Cannes 2021: François Ozon’s drama divides [critique]

With Everything went well, adapted from the book by Emmnuèle Bernheim, François Ozon signs a film about the end of life with André Dussollier and Sophie Marceau. Sublime or academic? Opinions decided


Emmanuèle Bernheim and François Ozon knew each other well. Disappeared on May 10, 2017, she had signed or co-signed the screenplay for four of the director’s films: Under the sand, Swimming pool (presented in competition in Cannes in 2003), 5X2 and Ricky. But adapt Everything went very well, an intimate and painful story dedicated to the end of his collector father’s life after a stroke (published in 2013 by Gallimard and that Alain Cavalier was to bring to the screen before the disease caught up with him). author who had to play her own role, as he told it in his documentary To be alive and to know it) was not a long, quiet river. First of all, because by approaching the subject of the right to die with dignity, there is a great risk of falling into a pure film on the subject, a fire atmosphere. Files on the screen. And then because to know as well the one who told here such a painful part of her existence, there was the temptation to go there with the handbrake, not to focus on what any good adaptation requires: betrayal.

Everything went well quickly sweeps away these two concerns. We have known since Thanks to God Ozon’s ability to take hold of a strong social issue without making it into a purely societal film, by finding an angle (in this case, in this case, focusing on the point of view of the victims and stick to it). Ozon does it here in the same way, daring to accompany the clinical description of this man’s desire to end his existence before being totally diminished, as it is difficult for his daughters to take the news and then to to strive to respect his will in Switzerland through triviality or even humor that suddenly emerges. Ozon is not Haneke could one hear yesterday among the detractors of the film, at the exit of the press projection. Indeed, no and it is rather good news. Because there are necessarily a thousand and one ways to tell this story. And that precisely to try to put oneself in the footsteps ofLove would have been the worst idea ever.

Here, Ozon first and foremost creates a dialogue between two parts of his cinema: the emotional power of a Under the sand and the dirty kid aspect willingly provocative of a Sitcom. The clash of opposites. And this chronicle of an announced death becomes precisely fascinating because it refuses to lock the spectator in an emotional hostage-taking and dares to go off the road, moments of embarrassment, out of tune laughter. Life invades this story and keeps it away from any deadly temptation.

And this work is reflected in all the finesse of his direction of actors. Directing Sophie Marceau after several failed attempts, he does not lock her in a role Tchao Pantin as if to mark with stabylo the difference between his usual uses. On the contrary, he knows how to use this insane naturalness which has created this unfailing link with the French public since The party to lead it peacefully in nuances not yet explored. And above all, he has the intelligence not to make her the center of the plot. First by associating as much as possible the character of Emmanuèle Bernheim that she plays with that of her sister, interpreted with as much accuracy by Geraldine Pailhas.But above all by making the father the symbol character of this film which is never afraid to go wandering in the field of the farce.

In his career, André Dussollier has rarely had the opportunity to approach roles of pure composition. Those where you have to let go, split the armor, not to be afraid of ridicule, not to take refuge in the ease of pure emotion without anything or almost nothing protruding. To say that he is here engaged in a price race (Cannes or Caesar) would be an insult to him as he has already been able to savor these rewards in number. But that would also amount to denying a whole part of the work of an actor. The one we so often celebrate when it comes to Anglo-Saxons but we look at it with a pinch of nose and often with great ironic disdain when it comes to French people. Dussollier is amazing by his excessiveness, by the finesse that he is able to distil to transcend the obligatory and heavy physical attributes of such a character (prosthesis …). He does a great off piste skiing act and takes the movie exactly where Ozon seems to want to place it. In a place that is anything but enveloping and relaxing but disturbing or even uneasy which does not obey precisely any pre-established rule. Exactly what those who were confronted with an identical tragedy felt in their flesh

Thierry cheze


With the releases in sparsely dispersed rows of films around the end of life (Falling, The Father …, while waiting to discover here the Vortex de Gaspar Noé), we end up wondering if the filmmakers are not trying to tell us something. Would their respective specters announce an apocalypse? This is nothing new. From its birth, the cinema was immediately perceived as an old lady who would soon pass away. And what has been seen on the big screens for nearly 120 years is slow agony. Everything went well François Ozon reassures us today, the longed-for death was painless. The groans of the old man (André Dussollier face distorted as in the parade and the victim’s bumpy flow in mode: “ Jury, my good Jury, look, everything is there! “), are just appetizers before erasing.

Fine »So, just like the staging of a filmmaker of exemplary wisdom, who from film to film tries to stain his own carpet but ends up unmistakably as a cleaner behind him. This cinema, painless, plated, is easy to put together and does not support assiduous rereading since everything is said and shown without ever hiding anything (Thanks to God is no exception). So, once the surprise effect of seeing a Dussollier in close-up playing bedridden has passed, what to expect if not to detect, here and there, in an eye that borders on a quickly repressed desire to have fun with us? At its bedside, high-end French cinema (Marceau – Pailhas) feigns embarrassment but remains in the programmed role of a caste of bourgeois that we are grateful not to play the bohemian.

We would like all these films, which all look a little alike, to be the simulacrum of their own funeral. It is obviously the other way around. They make an act of resistance, clinging to the thick strings of an academism of all time acclaimed (Oscars, César …) Chance and spatio-temporal fault, in the middle of this gratin, an unpublished by George A. Romero, The Amusement Park, invited himself to the banquet last month. Through the ordeal of an old man trapped in an amusement park, the father of the living dead, now deceased, demonstrated that talking about great age does not exclude the modernity of the gesture.

Thomas Baurez

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