“In the history of cinema, you have to see the number of feature films that were demolished before being rehabilitated!, said with a sigh Abdellatif Kechiche, when we find him after three years spent under the radar. Since the screening, in 2019, at the Cannes Film Festival, of Mektoub My Love. Intermezzothe director (a shower of Caesars, a Palme d’or) had disappeared. You make a film and then it has its destiny… And I still believe in the destiny of this work, which escapes me. The more she escapes me, the more I love her. »
Close-ups, love at the end of the night, endless scenes in a discotheque, and an anthology cunnilingus of which a facetious journalist had taken care to time the length: thirteen minutes. Two performances at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, and then nothing. The main actress, Ophélie Bau, feeling betrayed, had at the time left the room during the session, endorsing a crisis that was to register Intermezzo in the pantheon of cursed films: liquidation of the director’s production company, colossal musical rights mortgaging even today any desire for commercial release…
Three years later, it is at the Cinemed festival, in Montpellier, not far from Sète where the film was shot, that Abdellatif Kechiche is announced for a master class, this Friday, October 28. He meets a few journalists the day before, in small groups. A thread of voice, almost a whisper. Shaved head, sunken cheeks, emaciated body. It emanates from this man whom we had known sharp, a fragility and a pain which surprise: ” Intermezzo, I don’t think he was seen. Too disturbed before its projection and not finished from a technical point of view, I should never have shown it. » He would like to explain: “I aspired to create a sort of collective hypnosis in the pleasure of looking at bodies, music, faces, movement, the light of the beach. Me, in any case, these images put me in a very strange state. I was hoping to communicate that to the viewers. »
We feel worried. Not sure, at 61, of wanting to speak again. Tired, it seems, of the controversies and standoffs that mark his career. After The fault of Voltaire (2000), Dodge (2004) and The grain and the mule (2007), which propelled the kid from the popular districts of Nice to the rank of star filmmaker, black venus (2010) marks a first hitch – lawsuit with the producer and distributor MK2, and reputation as a difficult filmmaker. Three years later, the consecration brought to him The Life of Adelewith the Palme d’Or, sees itself robbed of the spotlight by the scandal of working conditions denounced by its technicians and that of its way of pushing its actresses (Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos) to their limits.
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