This review provides both context for and aesthetic analysis of Idrissou Mora-Kpai’s latest film, Indochina, Traces of a Mother. Starting with a brief synthesis of historical work dealing with colonial soldiers fighting on behalf of France, it attempts to ground the multiple spaces of the French Empire in which the film takes place: West Africa and Southeast Asia, Benin, and Vietnam; the 1950s and today. Far from a politicohistorical documentary, however, Indochina explores the human possibilities of racial mixing and the psychological traumas of the Afro-Asian children most often torn from their mothers and place of birth at the close of the war. Indochina’s exploration of heretofore uncharted ground in French, African, and Vietnamese history and its insight into the unexpected psychological impacts of colonial warfare illuminate the present.

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