love, breathless

The opinion of the “World” – a masterpiece

For his sixth feature film, Abdellatif Kechiche opened wide the windows of his cinema and plunged into a whirlwind of scenes whose expansive nature was only paired with a sense of fullness, making a call. for the wind is so strong that you can hardly breathe. No doubt we will see Mektoub, My Loveinspired by the novel The Wound, the real one, by François Bégaudeau, the core of Kechiche’s cinema, is at least the pinnacle of research that has hitherto been in transitory forms. The filmmaker finds here a field of fulfillment, but above all a direct grip on his films: the beauty of bodies immersed in summer light, the games of love and seduction, the all organized in a human universe, where the smallest detail points every moment to the unity of the living.

Read Abdellatif Kechiche’s interview: Articles reserved for our subscribers “An artist who creates is neither male nor female”

The film’s courage due to its narrative, is tempered by all determination and shows no other ambition other than to spend time with its characters. Amin (Shaïn Boumedine), a former medical student in Paris, returns for the summer to Sète, with his family, a family of restaurateurs of Tunisian origin. Around her, the bodies of others – her cousin Tony, an inveterate flirt, her friend Ophélie, but also Céline and Charlotte, two traveling tourists – bask in the sun and turn into a boiling lust.

Lifting bodies

But Amin, a shy and thoughtful boy, stays at the door these summer loves, cherishing the dream of becoming a director. The story takes place in 1994 and this vision sheds autobiographical light on Amin’s methods and escape, amidst the beach, out of bars and nightclubs.

Kechiche invests in this confusing frame to better swallow himself up in endless scenes (literally: that he’s never determined to end), appealing to their ability to let go. Granted, the filmmaker is already accustomed to us with an aesthetic of exhaustion, but here it appears to be cleansed of any idea of ​​performance, rehashing or insistence. What interests him is the infinitely open field of sociability, as it mixes family, friendly, erotic or sentimental relationships, to the point of confusion. Because under its apparent simplicity, the film nonetheless explores the complexity of the romantic nature, gradually revealing a kind of brutality.

What is shocking is the way the apnea -like film sinks into the flesh of the present.

In a breathtaking scene, where all these little people meet in a bar, Kechiche evokes many characters, exchanges, events, until the dance captivates the bodies and drags them away in an ecstatic. fever. What was surprising then was the way in which the film sank like apnea into the very flesh of the present. A gift that slowly slows down the idea of ​​the screenplay to leave room for something else: pure human presence acting in front of the camera, an accomplished and miraculous mix of characters and actors – including Hafsia Herzi, revealed in 2007 at The grain and the mule. This extreme point today is consistent with the upliftment of bodies, of their beauty, of their vitality.

Read the picture: Articles reserved for our subscribers Salim Kechiouche, the actor who left the frame

From the opening scene, where Amin hears Ophélie and Tony’s adulterous jokes, to the beach arrangements, where silhouettes snort the waters of the Mediterranean, the filmmaker gives pride. in place to feminine plastics (hence buxom), as well. as masculine mechanical bearings (sometimes invasive). This is because Kechiche’s art runs on this desired, fantastical fiber, which is the origin of his work as a filmmaker.

Being born in an appearance

Some may see, in the recurrence of certain crops of fleshly bodies, a kind of bad way of voyeurism. But most of all we need to understand that Amin, a protagonist behind, occupies the position of an audience vis-à-vis others, he who practices photography and watches Russian classics that cinema alone in the darkness of his room. What endangered him was the birth of a looking, loving but isolated, sometimes lustful, saturated Dionysian beauty of the surrounding world. A world that however Amin cannot fully inhabit. Because the actor is always next in life: his view as an observer separates him from others.

Read the review published during the Venice Film Festival: The lustful hymn of the life of Abdellatif Kechiche

So too is it a profession of the art of poetry that we see Mektoub, My Love (including subtitle, Canto Uno – “a song” -, announces a sequel). A film that attempts to connect creativity to actions of desire, flesh to vision, presence to clarity, and therefore matter to immaterial. The mysterious link between all of these dimensions is the light, shining from the South that bathed Us from the first shot of the film. This light glorified by St. John and the Koran, in the two epigraph quotations, it is said, is endowed with a double character, corpuscular and undulatory. A body and a wave: undoubtedly the best definition to be given to a film as generous and dazzling as this.

French film by Abdellatif Kechiche. With Shaïn Boumedine, Ophélie Bau, Salim Kechiouche (2 h 54). On the web:

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