Original Research

La vie devant soi – Die lewe lê voor, maar ook agter ons: Hoop vir die toekoms uit traumatiese verledes?

Pieter Verster
Literator | Vol 43, No 1 | a1938 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v43i1.1938 | © 2022 Pieter Verster | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 June 2022 | Published: 15 December 2022

About the author(s)

Pieter Verster, Department of Practical and Missional Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


La vie devant soi – Life is both behind and ahead of us: Hope for the future from traumatic pasts? Momo and the film versions, Madame Rosa and The life ahead, reveal difficult pasts and hope for the future. The writer, Romain Gary, integrates migrant literature and traumatic experciences. The relation between literature, translation and visual presentations is discussed in this article. Madame Rosa, a Sjoa-survival and previous sexworker, looks after children of sexworkers. Momo, an immigrant Muslim child, lives with her. In the beginning there is opposition towards one another, but as the story develops, they start accepting one another. The article shows that difficult pasts have implication for the relationship between people. The relation between the novel and the film versions, Madame Rosa and The life ahead, is discussed. The article shows that the lives of the characters are tragic, but there is also hope brought about by shared humanity, which is present in both the novel and the film versions.

Contribution: The contribution of this article is the unique view on the comparison between the novel Momo and the film versions thereof. It creates new possibilities in the approach of literature and film theory. In this novel and its film versions hope springs directly from a traumatic past.


identity; literature; film; migrant-literature; trauma; hope


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