It’s customary to say that filmmakers often put a lot of themselves into their first film before they can tackle other topics. The Premiers plans d’Angers festival, which has been devoted for twenty years to the first cinematographic works from all over Europe, once again demonstrated this. To the point of sometimes blurring the boundaries between fiction and documentary in disturbing scenes of oneself or those close to them.
Ibrahim, the film crowned by the jury chaired this year by Pierre Salvadori, is of this kind, although undoubtedly the most classic of the selection in its form. Actor Samir Guesmi took more than ten years to stage this very strong and very personal story of a complicated relationship between a father, a waiter in a Parisian brasserie, and his 17-year-old son, torn between filial respect and the temptation of petty crime. She was already at the heart of a short film, It is Sunday !, produced in 2008. Very sober, this first feature film which won four awards at the Angoulême Francophone Film Festival last September, evokes with great sensitivity the difficulty of two people in communicating their love. It is all the more touching that the actor interprets the role inspired by his own father.
A poignant dialogue
It is the relationship between a mother and her son, drug addict, that is discussed this time in Small Saturday, Belgian documentary by Paloma Sermon-Daï which won the Grand Jury Prize Diagonales. The director films the poignant dialogue that takes place between Damien, 43, and Ysma, when the latter undertakes therapy in an attempt to break free from his addictions. The weight of the past – a violent father -, that of guilt but also maternal tenderness illuminate this relationship filmed by the protagonists’ own sister and daughter, who found in this family exposure the subject of her first film.
With Booth, the French Alexandra Pianelli proceeds in the same way to make us live from the inside and in subjective camera the last months of the newspaper business run by her family for four generations, condemned by the crisis of the press and its distribution.
The family mise en abyme is even more impressive in the film by Ukrainian Irina Tsylik, The Earth is Blue as an Orange, which received special mention from the jury. It features a family living on the front line, on the border with Donbass, who makes their daily life in the war zone the subject of a film directed by the eldest daughter when she applies to a school. cinema in Kiev. The two narrative threads then intermingle under the director’s camera without the viewer managing to disentangle in this context of murderous madness what is fiction and what is documentary.