France is Bruno Dumont’s eleventh feature film. Presented in competition in July at the Cannes Film Festival, this cruel charge, against the information-spectacle and journalism, has divided criticism. The filmmaker says he understands that his film, which mixes melodrama and tragic, romantic and comedy, love and death, could have unsettled.
In this film, you pillory the obscenity of an era dominated and stupefied by the entertainment-information system and the culture of clash. Do you conceive of your film as a satire?
France is a frank satire of the information-spectacle where, under this ridiculous, well supported on the surface, pierces a tragic and romantic quest for ourselves in this hypertrophied digital world in which many naturally lose control. The film mixes it all together the melodrama, the tragic, the romantic, the comedy, the outraged sentimentalism, the French film, the grotesque, death, love, to represent what we have become: imbalances! I pressed hard, to see more clearly!
It is therefore a withdrawn film which – in this frenzied artistic regime – is as cold in the spine as it is laughing to stick the ribs and cry. Our time is stunned by the filter of screens where a new almost insane thought rages, by its simplification, its disproportion and its moralization of everything. The heroes of France are like that, flattened!
The genre of the film is not, however, so easy to define …
It is both melodrama, a rosewater “photo-novel” genre, and Greek tragedy. France struggles in an alienated world of which she is the star and, yet, kicks like a true film heroine, but this time very human, small, full of her vicissitudes, her grace and her depravities.
And how silly, France, it goes around in circles and it is like a dance, a bolero: it turns, it develops, but it repeats itself, it rehashes, it annoys! Ravel himself said of the theme of his Boléro: “I know it sucks, but you had to find it anyway! “ Here it is more or less the same. It sucks, but to repeat insistently, it starts to take shape, right?
The first reactions of the press at the Cannes festival testified to a rejection of the film. One of your previous films, “Ma Loute”, which was more appreciated, did not however speak of anything else: the blindness of the elites in the face of injustice and the suffering of which they are the cause. How do you explain this difference in reception?
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