Sophocles’s tragedy is transposed to present day Montreal, where Antigone (Nahéma Ricci) and her family are permanent residents in Canada but without citizenship. This puts them in danger when one of Antigone’s brothers gets in trouble with the law. He is the victim of police violence, and her act of defiance is not in his burial, but in rescuing her other brother from prison by secretly swapping places with him. Her brother could be deported back to their unnamed North African home country, despite the fact that they came to Canada as political refugees.
When Antigone is detained by the police, she becomes a symbol of resistance throughout the city and on social media. Directed by Sophie Deraspe, Nahéma Ricci’s electrifying performance brings depth and vulnerability to this contemporary take on the ancient drama, with Antigone pitted against a legal system that is as implacable as Fate in the original tragedy.