They are alive: the successful directorial debut of Jérémie Elkaïm [critique]

A loving passion between the widow of a sympathetic FN cop and an Iranian illegal immigrant who avoids the trap of the subject film.

Co-screenwriter of three feature films for the big screen with Valérie Donzelli, including the very autobiographical War is declared, Jérémie Elkaïm had never passed the milestone of directing, with the exception of a short film in 2010. And the fact of not having continued with a feature long could have led to believe in a simple one shot. This experience would perhaps have remained unique if Marina Foïs, his partner from Polisse, had not come one day to talk to him about her enthusiasm for Calais my love, the book by Béatrice Huret (who tells her own story, with the collaboration of Catherine Siguret) and her dream of seeing it transposed onto the big screen. Because with this project born outside of him, he seems to have felt authorized to cross a course that he had hitherto forbidden himself. they are alive takes us to Calais in the footsteps of the widow of a FN sympathizing cop whose meeting with an Iranian teacher who arrived illegally in Europe will change his life. An eminently puzzling subject that Jérémie Elkaïm deals with with great subtlety. By having the courage to take it head on, not to dodge it, but by relying on the finesse of the writing of the characters, starting with the complex one, rich in ambiguities and contradictions and not spontaneously likeable in 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 the subject. A success

By Jérémie Elkaim. With: Marina Foïs, Seear Kohi, Laetitia Dosch… Duration: 1h52. Released February 23, 2022

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