The director presents Athenahis latest film centered on the suburbs, which is released Friday, September 23 on Netflix.
“I’m not sure movies have the power to stop anger”considers the filmmaker Romain Gavras, whose film, Athenaon the burning issue of the suburbs, is out Friday, September 23 on Netflix.
“You never know if movies have an impact on people. Me, it’s (seeing on screen) Marlon Brando who made me want to smoke… Afterwards, when you’re full of anger, I don’t know if seeing a film will stop it”said the son of Costa-Gavras during an interview with AFP at the Venice Film Festival, where the film was presented. “On the other hand, to give the vision, as the Greek tragedy did, of a black future, it is interesting”continues the director, who frees himself in this “tragedy” (the word is claimed) from any concern for realism and plunges into a city of fire and blood.
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In the film, which borrows from ancient theatre, the insurrection rises in a disadvantaged city, which demands justice after the death of a young man. Off-screen, France falls into a civil war fueled by provocations from the far right.
Such a dystopia “allows you to explore a nightmare, what things could become, and to tell it with a symbolic form”underlines the filmmaker, author of numerous music videos, from Jamie XX to Kanye West via MIA “I had total freedom” to shoot, specifies Romain Gavras, who caused controversy fifteen years ago with an ultra-violent clip for Justice. “People’s reactions do not necessarily make mass”evacuates the artist, who believes that “films don’t add fuel to the fire”.
“In the first line”
If he refuses any diagnosis or “message” politics, Romain Gavras feeds on Athena the news of recent years, police violence on the sidelines of demonstrations in “yellow vests” to the rise of the extreme right.
“The acceleration towards the worst, we feel it all over the world, in France, in Greece, in the United States… We are nourished by everything when we make a film”he explains. “When a country is fragile, it’s very easy to push it over the edge and exploit a general atmosphere”notes the director, like the far right spreading toxic rumors in Athena.
Borrowing from ancient mythology, “We wanted to show in a timeless way that the tensions we are experiencing now are the tensions we have experienced since ancient Greece or even prehistory… It’s always the same thing, different interests that grow to war, to conflict. And on the ground, it is the people who have an intimate pain who will be on the front line..
At 41, Romain Gavras, who co-founded the collective of filmmakers Kourtrajmé two decades ago, admits sharing with his father Costa-Gavras, 89, “a way of looking at the world in a non-manichean way, where everything is a little more complex than the good guys and the bad guys, which you have to try to understand and shape” on the screen.
What lessons do we learn from a father like him, a living monument of political cinema, author of masterpieces like Z Where The confession? “I learned from him to be strict… and to brush your teeth every morning!”
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