During a school trip to Buchenwald concentration camp, a young French teacher comes across a photograph of a man whose resemblance to his own father, Adrien, is uncanny. However, the man has a different name and died in 1942.
Returning to France, he finds that the memory of the photograph refuses to leave him. He decides to embark on a search for its subject, which takes him to the Buchenwald archives, to the heart of the Nazi machine, but more disturbingly, draws him into the dark heart of his own family. Eventually, he is brought face-to-face with his own capacity for violence.
A subtle, moving book, The Origins of Violence shows the limitless ways in which humans inflict harm on each other, and how individual people, not societies, are the perpetrators.
Paris, June 1995. In a restaurant, a waiter is violently attacked by a guest. No-one moves. Neither the Russian couple, nor the wife of the aggressor, nor the two young traders come to celebrate their first jobs on the floor. An event not worth lingering over?
All actions have consequences. And on this occasion, the brutality, indifference or cowardice of those present will signal the beginning of their individual undoing. From the fall of the Berlin wall to the financial crash of 2008, in a world defined by wealth, the crossed destinies the actors in this first scene, from Russian oligarch to property speculator weave a web. At its is Sila, the floored immigrant whose refusal to be made a victim will bring the house down.