Traoré, an Ivory Coast sailor, is the assistant engineer on the cargo ship Diego Star. After a malfunction in the engine room, the ship breaks down in the St. Lawrence River and is towed to a shipyard in Lévis. Despite his protests, Traoré is blamed for the incident. While the ship is undergoing repairs, its crew is billeted with locals. As a result, Traoré meets Fanny, a young single mother who works in a cafeteria. Known for his short films (L’hiver longtemps, L’air de rien), Frédérick Pelletier delivers a sensitive and intelligent first feature, which screened at Rotterdam and won the audience prize at Lille. The film, which is bathed in cinematographer Philippe Roy’s intense, warm light, retains a beauty and a generosity despite its rigorous structure. Diego Star is a powerful but restrained portrayal of a man’s fight for justice in the midst of an economic crisis. Skilfully blending the personal and the political, this accomplished work also delves into the complexity of human relationships with great help from its magnetic leads, Issaka Sawadogo and Chloé Bourgeois.