Angoulême- Day 1: Eiffel, Rose and A story of love and desire

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

The film : Eiffel by Martin Bourboulon

What secrets are hidden behind the construction of the Eiffel Tower? By mixing real facts and the share of invention that cinema allows, Martin Bourboulon answers this question by completing the crazy adventure of a film idea born more than 20 years ago in the head of Caroline Bongrand and which, situation health requires, has already seen its landing in theaters postponed several times. Needless to say, yesterday evening with its opening presentation of the festival and its first big meeting with the public was eagerly awaited by the entire team of this ambitious film. And the result is exciting. Because instead of telling the story of Gustave Eiffel’s construction of this monument, he makes it the driving force behind what constitutes the heart of his story. A flamboyant love story, apparently impossible because of social class difference but which will push both of its protagonists to constantly push back obstacles. The romantic is at the helm of this Eiffel, the liveliness and the refusal to be crushed by the period film side too. Both by the lively staging which marries the modernity of its characters and by the energy and alchemy that emanate from their amazing performers: Romain Duris and Emma Mackey, the revelation of Sex education in its first leading role on the big screen. Beautiful popular cinema. (in theaters October 13)

The director: Aurélie Saada with Pink

Aurélie Saada has two loves. The song of course (solo as in duet with Brigitte alongside her accomplice Sylvie Hoarau) but also the cinema. Member of the Les Quiche collective (notably with Isabelle Vitari or Benoît Pétré, the director of Thelma, Louise and Chantal), authors of Foon, she had somewhat put aside this second passion in recent years … until Pink which marks his debut in the feature film. Rose, a septuagenarian who, after the painful loss of her husband, will rebuild herself by ignoring the stereotypes of a society that would like to find love – especially in arms much younger than her – to be forbidden to her. Aurélie Saada films here the reconnection of a woman to her own desires, the rediscovery of who she really is at 78 years old, with a generosity and a greed that crosses the screen. As gifted for group scenes as in intimate face to face, as comfortable in the field of comedy as in this ability to never arouse an emotion never forced, the filmmaker shines behind the camera and this sun radiates the tape of actors that she brought together: Aure Atika, Pascal Elbé, Gregory Montel and last but not least… Françoise Fabian. The heroine of My night at Maud’s transcends this character of Rose, embodies with incredible finesse and accuracy her metamorphosis as a somewhat erased wife who has always sacrificed her desires to those of her family as a free woman, finally daring to write her story in the first person singular. An exciting first film. (in theaters December 8)

The actress: Zbeida Belhaj Amor in A story of love and desire

Leyla Bouzid does better than confirm all the high hopes placed in her after her first film, Tomorrow i open my eyes. Discovered at the Semaine de la Critique, his A story of love and desire tells the sentimental upbringing of Ahmed, a reserved young man, French of Algerian origin who grew up in the suburbs, as struck by Farah, a young Tunisian , just arrived from Tunisia, whose ardor will hamper the very strong attraction he feels for her. And the filmmaker offers a fascinating look. A stunning initiatory story in which Ahmed sees his certainties shaken up by Farah and in particular by his passion and precise knowledge of Arab erotic literature. A story of love and desire feeds greedily on the alchemy between his two magnificent performers, Sami Outalbabali – discovered as Emma Mackey in the series Sex education – and a brand newcomer, Zbeida Belhaj Amor. The one who started acting very young at 11, encouraged by her mother to overcome her shyness, had already met Leyla Bouzid for the casting of her first feature. Too young then for the role, the director has never chased her out of her head and therefore offers her six years after her baptism of fire on the big screen. It is impossible for the discovery of the film to guess that Zbeida Belhaj Amor has so far never evolved in front of a camera. Her accuracy, her naturalness, the nuances that she knows how to impart to her character are never faulted. She is one with Farah’s life-giving impetus and appears promised to the best of futures. This summer, she has just left Tunisia and moved to Paris where she joined L’Ecole du Jeu. It is always moving to witness a fate in the process of changing. (in theaters December 2)

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