Angoulême- 3rd day: They are alive, Les Intranquilles and Albatros

Each day, a look back at three highlights of the 2021 edition of the Francophone film festival

The film : They are alive by Jérémie Elkaïm

Ten years ago, the magnificent War is declared, which he had co-wrote with Valérie Donzelli, won the Valois d’Or in Angoulême a few months after its triumphant presentation at the Semaine de la Critique. Jérémie Elkaïm is celebrating this tenth anniversary in style by presenting his first feature film in competition this year as a director. Adapted from the book Calais my love written by Béatrice Huret (who tells her own story there, with the collaboration of Catherine Siguret), They are alive takes us to Calais in the footsteps of the widow of a cop sympathizing FN whose meeting with an Iranian teacher who arrived illegally in Europe will turn his life upside down. An eminently puzzling subject that Jérémie Elkaïm treats with great subtlety. By having the courage to take it head-on, not to dodge it, but by relying on the finesse of the characters’ writing, starting with the one, complex, rich in ambiguities and contradictions and not spontaneously sympathetic to this woman struck by a totally unexpected love. Elkaïm films these bodies as if magnetized and this desire stronger than anything with a sensuality that takes this feature film far from the banal film about it. A success

The actors: Damien Bonnard and Leïla Bekhti in The Unquiet

To see again out of competition Joachim Lafosse’s feature film which had thrilled us in Cannes is first and foremost a confirmation. That of the power … quiet of the interpretation of the two actors who play the main roles, that of a bipolar man and his companion: Damien Bonnard and Leïla Bekhti. Never in the demonstration or the stammering in relation to what the scenes tell and driven by a complicity that bursts the screen, they wonderfully play this love which unites these two beings against all odds, despite this disease preventing them from turning in circles who, regularly and more and more violently, does everything to break this link. The Unquiet is overwhelming. This emotion which embraces you without suffocating you owes them a lot. (in theaters September 29)

The director: Xavier Beauvois with Albatross

Four years later The Guardians, Xavier Beauvois is back for a film shot “at home”, near his home, in Etretat, with in front of his camera his companion (Marie-Julie Maille, intense) who is also his co-writer and editor, their daughter and many of her neighbors that one would think escaped from Flemish paintings, all fed by the confidences of her policeman friends on their daily life made up of road violence, incest, alcoholism … This daily, Beauvois tells it and films it as brilliantly as it tells of the stress of the farmers of this corner of France, suffocated by a crisis which leaves them no respite and pushes them to the limit, for lack of any glimpse of any light at the end of the road. Its staging is all the more impressive because it is invisible. She invites the viewer to share this crowd of seemingly innocuous little details which, placed end to end, yet create the conditions for a storm that will sweep away everything in its path. In appearance, his Albatross is divided into two parts. First the description of this daily life through the prism of the gaze of a local policeman (Jérémie Rénier, impressive from start to finish) on the verge of marrying his partner after years of living together, then the consequences of an accident , with a poorly controlled gesture, of those few seconds when life is turned upside down, when this policeman kills his farmer friend who was going to commit suicide while wanting to save his skin. The affable, protective man, the pillar of his family as well as of his colleagues then becomes like an undead, incapable of the slightest reaction, KO standing, frozen by fear, with the only means of survival: departure, flight into the open sea. Two parts, therefore, but one film, with an extremely ambitious scenario and knitted with the same care as this staging which grabs you without manipulating you. Beauvois loves each of the characters, each of the places he films as much as he hates this violence, this unbearable social misery always there, lurking in the shadows and ready to ruin the fragile balance and the powerful solidarity that his characters have forged between them to resist the swell. Dignity is the key word in this intense film. (in theaters November 3)

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