(AFP) – A gendarme who struggles, vacillates then falls: Xavier Beauvois, filmmaker angry at “indifference”, adds a new chapter to his committed work with “Albatros”, where he films poverty in rural areas, a dark reflection of the corner of Normandy where he lives.
“I am a friend with the local gendarmes, and it is It was while talking to them that I got the idea for the film, “the author of” Des Hommes et des Dieux “(2010), which recounted the assassination of the monks of Tibhirine, Grand Prix in Cannes and César for best film.
He himself lived in a 19th century farmhouse in a Norman hamlet since about fifteen years, he returns with this social drama, in theaters Wednesday, where Jérémie Renier plays Laurent, commander of the gendarmerie brigade in Etretat (Seine-Maritime).
From the first scene, the postcard tears apart: the romantic photo shoot of an asian tourist couple at the foot of the famous chalk cliffs e is interrupted by the suicide of a man, whose body falls at their feet.
Incest, suicides, domestic violence, such is the daily lot of the gendarme in this corner of Normandy. A misery and dramas with which Laurent somehow manages to cope, between the humor of the barracks and the sweetness of the home where he finds his partner and their daughter.
But everything will change. when one of his acquaintances, a young farmer who is struggling with 350 euros per month and administrative worries, tries to commit suicide. Wanting to save his life, Laurent shoots and kills him.
Today in his forties, now graying hair, Jérémie Rénier, revealed very young by the Dardenne brothers, excels in this portrait of a man consumed with remorse.
– “Les gendarmes du coin” –
The trigger for the film was the death in 2017 of a cattle breeder from Saône -and-Loire, Jérôme Laronze, killed while rushing at the gendarmes in a desperate gesture, explained Xavier Beauvois, during the presentation of the film at the last Berlinale.
Fifteen years after “The Little Lieutenant” immersed in the Parisian judicial police with Roschdy Zem and Nathalie Baye, the filmmaker finds the police, “people who go where we have no right, just like filmmakers “.
” Normally, a cop never takes out his gun “, he underlines, fascinated by the fates of” ordinary people who suddenly live somewhere something extraordinary “.
In this trip, Xavier Beauvois takes on actors such as Victor Belmondo, Jean-Paul’s grandson, in the role of a gendarme.
But also non-professionals, locals, and her family: Marie-Julie Maille, who plays the future wife of Jérémie Renier, co-wrote the film and played it. mounted, their daughter plays the couple’s child.
Committed to the left, he takes advantage of the film to share his concerns about police violence, poverty or the climate crisis, as well as his love of the sea, the main character’s only escape.
If he “doesn’t think that we can change anything with films”, Xavier Beauvois , is in unison with his characters, “angry at the general indifference”.
Anger that he also expresses in all directions on Twitter, which he practices assiduously and without filter, as when he attacks the “stupid” training courses that professionals must follow. u cinema against sexual violence, to Emmanuel Macron, “the worst president in history, the most violent, incompetent at all levels, a disaster for 43% of the French “, or at his four-star hotel without” even a bottle of mineral water “in the room …
During the pandemic, the same man contemplated the world from his farm, with his potatoes, his donkey, which he interrupts in the middle of an interview with a loud “shut up!” when he brayed, and his hens, who continued to offer him “four fresh eggs a day.”