When we grew up in the 80s, the son of immigrant workers, in a town of 4,000 inhabitants in a department known to be the champion in all categories of accidents due to excessive alcohol consumption and the only one in France to have ‘having an escalator, how do you get to culture? The library ? You can imagine that there were none. The movie theater ? Fine, as long as you don’t want to dig further than Gremlins or Police Academy. In fact, it’s much simpler: everything was on TV. At 10, rich or poor, we had all seen a Kurosawa or a Tod Browning, broadcast at the Friday film club on Antenna 2, we had already remembered the names of Chabrol or Walter Hill and we had all wondered what we would look with the nice red pelisse that Robert Mitchum wore in the winter western Track of the Cat, caught on the fly at the midnight Cinema on a night of parental break. You could come home from a grueling soccer match, collapse on the couch and suddenly be captivated by the sad look of Tatiana Samoïlova in When the storks pass. And that did not prevent, in the same spirit, from going to see the Claws of the night at the 5 p.m. session and enjoy De Funès or even the Charlots. On the contrary, even: this mixture, it would become our wealth.
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Monday, Netflix announced to have signed an exceptional agreement with MK2, which would translate as of the weekend by the arrival on the platform of 50 films signed François Truffaut, Alain Resnais, David Lynch, Jacques Demy or Krzysztof Kieslowski. Everyone applauded. Normal. This news is never bad. Netflix takes out the holy card of culture to make us forget its production poverty cooked in water, governed by a debilitating specification and the fact that it still does not pay its taxes in France. Meanwhile, the bulk of the public service never stops letting its lukewarm water tap run without fill of boxes and umpteenth reruns. It’s not so much that you get tired of the indefatigable De Funès. But the only thing is. You can’t go to the back of the store, fall by mistake on a piece of Truffaut or Lynch. Whether we like it or not, it doesn’t matter. What matters is to have access to it, to identify it, to realize later that on this side, we are as well armed as more privileged people – even better, since we will also have seen the Charlots .
But no, Truffaut and Lynch, it will be on Netflix, where you have to pay the entrance fee, where nobody will launch them by chance, only to reassure an informed public, already familiar with these names and these films, who will appreciate that he is served his own soup, that he is found guilty of frequenting the same shop as fans of the Casa de Papel. Thirty-five years ago, the public service passed a Truffaut and the sons of immigrant workers discovered Paris on the back of Antoine Doinel. Today, Netflix announces Alain Resnais, it will make one more thumbnail on the home page and we have the impression more than ever to see the gap widening. No, this news is never bad. But they are sometimes sacred confessions of defeat.
On March 14, when spectators learned of the cinemas’ decree closing until further notice, the reactions of some suggested that devotees had taken the altar away. For the distributors, the shock was no less severe. There are those who had bet on keeping their film in theaters on March 11, despite the rampant pandemic threat. Best start last week, with 170,000 spectators in four days, the good wife de Martin Provost seemed promised to a few million admissions before seeing his career ended. “The choice to keep the exit seems a bit naive today, recognizes the director of Memento Distribution, Alexandre Mallet-Guy. But as the films canceled their releases one after the other, we said to ourselves that we had to think about the cinemas that were going to suffer. “ The company is counting on an upcoming release in cinemas, the reopening horizon of which remains unknown. “We have invested 2 million euros in exit costs, we cannot afford to sit on operating revenues, notes the distributor. The operators were grateful that we maintained our exit and assured us that they would be by our side. ” The expensive outingA mermaid in Paris which, in the same period of time constrained by the health crisis – but also with regard to a questionable attractiveness -, could only gather 18,000 spectators, also seems to demand to reach a depreciation in cinemas as soon as the return to the normal.
If the investments are less, the crisis crossed is even more delicate for other smaller structures. The communion, Released on March 4 after a successful festival career, looked to be a very promising Polish outsider for Bodega Films (36,000 viewers in the first week of exhibition). “I hope we can resume our theatrical programming, wants to believe the distributor Laurence Moulin, but we just can’t afford to reinvest in an advertising budget. “ Same constraints for Paname Distribution, which released the Brazilian film more confidentially on Wednesday Three Summers. “Seeing a film slashed overnight after four days, when the market was already down, represents a catastrophic loss investment, deplores the distributor Laurence Gachet. It’s important to feel supported by the exhibitors, who kindly offered to take the film back, but we won’t be able to put money back into promoting it. Are we sure the film has enough strength to be released in a month or two? “
For the latter as for others, the question of an accelerated availability of films on video on demand (VOD) arises. If we do not yet know everything about the duration of the crisis, the debate on the creation of a window derogating from the brazen rules of the media chronology is already invited to the National Cinema Center (CNC) .
Films whose theatrical release has abruptly stopped could thus be authorized to exceptionally find rapid outlets in VOD, without contravening their commitments of exclusivity with the exhibitors and other actors of the chain (television, DVD). This thanks to article 21 added to the emergency bill to deal with Covid-19, which provides for an adjustment of the cinema code for films which were still the object of a theatrical release on March 14, by decision of the president of the CNC. In an open letter to the Minister of Culture published on Wednesday, the president of the National Federation of French Cinemas, Richard Patry, declared “Speak out with the greatest force against this measure” and denounced a “Provocation and an additional humiliation for all the cinema exhibitors in our country who are committed to the end to maintain the social bond at the heart of our cities after having watched with anguish as the closure measures became widespread and the deprogramming of the films that ‘They were committed to carry whatever the cost’. The bill is yet to be examined by parliament by Friday. In the United States, heavyweights Universal and Warner Bros. have decided to accelerate the movement: to fill their empty hours, confined spectators will be able to legally obtain The Invisible Man, the Trolls 2 and Birds of Prey on VOD starting next week.
Traffic jam in sight
“We would like to avoid rushing into an overly radical and premature decision, exhibits Stéphane Huard from Sony Pictures. The important thing is that each form of exploitation benefits from an exclusivity, and this is the model that we support. If this period were to last, however, and all the stakeholders could come to an agreement to have a revised operating period, we are also favorable. “
For films that have not yet been released in theaters but which have benefited from a classic funding process with the support of the CNC, the current chronology also prohibits direct release on VOD. An easing of the rule seems desirable, but the risk of content drowning in the luxuriance of the streaming offer is also to be feared. “It’s not enough to say that a film is available on VOD, worries Michèle Halberstadt of the ARP. We need editorial work. Are we ready to do it now? And the platform audience is not the same as the audience we work in theaters. “ The inaction proving too unbearable, the vending machine will finally come out Born in jerusalem and Mano de Obra on VOD in April without going through theaters, like Shellac, including the beautiful documentary Mr. Deligny, efficient wanderer will be available on request Wednesday.
Not everyone will adopt the same strategy. Etienne Ollagnier, general delegate of the Syndicate of independent distributors, describes “Intense union discussions”.“Going too quickly into a logic of recasting the media chronology could have a disastrous impact. For us, independent distributors who make a living from success in theaters, VOD represents only a very small part of our revenue. “
To cope with the most urgent, a rescue plan of the CNC has already been unveiled on March 11 and 13: suspension of payment of the March 2020 payment of the tax on cinema tickets to support the cash flow of cinemas , accelerated payment of subsidies for arthouse establishments, increased support for distributors and cinemas… Reinforced support seems all the more desirable since the end of the crisis suggests a heavy traffic congestion of films when cinemas reopen, between those whose careers ended prematurely, the numerous outings postponed indefinitely (among the big ones, Mulan, Sans un noise 2, Pinocchio or, on the French side, Poissonsexe, Erase history, Daronne…) and those of already postponed to summer or early fall (Petit Pays on August 26, Mignonnes on June 3, etc.)“If the rooms were to reopen in May, we will not necessarily be too many to go out at the same time, however advises Alexandre Mallet-Guy, because usually a lot of Cannes films are released at that time. We still don’t know if the Festival will take place. ” Priority at present: do not“Spoil” movies.“Until they are out, their potential is intact, says Michèle Halberstadt. But when the market resumes its course after what could be weeks of confinement, what appetite will people have for cinema? ”
The strength ofA son, the first feature by Tunisian Mehdi M. Barsaoui, is mainly due to the skill of his script, which manages to intertwine many social, political and moral questions in a single family drama. A Tunisian good society couple and their son are targeted by a group of terrorists whom they have the misfortune to meet on a deserted road; a stray bullet reaches the child, is seriously injured and requires a liver transplant. Knowing who will be the organ donor requires a revelation that will deeply affect the couple (his father is not his parent), in addition to causing a series of dilemmas and negotiations symptomatic of dysfunctions in Tunisian society: inequalities between classes, patriarchy, weight of religion, insufficient public services, cynical trafficking.
The tragedy of this well-to-do family brutally confronted with violence and corruption from which it was previously preserved resonates in a precise historical context – the story taking place in August and September 2011, a few months after the Arab Spring and the fall of the President. Ben Ali -, to demonstrate how an apparent political appeasement is not enough to cure an entire country of its ills, shortcomings and archaisms. The different ways of obtaining a liver to save the life of a child can then be perceived as so many ways of using the past to preserve the future, by prolonging the mischief or by exceeding them; by being truly modern and democratic or by behaving like a scoundrel for personal interest.
Formally fairly conventional, the film is rather effective when it is content with the facts, but becomes heavy as soon as it dwells on psychology or emotions. Bold accelerations or ellipses can succeed slow planes on the defeated faces and lost looks of the characters, emphasizing their dismay or their sadness with the help of unsubtle music.
While saluting the relevance of the political allegory and the undeniable force of two or three scenes (those concerning the trafficking in children’s organs), it is thus regrettable thatA son stays within the limits of a good thesis film, never overflowing with what he seeks to demonstrate, by daring to venture neither on the side of melodrama nor that of the cruel fable that his script nevertheless contained in power.
Subtitle “A trip rock from Rosto”, Thee Wreckers Tetralogy has the merit of bringing to light a form that has fallen into disuse: that of rock opera, a megalomaniac gesture by which a group stretches out of itself to give a graphic translation to its music.
Latex. The total work is precisely the ambition of the Dutchman Rosto, filmmaker, musician and author of comics who envisioned (he died in March 2019) his various practices as an extension of the same gesture. By suturing four short films made from 2008 to 2018 and a making-of, this feature film allows films by Rosto, a creature of festivals, to enter a more mainstream distribution circuit and to go beyond the audiences of Annecy and Clermont or type UFO broadcasts Mensomadaire.
In four acts and as many pieces, Thee Wreckers Tetralogy composes a sibylline fable, a kind ofStrange Christmas of Mister Jack for very depressed, in which there is a quartet of rockers in black suits and with oblong, fuzzy, crumpled and creepy faces. To the cathode layouts of No Place Like Home, where a man gets lost in the contemplation of his past by screens interposed in a room which rocks like a drunken boat, succeeds a run through a gray and anonymous city, reminiscence of the totalitarian expressionist metropolises and a deadly tour in hearse. More than the hymns with the false accents of Tom Waits, it is the plastic which sucks the ease with which Rosto summons various techniques into a baroque image. He combs his actors’ heads with giant latex heads, makes them shake before retracting their bodies or reshaping them in 3D.
References. On the screen is added the cartoon, transparency or overlay effects, when the film does not seem to pulsate like a lung. If this prolonged immersion can reassure a spectator immersed for the first time in this universe, on the contrary it can also cause a feeling of suffocation by letting too much appear the conscious or not references of Rosto (Marc Caro, Vaughan Oliver, Dave McKean ). The film already tends, by always seeking the strong image, to cannibalize itself, a plan chasing the other. Remains at the gates of boredom, we are mowed down by some flashes like this emergence of the final Super-8, very beautiful sequence at the Muybridge where a child multiplies while the film projected in a living room is cut and deformed bumping into furniture.
Now that the prize list has fallen, the time has come for a final review of this successful 70e Berlinale, to evoke a few films that have been able to float in the memory of the festival critic exhausted by an overflow of images, German coffee and stuffy pretzels.
Siberia of Abel Ferrara. Vivo film. Maze pictures. Piano
Let’s start with an aberration, which we cannot say whether we like it or not, one of the most awaited films of the competition which created an almost general perplexity: Siberia by Abel Ferrara. It is a series of enigmatic visions and encounters experienced by an American, Clint (Willem Dafoe), running a bar in the middle of Siberia. Memories, dreams, nightmarish or mystical apparitions are linked together in this trip where we guess the clear influence of Andrei Tarkovski. Many critics found the film grotesque, and most of the spectators in the very large room of the Friedrichstadt-Palast, where we saw it, had apparently chosen to consider that they were facing a comedy. We do not hide the fact that certain situations or ideas made us smile and that it is quite difficult to genuinely adhere to this mystical-psychoanalytic peregrination in which Ferrara immerses us in the obscure depths of his imagination. But, in addition to the fact that the film arouses in us the sympathy of unclassifiable and netless objects, it is undeniable that the one who produced it is a real filmmaker, who knows how to create singular images, invent a complex mental space or seize us by a simple connection between two planes. And in a festival where there are so many films in one day, sometimes of great platitude or shapeless blistering, this Siberia so mocked at least had the audacity to explore in its own way nothing less than the twists and turns of cinematic time and space, through those of dream and memory.
Malmkrog by Cristi Puiu. Mandragora
It is in a completely different way that we recognize a strong sense of duration and framework in the long, complex and sometimes sumptuous shots that constitute Malmkrog (presented in the Encounters section), the new film by Romanian filmmaker Cristi Puiu (discovered in 2005 with the extraordinary the Death of Dante Lazarescu). Shots that are not just the result of a skill in framing and photographing, but that are constantly tended by life and the words that unfold therein. Adapting texts from the Russian philosopher and poet Vladimir Soloviev, this 3:20 am film takes place in a unique place: a mansion in Transylvania where Nikolai, a large landowner, welcomes Christmas friends of aristocrat friends, of different nationalities. Between meals and board games, their main activity consists in sharing their visions of the world, essentially in French, around subjects as big as death, progress, religion, morals. We think of Manoel de Oliveira, with less humor although the film is not devoid of fantasy and strangeness. You can get lost in conversations but it is the very word that matters, the need to keep talking, to think out loud even if it turns out to be increasingly complex and perilous.
Days from Tsai Ming-liang. Homegreen Films
Days by Tsai Ming-liang (in competition) marks the return to fiction after seven years of absence (since stray dogs, in 2013) from another great filmmaker of the plan, of their slow deployment over time. He is equal to himself in his new film where, far from Puiu’s talks, almost no words are spoken. Again, he becomes attached to solitudes that will eventually intersect. In the countryside, a man (Lee Kang-sheng, the filmmaker’s favorite actor since his first film) with tired and slow gestures, seems to be bored and suffering physically, requiring baths, massages and acupuncture sessions; in the city, a younger man, on the contrary, is distinguished by the dexterity of his gestures, especially when he is washing food and cooking it. In the montage that shows them evolving in parallel, elements visible in almost every plane already unite them: water, fire, plants, present in many forms. The film is tied to the meeting of the two men where, for the time of a sensual and then sexual massage, the skillful hands of the first relieve the tired body of the second, until enjoyment. It is very clear and very beautiful, no offense to the impatient.
The Woman Who Ran from Hong Sang-soo. Jeonwonsa Film Co. Production
In Hong Sang-soo, the precision and rigor of the plans is not as obvious as in Puiu or Tsai. The Korean filmmaker, who claims Rohmer’s influence, again appears in The Woman Who Ran (presented in competition) a lightness and a simplicity that the frames, panoramas or zooms scrutinize with acuity but without will to artificially embellish their obviousness. A young woman (the magnificent filmmaker’s muse Kim Minhee) takes advantage of her husband’s business trip to visit three former friends. Through their conversations mixing very concrete and material subjects – the price of things, neighborhood problems, food, vegetarianism -, Hong deals in his own way with very contemporary questions, with a humor that gradually turns to melancholy . Ultimately, this film in which the few men who appear are troublesome and essentially filmed from behind, evokes a certain female solitude, chosen or suffered. To cold surveillance camera shots, Hong sets his gaze on the lookout, available to prodigious chances, such as this camera movement which reveals a perfectly placed and attentive cat at the end of a long shot where the stake of the conversation was precisely the presence of cats in the vicinity. A plan so miraculous that it sparked applause in an entire room of criticism in Berlin.
In the recesses of the parallel selections, a few films with modest means made, like Hong Sang-soo, of their economic poverty an engine of freshness and vitality. In Boarding (Panorama section), the new film by Guillaume Brac, declared admirer of the Korean filmmaker, we follow the summer getaway of two friends going to find in the Drôme the conquest of an evening of one of them. As in July tales (2018), Brac turns again with young actors from the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art, rediscovering something of the adventurous spirit of Jacques Rozier’s films but by matching it to the languages, cultures and customs of a very contemporary youth . As always with Brac, under his apparent humility the film is precise and dense, in addition to being funny and extremely endearing.
In Isabella (presented to Encounters), the Argentinian Matías Piñeiro films another friendly adventure, but coupled with an ambiguous rivalry. Two young theater actresses apply for the same role, that of Isabella in Measure for measure of William Shakespeare, while the brother of one is the lover of the other. It is a film about envy, in the double sense of the word – desire and jealousy – where the Rivetian play with the theater is made more complex (something new in Piñeiro) by a play with chronology and a formalism which sometimes leads to on an abstraction of colors and shapes. A captivating and confusing film that will perhaps be enjoyed above all by those who already know Piñeiro’s cinema, all the elements of which (theater, friendship, acting, speech) are here reorganized in a more free and mysterious way.
Finally, one of the great discoveries of the festival was A metamorfose dos pássaros, the first feature by Portuguese catarina Vasconcelos (presented at Encounters), shot for less than 100,000 euros. It is a biography of the filmmaker’s own family, of his grandparents and parents, reconstituted in beautiful fine-line shots essentially framing gestures, objects, photographs, and playing on materials, colors, simple visual effects (the recurrent use of a magnifying glass, for example) while voiceovers follow one another to evoke moments in the life of each. Imagine a Cavalier film filmed by Manoel de Oliveira (still him) to get an idea of the beauty and originality of this minimalist and poetic family novel. The kind of unexpected little pearls that we always hope to find in this clutter of films that is a film festival as bloated as the Berlinale.
Sometimes it only takes a few things for a film to haunt cinephile imaginations: a slamming title like an oxymoron shrouded in mystery, a silhouette of a woman lost in the mist, her spectral presence captured in the compactness of the void around her of her, a man whom this mad solitude imperiously attracts because it echoes hers. Stories of ghosts, waiting and impossible love … Unknown and long neglected – it was not until the 90s to discover it in France in its original version -, Sleepless nights (1957) by Luchino Visconti is, however, one of those works whose imprint can be seen in filmmakers as diverse as Jean-Claude Guiguet or a Jacques Demy whose La Lola, awaiting the return of his great love, freely evokes Natalia of the Notti bianche, who every night returns inexorably to wait on a bridge infused with devouring shadows for the one who had given him an appointment a year earlier. Adapted from a short story by Dostoevsky, that Robert Bresson (Four Nights of a Dreamer), James Gray (Two Lovers) and Paul Vecchiali (Sleepless nights on the pier) will also bring to the screen with more or less fever, the film of Visconti, by the tale atmosphere and the diffuse dreaminess which emanates from it, somewhat confused those who had too quickly affiliated the filmmaker to neorealism and perceived this poetic foray breaking down the boundaries between dream and reality like betrayal. Visconti initially wanted to film in natural settings, but had to give it up for budgetary reasons, and it was in the Cinecittà studios that this fragment of an unnamed city was reconstructed, which could resemble Livorno with its blind alleys and shimmering canals . This constraint, he made a bias, claiming, with a sumptuous black and white crossed by fluffy shards – effect rendered by tulle veils filtering the lens -, the artifice of a decor that therefore seems n ‘ to be the receptacle of the hopes and fantasies of the grieving youngster. A mental extension of his inner life.
This idea is reinforced by the staging bringing flashbacks, circular panoramas (inherited from Renoir), linking without break in a confused space-time, the present and the memory. Because Sleepless nights is above all the story of a (double) romantic projection – therefore cinematographic. As in the cinema, everything is about screen, light and desire. Mario (Marcello Mastroianni, as brilliant in the burlesque – the epileptic dance – as in the emotion), dies of loneliness in this city where he knows no one, and the love which Natalia inspires in him (Maria Schell all in minauderies but perfect as a mad hysterical virgin, half exalted half watery) is only the reflection of his own emotional misery. Likewise, the young woman’s romanticism, the senseless love she has for the stranger of her dreams because he just looked at her (Jean Marais, ghostly, disturbing and austere figure), is a construction, a feeling less tested than fantasized, where the idea of love remains the only plank of salvation to which to cling to despair, to delirium. A fixed idea, a magnificent obsession.
Celebration day. This February 12 is Alexis Manenti’s birthday. For his 38th birthday, he met at 6 p.m. under the paneling of his favorite bar. Coiled against the Splendid Theater, not far from home, in the Xe arrondissement, he likes to go all night long in this cozy lair. The manager, his friend Rami, takes out the champagne. He also has a gift, a VHS from Black Mic Mac, old comedy from the 80s on the Parisian African community. “Heavy, heavy”, Said Manenti, who you dare not ask if he has a working VCR.
We discovered the actor’s existence at Libe. In the fall, a film by Thierry de Peretti was shot on our premises: the true story of two journalists investigating a police scandal against the backdrop of international drug trafficking. Alexis Manenti plays with Pio Marmaï the Woodward and Bernstein of the Altice Campus. He was particularly involved, going as far as imitating our colleague’s tics on the screen, between frantic re-hair and expressive trituration of his ring. During false editorial conferences, he had fun defending his subjects with passion. To be frank, we hadn’t noticed more than that, all the same, noting his lyrical improvisations as a clumsy poet during a scene sprinkled with drinks. There remained for us “the guy next to Pio Marmaï”, a handsome kid attracting all the enamored glances of the editorial staff.
Then we ended up seeing wretched where, in addition to having co-written the script, he plays a racist policeman from the BAC nicknamed “Pink Pig”, and we got it. The correctness of play of the loustic, his returned anger which only asks to explode, the moments when the mask cracks. Between the towers of Montfermeil (Seine-Saint-Denis), there is a total ball of nerves, an incandescent explosion. “He doesn’t brake, he offers, he takes a lot of risks and often, it’s fair enough, said his friend Damien Bonnard, the nice cop from the film. It’s pretty good to see, not everyone does it. He doesn’t censor himself for what he feels or imagines. “ We were seduced, like several million spectators. For six months, he has provided after-sales service until Friday and the Caesars, where he is named among the best hopefuls. He remains surprised by the political scope given to the feature film, he who “Don’t vote too much” : “I play a role, I am not an elected. Otherwise, if you listen to me, you shave everything, you make parking lots and 4-star restaurants free for me … And swimming pools with slides! It is not up to me to say what the solution is for the suburbs. “
The day before our meeting, he returned from California, where the work of Ladj Ly left empty-handed with the Oscars. He enjoys waiting for a limousine taxi behind Scarlett Johansson and on the formal side of the ceremony. He preferred the atmosphere of the Spirit Awards, the awards of indie films. “You get drunk, you can eat, go out and smoke cigarettes”, he said, stroking his stomach, in an unconscious circular motion with his hand. His tic. The champagne is finished, his friend takes out a good bottle of red.
Alexis Manenti grew up in the Ve. His parents are psychoanalysts. The father is of Corsican origin, the mother is Yugoslav, daughter of Croatian war heroes, diplomats under Tito. He spent all his summer vacation on the Adriatic coast, speaks the language, is preparing a short film in Belgrade. He says : “I have always been educated like a Frenchman, but having been there a lot is part of me.” As a teenager, schooling is chaotic, he goes from the public to private clubs, hardly passes the bac. He is bored, gives a damn about the brothel in progress, then is completely absent. “There were a lot of books in the house, that’s why I liked to get dirty outside. I knew I could read them sooner or later. “ We ask him if he did not have anger or a rejection of this cultural environment. He says : “No no.” He remembers the movies he watched with his father and younger brother, the Baron of Münchhausen or the Blues Brothers, or those discovered thanks to a French teacher, Citizen Kane, Rules of the Game. A little later, he said: “My father died when I was 16”, you can barely hear him, he swallows the words and changes the subject. Ah …
In zinc, it swings a bit back and forth. At the moment, he is showing K contrary, where he plays an 18th century ketamine dealere. He will be a Serbian thug in Damien Chazelle’s next Netflix series, which is set in Paris. Projects are pouring in. It has not always been the case. For years he struggled, small roles in fleeting appearances. Barely a major, however, he embodies a Romanian sneaker thief beside his pumps in a court of the collective Kourtrajmé of which he is a part. Romain Gavras, Ladj Ly and company are his friends. He was previously unknown to the gang. He says : “With Kourtrajmé, I thought we were going to stay together and make films all our lives.” A time : “Some have made more personal choices, have had children. I started to cast, I found it humiliating, it got me drunk.“Until agent Delphine Sagnier, Ludivine’s sister, puts him back on track, he does a lot of odd jobs. “Between 23 and 28 years old, I just work. I am not in depression but I do not know where I am going. I’m a little disgusted with cinema. ” He sells laptops, works in a tourist shop or at Gibert Joseph. Always at a distance. “I liked the concept of playing a role. I played the waiter, the cashier… For a while, and then I changed. ” Well, maybe we touch something, the pain we see the veil in the wind while grasping only the contours: Alexis Manenti does not always give the impression of being completely there, as s ‘he was looking at himself. As a discreet observer.
After our discussion, the “Single without children” who is close to Bertrand Grébaut, chef of the Septime, and likes good food, has planned to go to the restaurant with a “lady”. He hesitates between drinking another glass and keeping his sweater ugly or going to put on a suit to impress him. A friend comes over to say hello. Pierre Grillet, lyricist from Bashung, thirty years older and a true admiration for the actor. He discovered it in a supporting role, liked it “At a glance”. “I always believed in him, I don’t know why”, he said. He wanted to write him a character, saw him play Baudelaire. He would have liked the Parisian titi, who is too often confined for the moment to thugs. The head of the job? He dreamed of filming for Albert Serra, loved Death of Louis XIV. Or in “Romantic comedies with Lily-Rose Depp”. Alexis Manenti laughs: “I haven’t made love to the camera yet. At 38, I’m a cinema virgin, it’s starting to be a bit problematic. ” He picks up a half.
“Ithere is always something to see, provided you know how to look “, throws Paul Wagner (Maurice Ronet), during a bourgeois reception, to a friend who was annoyed by his rascal escapade escapades. Occurring in the first third of Scandal (1967), a false crime fiction and a true philosophical treatise on madness, almost anecdotal aside seems to give the viewer the keys to the film. It’s as much a sentence of a film buff as of an entomologist, a great architect of the world, having the gift of double vision or the sense of observation, to detect what is hidden behind appearances. But above all, she says that the world is not one, there is always another story, a logic that escapes logic, and that everything is a matter of look, interpretation, and therefore delirium. This is the occult subject that this thirteenth feature hides under its twisted whimsical air, whose codes Chabrol does not really respect – crimes but no investigation, no end of story, since nothing is unequivocal . It’s almost like it’s all in the head and sick brain of a character with shaky reason. The intrigue plays on this ambiguity: following a head trauma during an attack, where a prostitute was strangled before his eyes before he lost consciousness, Paul Wagner (Ronet, masterful as a childish and disturbed hero) is sometimes subject to absences. When other women around him are murdered, everything suggests that he may be the murderer, unless he is the victim of a plot, which we imagine to have been hatched by his cousin Christine (Yvonne Furneaux), wealthy champagne merchant, married to Christopher (Anthony Perkins), a former gigolo, who wishes to sell the domain of which Paul is still the owner of the name and exerts pressure and blackmail on him. But the presence of a blonde vamp (Stéphane Audran, beauty of elusive sphynx), haunting the place, leaves other mysteries hovering …
We are far from the original idea of producer Raymond Eger – a murder in a nudist camp. To the “sans-pagne”, Chabrol and his accomplice from the start, Paul Gégauff, never stingy with Lacanian puns, will have preferred “champagne”. A rotten wine, like the big bourgeoisie that the filmmaker brushes with vitriol in their decadent evenings. Gégauff’s cynical pen infuses the film with an atmosphere of destructive madness that echoes the formal biases of the staging. From the credits in the colorful colors, Chabrol accredits the idea of a mental film by multiplying the plans stretched to abstraction, the fluid circular movements, the slowness, the pattern of the spiral – wink at Vertigo by Hitchcock, who also evokes the role of the double brunette / blonde woman and the presence of Anthony Perkins.
Chabrol will often say that he was influenced by the thought of the philosopher Alfred Korzybski, general semantics and non-Aristotelian logic, namely the idea that a subject is always trapped in his representations. Starting from an undecidable point – is it Paul who is mad or the world around him, or both? -, the film constantly seems to adjust to the flickering perception of the hero, often under the influence of alcohol, and this distortion of reality is visually translated by formal audacity, games of mirrors and transparencies, dense decor of heterogeneous statues and objects, and up to the creeping gestures of Ronet. An astonishing final plan, taking height, will replace the scenario writer in the position of the demiurge entomologist, observing his characters, tangled bodies, to (d) fight like three worms in a box.