Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
This impassioned documentary had a tremendous political effect in Belgium, its country of origin. It concerns the appalling mistreatment of children kept in the custody of the state, and the film is made by a man who was himself such a child. Because of strict laws forbidding children under age 16 to be photographed for any reason, the children in this film had to wear disguises. The filmmakers also had to meet the children clandestinely, as the professional child-care specialists and the government were decidedly unsupportive. In one scene, a little girl shows the cigarette burns she has received. Others are equally harrowing. Despite an avowed policy of having these children (usually orphans) adopted by loving families, it is much more financially rewarding for the people who run the childcare homes to keep them in their indifferent care.