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Film / The White Knights

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The White Knights (French: Les Chevaliers Blancs) is a 2015 Belgian-French drama film directed by Joachim Lafosse and starring Vincent Lindon. The plot is based on the true story of Zoé's Ark controversy.

A French charity organization, Move for Kids, carries out a mission in an African country. Its members try to gather young orphans to bring them to host families in France. The problem is that they do not have the proper authorizations for this operation. And they do not tell the Africans that they want to bring the children to France.


The White Knights provides examples of:

  • Anti-Villain: The workers of Move for Kids are well-intentioned extremists.
  • Based on a True Story: The plot is based on the true story of Zoé's Ark controversy.
  • Defector from Decadence: Chris Laurent and other workers decide to abort the mission when they realize that Jacques has no evidence that the children are really orphans.
  • Double-Meaning Title: White knight means "one that comes to the rescue of another, one that champions a cause", but white can also refer to the colour of the skin of the protagonists.
  • Finagle's Law: Nothing goes as planned. The plane to go to the villages is out of order. When the workers finally get to the villages, there are no children. When they finally find children, they hear that some of them are not orphans. Other are too old to be adopted.
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  • Foregone Conclusion: If you know what happened in 2007 with the members of Zoé's Ark, you can guess that the protagonists will be arrested when they try to get out of the country with the children.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: Xavier's plane breaks down just when the workers of Move for Kids need to use it. This is used to show that Jacques and other workers are ready to ignore the rules, to take unnecessary risks and to lie.
  • Roman à Clef: The name of the organization and the names of the characters were changed. The African country where the events happen is not named.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: The philosophy of Move for Kids, and of Jacques, its leader, in particular: they ignore both local and French laws and regulations, because they think that they are right to do it.
  • Tactful Translation: Xavier, the pilot, acts as interpreter between Jacques and a local contact. Jacques wants to know if there will be children in a village when the aid workers will go there. The local contact answers in his language that he does not know. Xavier then tells Jacques: no problem.
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  • Villain Protagonist: The protagonist, Jacques, ignores both local and French laws and regulations. He lies to everybody (the African headmen, the peace-keeping soldiers, the French host families...). He plans to bring children to France, even if he is not sure that they are really orphans. Downplayed, because he is an Anti-Villain.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The workers of Move for Kids act for a good cause: they want to save orphan children and to give them a better future in France. In order to reach this goal, they ignore both local and French laws and regulations, they lie to the Africans (they pretend that the children will stay in their base camp) and the French host families (he tells them that the children are all orphans), and they are ready for bring children to France even if they are not sure that they are really orphans.

Alternative Title(s): Les Chevaliers Blancs


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