistant director: Raquel Teixeira
Production manager: Catarina Alves
Produced by Paulo Branco

An Alfama Films Production 

and Leopardo Filmes co-production

With the participation of
Instituto do Cinema e do Audiovisual
Ministério da Cultura
Rádio e Televisão de Portugal

Marguerite de Hillerin

Marguerite de Hillerin appeared in Le Sommeil de la terre (Slumber of the earth) by Félix Dutilloy-Liégeois. From then on, both of them never stopped comparing their ideas, imagining new stories and new ways of telling them. They both wrote and directed Au Mont (At the Mount) and Les Ruines en été (Ruins in summer), whose themes such as the disappearance, loss and replacement match those of L’Enfant (The Child).

Félix Dutilloy-Liégeois

During the spring of 2018, Félix Dutilloy-Liégeois wrote and directed with Marguerite de Hillerin Au Mont (At the Mount). In August 2019, they directed a medium-length film, Les Ruines en été (Ruins in summer) which chronicles the return of a brother to a family bereaved by the son's death. This film allows the duo to discuss certain fundamental themes of L’Enfant (The Child).

  • Rotterdam International Film Festival 2022

    Official Selection - Tiger Competition

  • Cinespaña Festival 2022

    Panorama Portugal

  • São Paulo International Film Festival 2022

    New Filmmakers Competition

  • ShorTS International Film Festival 2022

    Nuove Impronte

Marguerite de Hillerin, Félix Dutilloy-Liégeois

Directors' Statement

When Paulo Branco and his son Juan asked us to write or adapt a story, one of us thought of “The Foundling”, Kleist's concise short story. Our passion for the text was mutual: in the writings of the German author, we found rich material and echoes of cinema.


Our rewriting effort led us to the creation of a family fresco that unfolds over six days in Portugal, in 1554. The central character is Bela, a boy from a poor neighbourhood in Lisbon, adopted by a wealthy Franco-Portuguese couple to replace a child lost in the colonies.

Portugal in the mid-16th century is both at the height of its power and on the verge of decline. Lisbon is a place where wealth from all over the world concentrates. But the great expansion stagnated. The Inquisition became an institution and hence a political force that constrained the life of the kingdom’s subjects. It became a tool for imposing morality, extending its power beyond religious concerns to determine what constituted good and bad conducts. Individual freedoms dwindled, shaping an increasingly narrow world.


We love stories, we love wandering souls, troubled hearts, we love stormy skies, we love the songs of lost birds in the night, we love the eternity of a beach near the sea, the sweetness of an afternoon in the tall grass, we love bumpy paths; we love Branca who will betray Rosa for love, Rosa who will sacrifice Bela for her freedom, Maria who loves a ghost madly, Pierre who writes poems and recites them in the shelter of the world, Afonso who has lived several lives, Jacques who lives his in a dream and detached from the current reality, and finally Bela, our boy of light who will fall.

Marguerite de Hillerin and Félix Dutilloy-Liégeois

News about The Child

Traces and The Child honored at the 2022 São Paulo Film Festival

The film by Tiago Guedes and the one by Marguerite de Hillerin and Félix Dutilloy-Liégeois were presented at the 46th edition of the São Paulo International Film Festival

The Child in the spotlight at Cinespaña 2022

The Child will be screened at Panorama Portugal during the 27th edition of the Toulouse festival


THE CHILD, the first film by Marguerite de Hillerin and Félix Dutilloy-Liégeois is currently in the cinema and the press loves it!

Press review

"This tapestry of mysteries and tragedies is fodder for melodrama, but de Hillerin and Dutilloy-Liégeois opt for a different and far more artistic approach. Leisurely paced, The Child‘s carefully studied set of tableaux, ...

Marc van de Klashorst, International Cinephile Society

"The contemporary feel of the film stands out. […] We can grasp the film’s historical and social setting in a more natural, familiar way, whilst also enjoying the beautifully curated designs worn by each character."

Teresa Vieira, Cineurope

"The fact that Marguerite de Hillerin and Félix Dutilloy-Liégeois dare to make their debut with a film that holds back, as it were, that is not so much elusive as it escapes in a marvellous way, commands respect and admiration."

Critics’ Choice VIII Re/United

"[...] the two directors chose a story by von Kleist for their debut, not to perform the most classic of stylistic exercises, but to observe human affairs in their chiaroscuro..."

Mazzino Montinari, Close Up

“The idyllic locations and forbidden relationship make for an allegory of rich and powerful classes degenerating into weakness."

Alina Trabattoni, Screendaily

Matériel à télécharger

Subscribe to our mailing list