Ouistreham: the winning return of Emmanuel Carrère to the cinema [critique]

Emmanuel Carrère adapts Le Quai de Ouistreham, by Florence Aubenas, and continues his reflection on the part of vampirism inherent in the profession of writer.

Emmanuel Carrère was supposed to be done with the cinema. In the first pages of the Kingdom, he explained that the realization of The moustache, in 2005, had made him understand that he was not made for that. He has obviously changed his mind, although in reality his adaptation of the Quai de Ouistreham, Florence Aubenas’ book-survey, serves him above all to extend his concerns as a writer by other means. The heroine of the film, played by Juliette Binoche (and who is not called Florence Aubenas, but Marianne Winckler) is a Parisian writer who registers at the Pôle Emploi de Caen under a false identity, in order to better understand the reality of contemporary precariousness. She will find a night cleaning job in the Ouistreham ferries and, in the process, make friends with some colleagues. More than Aubenas, who had a social report to draw up, it is the moral questions that the writer asks himself that interests Carrère here. Basically, the one who writes is a vampire, an outsider who breaks into reality, a liar – even if he intends to bring out a truth. Ouistreham looks at least as much as a Ken Loach social movie as it does an undercover thriller, where you wonder when the agent is going to get caught undercover, both hero and bastard. The film reveals in passing an astonishing non-professional actress, Hélène Lambert, who holds the high in Binoche in the role of the betrayed friend. The kind of miraculous appearance which, for once, can only happen in the cinema.

By Emmanuel Carrère. With Juliette Binoche, Hélène Lambert, Léa Carne… Duration 1h46. Released on January 12, 2022

Leave a Reply