Cinema: moral, Parisian and mixed-race tales, by Jacques Audiard

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(AFP) – It goes where we did not expect it: with “The Olympiades”, in theaters Wednesday, Jacques Audiard looks at the thwarted loves of thirty Parisians, in a sort of contemporary update of Eric Rohmer’s “moral tales”.

The film by the director of 69 ans is shot in sumptuous black and white, in a district of the capital rarely shown on screen: the Olympiads, large ensemble of 10 e arrondissement.

Based on a script whose writing was initiated by the filmmaker Céline Sciamma, very committed to issues of feminism and screen representation , the film crisscrosses the lives of thirty-something in search of love. “and the deeper relations, or the relations between genres.

In” The Olympics “we meet Nora (Noémie Merlant), climb in Paris to resume her studies, Emilie (Lucie Zhang) a young woman of Chinese origin like many locals, who studied at Sciences-Po but lives in a roommate and does small jobs, and Amber Sweet (Jehnny Beth) , who earns a living by doing the cam-girl, erotic shows via the internet.

And only one boy, Camille (Makita Samba), teacher who prepares the aggregation, who sleep with Emilie without expecting anything … and waits to sleep with Nora.

“The film tells about a world where (when) meetings happen, it’s first the bodies that speak and then we discuss “, summarized Noémie Merlant, the only known figure of the band, in Cannes.

This casting gives a very good share to new talents, as often with the son of Michel Audiard, who propelled Tahar Rahim to his beginnings in what remains one of his strongest roles (“A Prophet”, 2009), or dared to build a film like “Dheepan” (Palme d’Or 2015) with comé Sri Lankan non-professionals.

– Without “night wandering” –

“Dheepan” also had buildings towers as a backdrop, but the resemblance to “The Olympics”, a light and spirited film, electrified by an electro soundtrack composed by Rone, stop there.

“I wanted to make a comedy with a strong female presence”, Jacques Audiard told AFP during the presentation of the film in Cannes. A step aside for the one who has often filmed with blackness a very exacerbated masculinity, in “De beating mon coeur s’arré” with Romain Duris, or “Les Frères Sisters”, his previous film, a western shot in the United States. United.

This time, the characters are “young adults, who have done a lot of studies, who are of different ethnicities and are like vacant”, not yet parents nor in stable couples, explains Jacques Audiard, his eternal hat on his head.

Adaptation of graphic stories by American cartoonist Adrien Tomine, “Les Olympiades” is a “moral tale” according to Jacques Audiard, one of the most awarded directors of French cinema, who claims the influence of Eric Rohmer, but also of “Manhattan” by Woody Allen, transposed into today’s mixed youth and freed from shackles

The film also plays on a tender humor, taken from the daily life of shared accommodation in a small apartment.

The Covid, too, weighed on the shoot, forcing the director to take more interior shots, or to systematically use extras in the background to avoid framing masked passers-by, a bit like for a “film period “.

With a” regret “, for a film imbued with romanticism:” not having been able to make scenes of nocturnal wandering of lovers in the streets “of Paris .

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