Falling madly in love, it is having the mind and emotions so scrambled, it is to be at this point obsessed that you lose the reason, at the risk of being lost completely. It is this sense the absolute, the passion, that Pierre Godeau, the young director and scriptwriter of’DESPERATELY, has wanted to deal with. To discuss this disorder in love, it is inspired by the story and the novel “no love” written by the prison director Florent Gonçalvès. It has had a relationship forbidden with one of its inmates, mostly known for her role of bait of Ilan Halimi, who was murdered ten years ago by the “Gang of Barbarians“. This case had marked the spirits by his savagery.
The director, of which this is the second movie after Juliethas taken the party to a clean sweep of the origins of the detention of Anna/Adèle Exarchopoulos for two reasons, which he explained during our meeting, in the presence of its two performers. He had especially wanted to evoke a more personal way the love story in the prison environment, which to him was unknown. His meetings with heads of prisons, prison guards, and the animation of workshops with his actress with female inmates have also asked to enter the equality of treatment afforded to inmates, without taking into account the reasons of their presence in prison. However, this willingness of the white page taken up by Pierre Godeau causes in we, who know history, a certain uneasiness, close to the feeling of being manipulated. Taking some liberties with the story, it deprives the public of its own capacity for appreciation and interpretation, by not making him not trust you, or even infantilizing. Without going so far as to judge Anna, we would have liked to understand his personality, his motivations, his interest drawn from his personal history. The producer delivers to us sometimes patches of the truth when he gives us to see Anna conversing with his mother (the very rare Mary River, is seen in This sense of the summer) or out of prison to attend his trial.
Pierre Godeau draws the portrait of a young woman, instinctive, seductive, loss of bearings and of the father, who without doubt made a bad choice, but seems to assume. The director filming Adèle Exarchopoulos closer to the face and body, her sensuality, almost lovingly. He said that he wanted to make the Commander Jean Firminot a character more complex and has worked on the traits of his character with Guillaume Gallienne : a man of forty years old full social success, professional and personal, narcissistic, very conscious of his appearance and what he gives. Yet, it seems to us that it was a little too loaded up the boat by adding this touch of sensitivity, thus giving an alibi to his desire to be seen as he truly is : an artist misunderstood.
But the complexity of John is not so blatant. How can a prison director, in which authority, responsibility, and ethics must be without fault, can it wobble too quickly in contact with Anna ? How passion can sweep as quickly ethics ? This is one of the weak points of the scenario. It is a pity that Jean does not show a little more resistance, expresses his doubts, torn, tortured by the scope of its acts prior to to crack, to lose. The story would have been enhanced by the unfulfilled desire. Because it is indeed desire that it is. A sexual desire, a physical attraction is undeniable, the style “because it was her, because it was him.” The director decided to show this desire in filming the body, making love, scenes that the actors have said they liked inventing, trying to make the most accurate possible measurement of energy, looks and awkwardness. They are indeed beautiful and enhance the about the madness of love, as John and Anna make love everywhere and often, playing with fire and taking on more and more the risk of being discovered.
“Taking too much away with the story, FRANTICALLY arrive at a mixed result, which brings more questions than answers, but does not cause the emotions you hoped for.”
Away too much of the actual facts, the director refrains from another dimension. One of the issues of power and their consequences in the prison environment, and the jealousy of the inmates in the face of preferential treatment enjoyed by Anna. Because it is not so much the relationship that has been a problem for the two protagonists in the reality, that the benefits offered to its position of “Director” and the impact on the level of the employees of the prison director. FRANTICALLY skims the issue, preferring to focus on the relationship itself. The inequality of the relationship between the authority figure that he represents, and the detainee Anna would have deserved to be more hollowed out. Because it is not a matter of passion here : the manipulation and strength are at the heart of this extraordinary story.
The director filming life in prison with a loving gaze. It allows to penetrate into the prison world of women in a very realistic way : the tension, the notion of territory, verbal and physical violence between inmates, the loneliness, the animality that flashes up when disappears, the humanity. Sounds nuts, no, the screams the day and the night, the time that doesn’t exist, we’re there ! The film crew spent six weeks in the prison of Health in which, as explained by Guillaume Gallienne, the resonance of the sound has requested more exchange of how deaf, concentration and patience that in another movie.
We don’t know the reasons of the birth of a passion but the one that will experience these two beings, that of all objects a priori, comes from their common point, namely, their confinement is respective. She in the prison, and him in his own life, he will lose as a whole, as well as his honor. The beloved, appears everywhere in our life, the present and the future, fantasies of Jean and Adele that Pierre Godeau films very nicely. This choice of staging counteracts with other choices a little clumsy, as the questions on the love for the drama Phaedra, or the session of hair cut mutual.
Then, and this is the central question that concerns us in DEEPLY, the two performers manage to make us vibrate ? Their love duet is it believable ? Alas, the audacity of the director to have them together on screen do we not convince totally. On one side, the game still instinctive and assumed d’Adèle Exarchopoulos, as we know from The Life of Adèle. She acknowledges that it may not work every time and now it needs to work on his technique, his references and his awareness of the game, much like his partner. On the other side, Guillaume Gallienne tried his hand at a new genre, but its game too academic, fails to move us.
Taking too much distance with the reality of the situation, DESPERATELY reaches finally to a mixed result : a work that raises more questions than it answers, but does not cause the emotions that the subject and the performers led us to expect.
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