Self-fiction, a disease that weighs down France | Culture

From the left, André Dussollier, Sophie Marceau, François Ozon and Geraldine Pailhas, at the entrance to their gala session in Cannes yesterday afternoon.
From the left, André Dussollier, Sophie Marceau, François Ozon and Geraldine Pailhas, at the entrance to their gala session in Cannes yesterday afternoon.GONZALO FUENTES / REUTERS

The France of the crunchy parquet floors and the France that cleans the toilets of the gentry. The France that talks about the last exhibition in a Parisian gallery and the one that lives in tiny flats in Calais, surrounded by African migrants trying to cross into the United Kingdom. On Everything went well, François Ozon walks the camera through large rooms of successful intellectuals to talk about euthanasia, which is still legally prohibited in his country. For this he adapts the latest work of self-fiction by Emmanuèle Bernheim, writer who died in 2017, and with whom Ozon co-wrote the scripts for Swimming Pool, Ricky Y 5×2. On Between Two Worlds (international title for a film that in France is titled Ouistreham), Emmanuel Carrère, leader of the European autofiction literature, adapts in his second feature as director a novel by the French journalist Florence Aubenas, popular for immersing herself in all kinds of environments to research for her books (she was kidnapped for five months during the Iraq War). The first film was the highlight of the day of the contest of the official section; the second opened the Directors’ Fortnight, which began its screenings on Wednesday.

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Bernheim was the daughter of a famous homosexual art collector and the sculptor Claude de Soria. In addition to her own successful writing career, her partner was Serge Toubiana, one of the heavyweights of French cinema: critic, director of the Cinémathèque française for 13 years … A whole landscape of left-wing French intelligentsia, which Ozon only doubts at one point in the film. After a stroke, Bernheim’s father asked his favorite daughter to help him die, and Everything went well It occurs between September 15 and April 27, the days that elapse from the attack to the execution of the plan in Switzerland. While the film moves on that creaking parquet, it advances indolently. However, when the Frenchman launches into feelings, when he lets André Dussollier believe that haughty father, distant during the childhood of his two daughters, who dealt with his homosexuality while living with a woman “with a heart of cement”, and allows Sophie Marceau to complete the portrait of the parent’s eager, loving writer, the film flows.

It is not at a formal, almost Hitchcockian height of Thanks god (with which it is directly related in its mention of associations that help human beings who do not find an answer to their prayers in the law) or At home, nor to the melancholic beauty of Summer of ’85, but in some of the sequences Everything went well, those closest to the vital resolution of the different emotional conflicts, the great director appears. And so at least they have understood it in Cannes, where it has been received with applause.

From left, Hélène Lambert, Juliette Binoche and Léa Carne, in 'Between Two Worlds', by Emmanuel Carrère.
From left, Hélène Lambert, Juliette Binoche and Léa Carne, in ‘Between Two Worlds’, by Emmanuel Carrère.

If in his latest book, Yoga, Emmanuel Carrère ended his literary exploration of self-fiction, in his cinema he still has strength. Between Two Worlds takes place in Calais, where the last Princess of Asturias Award for Letters was writing a great report on the migration crisis. Florence Aubenas also got there, but to tell the life close to poverty of people who work with miserable salaries, and for this she posed as a law graduate, who after 23 years of marriage divorces and looks for a precarious job in whatever: and whatever is a cleaning woman in companies that enter offices at night, campsites or ferries that cross the English Channel. Juliette Binoche gives life to this liar in an exemplary way, with Carrère directing neatly in pursuit of what she is really interested in telling: what will happen when the companions, already friends of the protagonist, of cloths and cleaning products, that They drag infamous schedules and incomes that sound like humiliation, find out who that newcomer? Like in Yoga, When the cards are turned face up, it is time to reflect on what is allowed in pursuit of the triumph of art or the denunciation of injustices. And it must be said: Between Two Worlds goes further than Yoga.

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