Louis Garrel excels in The Innocent, both as a director and an actor. Freed from his taciturn bobo comedian label, the artist delivers a joyful comedy that flirts with many different styles of cinema. A work that got off to a strong start in theaters, driven by enthusiastic reviews and word of mouth. If the feature film is tender and funny, it is also inspired by the experience of the artist, son of director Philippe Garrel and actress and director Brigitte Sy. The latter really married an ex-convict, as in the film.
In The Obs, Louis Garrel explains what is autobiographical, and where fiction begins. Like the heroine Sylvie, played by Anouk Grinberg, her mother Brigitte Sy taught theater in prison: “For twenty years. In penitentiary quarters of men and women. She put on shows there, made duplexes between the Théâtre de Chaillot and Health, she even made films about it…“She married a former prisoner when Louis Garrel was 12 or 13 years old. A man who is “later died in a motorcycle accident“. The character of Michel, for which Roschdy Zem offers all his talent, is not a copy of his ex-gangster father-in-law: “What is autobiographical is how two circles that have nothing to do suddenly have a family, intimate bond. And what role do we play in it? Michel is inspired by several gangsters I have met.“
It’s hard not to imagine the young Louis Garrel slightly disarmed in the face of such a free and committed mother. For Le Figarohe plays things down, putting them on a banal level: “I was worried like a son can be with an unconventional mother, who flirts with the limits.” No question for the dad of Oumy (with Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) and Azel (whose mother is his wife Laetitia Casta) to fall into pathos with his film: “It amused me to stage a son who is almost his mother’s father. A mother who also manipulates her son a little to keep him close to her. Despite their neuroses, or thanks to them, they form a comic duo. In life, we can say things a little abruptly, but always with humor.“