Saturday 26 May 2007
MÁS y MÁS More young talent, more European cinema in Cannes
Et toi, t’es sur qui? XXY Chop Shop Sara Forestier English version www.nisimasa.com
father. La naissance des pieuvres from Céline Sciamma also deals with the quest for sexual identity. In a much lighter approach, the adolescence portrayed by Lola Doillon in her first feature film Et toi, t’es sur qui? presents a group of high school friends who are tormented by romantic feelings for the “first time”. Curiously, all of these films are directed by women. Are the memories of this period perhaps more intense for females? Normally, the “teen movie” is perceived as a hackneyed genre. One imagines hordes of adolescents with braces invading the multiplexes with buckets of popcorn in hand. Far from this cliché, the films at Cannes play on the personal experiences of the viewer and are aimed at a wider public. After all, everyone has been through adolescence…
Photo Alkistis Tsitouri
hewing gum, high schools, flirting and text messages have invaded the screens at Cannes. The teenagers have arrived! And for the most part it is young cineastes who have taken it upon themselves to relate the anxieties of our dear acne-ridden adolescents. From all four corners of the globe, new talents are bearing witness that the intensity of emotional experiences is as strong at this age as at any other. Sometimes children seem to pass too quickly through the stage of adolescence and enter unprepared, as in Chop Shop, into the ruthless adult world. Above all, and this is the common denominator of the films presented this year, the adolescents discover their own sexuality. With XXY, Lucía Puenzo enters us into the world of Alex (whose gender is as ambiguous as the name suggests), seen through the traumatism of her
And you, who do you have a crush on?
Photo of the day
Et toi, t’es sur qui ?
Lola Doillon, France, Un Certain Regard love fleeting. A puzzle where the pieces never stop moving. The viewpoints of these youngsters, full of anxieties and desires, construct the emotional structure of this film. It is said that we experience our strongest feelings during our youngest years. The director Lola Doillon offers us, with this film, a voyage back in time, through our own experiences. What better is there in fact than to relive our most intense moments? Lola Doillon has succeeded in depicting a youth far from the archetype,
a real portrait of today’s adolescents. A ‘.com’ generation which uses MSN and mobile phones to establish deep relationships, a reality consciously forgotten by cinema but skilfully uncovered by this young female director. Dialogues are fresh and dynamic for a film in which the characters are only just discovering when to be honest and when to conceal the truth. The actors introduce us to their emotional turmoil and we have little difficulty relating to them. Even if the story seems to centre on Elodie, Et toi,
t’es sur qui? follows four characters in such a way that allows us to understand their motivations. Vincent’s love is obvious for the viewer but “invisible” to Elodie. She must make a choice. As the train leaves, looks speak volumes. This long feature retains traces of teen-movie clichés, notably in the final party scene, which is nevertheless well-executed. The only thing left which remains to be said is that Et toi, t’es sur qui? is a dish of intense f lavours which leaves a pleasurable after-taste.
5 years old. A group of adolescents. One destination. A path full of the unexpected. A tight bundle of emotions which touch the deepest of our memories. Vincent, in love with Elodie, must bear the fact that she sees him as nothing more than her best friend. Elodie, for her part, has decided along with her girlfriend Julie to lose her virginity before the holidays. Overwhelmed by the relationships which develop between them, these high-school friends possess an emotional instability which makes friendship and
R amin Bahrani, USA, Directors’ Fortnight
n the background, the skyscrapers. Much closer, the peripheral boulevard. Forget what you know about New York, this is the town of Alejandro. In the third feature film by Ramin Bahrani, everything is filmed from the viewpoint of this young adolescent, who is only knee-high to a grasshopper. In the suburbs situated on the outskirts of Queens, Ale is an ace at getting by in life: during the day, he repairs cars in a ‘chop shop’, veritable nerve centre of the neighbourhood. In the evenings, he returns to the converted garage where
he lives with his sister. With her, for her, he collects money in a jar and takes it back every day, determined that they will escape from their morose existence. However he soon discovers that reality is sometimes more unconquerable than it seems: his sister becomes a prostitute; his friend’s uncle plays a dirty trick on him in a business deal. The outside world is noisy, the metallic sounds mixing with hip-hop rhythms. Suddenly, the barriers become impassable, the dream unattainable: whether in front of the football stadium or between
the old bangers, Ale seems so small. The main force of the film is provided by Alejandro Polanco, a young actor who is just as impressive as the street hero he portrays. When the camera stops following him, it is he who runs after its movement. And yet, regrettably, the narrative drags. Time passes slowly, perhaps as slowly as Ale’s days. The tension is latent but no real drama ever appears. After a remarkable opening, Chop Shop leaves the impression of being somewhat unfinished.
Lucia Puenzo, Argentina, Critics’ Week
XY. Both a codename and a genetic code. Intriguing. But paradoxically, the subject to be dealt with here is clear from the beginning. For her first feature film, director Lucia Puenzo has chosen the ambitious theme of hermaphroditism; and one asks oneself just what she will make of it. Often evoked, but rarely presented
in such a precise and direct way, the search for sexual identity has inspired a work of soulful depth and rare sensitivity. XXY is a film which portrays without judgement, and which constantly plays on an alternation between shocking and more delicate, modest moments. Presenting itself as a ref lection on difference and
Kagemusha Akira Kurosawa, Japan, Cinéma de
the gaze of others, XXY plays on the parallels and oppositions which exist between the development of two young people and their families. The girl, Alex, is a young hermaphrodite, and the boy, Alvaro, is battling with his emerging homosexuality. Both of them are attempting to cut all ties with childhood and to choose what they will
become. They undertake this quest together, complementing each other in their differences and seeking in their bond to put off this inescapable choice. The omnipresent cold colours accentuating the contrast between love and oppression of the environment (these adults who seem to be strangers to the feelings of their children), everything evokes emotion in the viewer and renders the subject timeless, even universal. In effect, beyond hermaphroditism, XXY is a film about the search for ones’ feelings and identity during the period of adolescence. There is then a great deal of emotional investment in the characters, both from the actors and from the viewer. Aided by a magnificent cast, this film, both intense, difficult and touching, does not leave any room for indifference. A masterful delivery from both the director Lucia Puenzo and young actress Inés Efron, in the role of the troubled adolescent.
Constance Déchelotte Anatole Tomczak Very Young Critics
annes, 1980. Akira Kurosawa won the Palme d’Or for Kagemusha. He commented, “I think that cinema has the same everyday character as the press. Otherwise it has no raison d’être. It must reflect its time, to be understood by its contemporaries.” Here he is referring to a historic film, a portrait of medieval Japan as well as a comment on power which is always current. The Takeda are one of the Nippon tribes of the 16th century. Their leader, Shingen, dreams of unifying their country and taking power. He finds in the character of a prisoner his double and decides to keep him as a back up for delicate moments. But Shingen dies.
He leaves behind him the hard stain of a double; the ‘Kagemusha’ takes his place for three years, time to prepare the succession. Pacifist, Kurosawa portrays and denounces a futile war, cruel but fascinating. Profoundly humanist he interests himself in the psychology of characters, to their identity and in particular their desire for eternity. As a result of this he replaces the desire for power, the eternal quest of men which finally is only an illusion. Here we are offered a lexicon of humanity by the one who was called ‘the Emperor’.
Naissance des Pieuvres
Céline Sciamma, France, Un Certain Regard
hen does a girl become ‘mature’? What happens to the soul when the body changes? The debut film of young French director Céline Sciamma, Water Lilies, approaches these questions in a sympathetic way by telling the story of three 15-year-old girls. It’s the summer holidays. No school obligations or parental control for Marie, Anne and Floriane, whose only occupations are synchronised swimming and the discovery of first loves and hormonal impulses. The world of the teenagers seems simple and quiet.
Communications technologies that so often play a big role in the life of youngsters are absent here. This creates a particular, old-fashioned atmosphere, also bringing added depth to the characters, which develop in the blue of the swimming pool. The story is constructed of triangular relationships between the characters. Lovely-looking Floriane is the object of desire for many men. Due to her unwillingness to socialise with her team-mates at the swimming pool, she is given the label of an outsider, a girl
(Water Lilies) who “sleeps around”, something which she is not. Floriane demonstrates a girlish sensibility. Anxious to maintain a happy relationship with her boyfriend, she however becomes vulnerable to outer inf luences. She tends to confuse true feelings with her adolescent impulses, and eventually follows the expectations of those around her by trying to fit into the role of the “easy” girl. Thus, she betrays her new friend Marie, who has little by little fallen in love with Floriane, but finds herself used and then abandoned. On her side, Marie provides the link to Floriane’s opposite: the joyful and childish, but unappealingly overweight Anne, who inevitably falls into a love triangle with Floriane and her boyfriend. On their way to becoming adults, Marie and Anne discover the unpleasant experiences of being misunderstood, neglected and having their feelings abused. The three girls go through the chaotic experience of first love and desire. Fortunately, Anne has the will to understand it and not to give herself up. In the end, she and Marie are the only ones who have truly been in love and have tried to follow their inner voices. Both of them go through a real transformation and grow up, at the cost of certain emotional wounds. This is a thought-provoking film, leaving the viewer with plenty to ref lect on afterwards.
Three questions to Pierre Montaldon Pierre Montaldon comes from Paris for presenting his new receipts and to promote the folklore.
As a representative of the Ministry of Leisure, how do you rate your relationship with charcuterie and folklore? I maintain an intense and very romantic relationship with ham. Coming from the pig, ham is the equivalent of a big gothic cathedral: a work of the people and for the people. Initiation in the pleasure of ham-tasting is, in my opinion, of major importance in informal education. In terms of folklore, I prefer a mixture of different types and the regional clothing syncretism as here in
Cannes, with my beach après-ski. Folklore is my world! We saw you next to Madame de Fontenay in the photo of the Jury members of Miss Folklore… Why? Do you know her personally? My fascination for Madame relates back to the pleasures of the f lesh (sausages, that is). In fact, before her work with the ‘Misses’, she had a promising career as a magician, thanks to her illusionist acts: making pâté and potted mince appear from under her big hat
(Tata Yoyo, by Annie Cordy). Your favourite film in the Quinzaine? Again, it’s my pantagruelian appetite which guides my choice. Without hesitating, Egg by Semih Kaplanoglu. According to Jean-Luc Godard, master charcutier of the Limousin, “one should never come out of one’s own shell, sausage and pork replacing what our eyes can see with a world which reflects our desires.”
Professional encounter with François-Renaud L abarthe Chief set designer/Artistic director
o you need a castle which could contain the adventures of a 16th century demoiselle? Does the cowboy want to drink a whisky in the village saloon? Or perhaps there is a Martian who needs to leave in his space vessel? François-Renaud Labarthe is in charge of making all of this possible. For several years already this chief set designer has been putting the places and periods imagined by directors onto film. He has worked on sets for films such as Lady Chatterlay and most of Olivier Assayas’ productions. This magician explains how to recreate another world, to be filmed. The script and meetings with the director give him the first leads to start his work. From there, the set
designer can start to collect information. If it is a period film, paintings and texts can help to get an idea of the atmosphere. FrançoisRenaud Labarthe explains that sometimes he decides to add other, fake elements, as he thinks it is important to maintain a sense of unity. The professional relies on databases (from local film commissions) in order to find existing locations, for example a Cistercian abbey or a mountain lake. Digital effects help to make his job easier. It is no longer necessary to go up onto roofs in order to remove TV antennae… they can be erased afterwards by a computer ! In addition, thanks to new technologies the costs of creating film sets are lower.
Labarthe estimates that his work normally represents between 10 and 15% of the film budget. Certain films however allocate a higher proportion to the set design. Lady Chatterlay, for example, dedicated 35% of its funding to set design, an amount of 800 000 euros. In productions such as this, a large team of set designers are required in order to prepare the different locations at the same time. The chief set designer is involved in the entirety of the film, adding his fundamental brick to the building. “I don’t understand people who say they liked the set design but not the film” confesses François-Renaud Labarthe.
with composer Howard Shore and David Cronenberg, director.
oward Shore and David Cronenberg have come to tell of their unique and long-standing collaboration in order to explain the fundamental and exemplary relationship between a composer and his director. “I was 14 and he 18, we lived in the same neighbourhood. He had an enormous motorbike and I was really impressed.” Confides Shore about their first meeting. At the time, nobody could have predicted the impact that these two Canadians would have on contemporary cinema. Even though Cannes only has eyes for directors, David Cronenberg seats himself amongst the public, leaving the f loor to his friend. Different extracts follow in succession: The Lord of the
Rings, Ed Wood, The Aviator. As many great films as monumental soundtracks. These masters of the original symphonic soundtrack also possess a taste for experimentation. The unique atmosphere in Ed Wood by Tim Burton comes from the shrill sound of a ‘theremine’ and orchestral Cuban rhythms, at once paying homage to films from the 50s and reproducing the strange universe of the character, reputed as the worst director of all time. If music contributes to the magic of cinema, it can also create stif ling and unsettling atmospheres, as in Crash, with its orchestration of six electric guitars. Cronenberg then comes back onto the stage to discuss their collaboration: “He’s
one of those rare people to whom I entrust my new scripts to get their opinion”. For Cronenberg music has become a way of narrating in itself. We are shown the ending scene of A History of Violence, where nothing is said (Viggo Mortensen re-
mains completely silent), but everything is played. The sound of the string quartet becomes a sort of primordial character in itself, as if Rosenberg, obsessed by the theme of twins, found a part of himself in his composer.
nly just turned 20, the mentor of the 26th Prix de la Jeunesse has already appeared in sixteen films. World cinema awaits Sara Forestier, winner of the César for Best Female Hope in 2005. Born on the 4th of October 1986, the career of this young girl began by chance. Accompanying a friend to an audition at the age of thirteen, Sara Forestier entered into the world of cinema. Spotted waiting at the exit of the screen test, she was first given small roles, notably in Les Fantômes de Louba (2001) and in several television series. Then she played the part of Lydia in L’Esquive (2003) by Abdellatif Kechiche, a big critical and public success.
Her career was launched: we saw her with Claude Lelouch, then as a young fiancée abandoned by her future husband in the vaudeville Un fil à la patte from Michel Deville. Nowadays she acts alongside big film stars such as Juliette Binoche and Monica Bellucci. Yet despite all the roles she has played, Sara Forestier still likes to go to castings. According to her, “it’s a chance to actually meet directors and to see if there is a connection or not, whatever the final result.” In 2005, Sara Forestier was the poster-girl for Hell, an adaptation of a novel by Lolita Pille reworked for the big screen by Bruno Chiche. With this role, Sara proved her ability to adapt to a different universe. In the film
she plays Hell, a young girl from a well-off background who spends her nights in Parisian nightclubs and only frequents the jet-set crowd. In this world of glitz and glamour, she meets Andrea, a young man with whom she will go on develop an intense, destructive relationship which will end in a descent into hell. The young French actress played a very minor role in Le Parfum from director Tom Tykwer, adaptation of the famous novel by Patrick Süskind. She added another director to her CV when playing a f lirtatious young girl in Combien tu m’aimes? by Bertrand Blier. Whilst her energy and maturity allow her to take on more serious roles, this doesn’t stop
Photo Lasse Lecklin
her from lending her voice to animated characters. She was the beautiful Abba in Asterix et les Vikings. Of this experience, she confides: “When you dub a cartoon character, you can allow yourself to go further with the emotion, because there is something dreamlike about it. You can let really yourself go without it becoming fake.” Sara Forestier is most definitely an actress, but she also likes to write, developing thus a certain artistic sensibility. She has even directed a short film. All in all, the combination of beauty, talent and the desire to act of this bright young hope of French cinema works like magic on the world public.
MÁS y MÁS is a magazine published by the association NISI MASA with the support of the French Ministry of Health, Sports and Youth. EDITORIAL STAFF Editor-in-chief Matthieu Darras Secretary of the editorial Joanna Gallardo Artistic director Lasse Lecklin, email@example.com English translations Camilla Buchanan, Judy Lister Contibutors of this issue Mercedes Alvarez, Fanny Boulloud, Constance Déchellote, Yana Dzharova, Eva John, Elena Mosholova, Flamand Rose, Anatole Tomczak, Pierre Trouvé Print Imprimerie Cyclone, 12 rue des Mimosas, 06400 Cannes. NISI MASA 10 rue de l’Echiquier, 75010 Paris, France + 33 (0)1 53 34 62 78, + 33 (0)6 32 61 70 26 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.nisimasa.com