(Cannes) Charlotte Le Bon is the only Quebecois to have presented a film in the Cannes Film Festival selection this year. And his hawk lakea very beautiful initiatory story, intimate and poetic, had an exceptional reception in the Directors’ Fortnight.
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The 845-seat Théâtre Croisette was packed Sunday night for the world premiere of the first feature film by the Quebec actress, who has had a career spanning more than a decade in France.
His team, which includes the young Sara Montpetit and Joseph Engel in the lead roles, was long applauded by festival goers and other Fortnight viewers, the general public more than the film industry, a particularity of the sections parallel.
“It is a kind of consecration to be selected for Cannes! Charlotte Le Bon confided in me a few hours earlier, when I met her at the very chic Terrasse Albane, located just above the Théâtre Croisette. The nightclub of the stars, overlooking the Bay of Cannes, is transformed during the day into a place for meetings and interviews.
The 35-year-old filmmaker was all the more satisfied with this selection as Directors’ Fortnight general delegate Paolo Moretti chose his film when he didn’t know it at all. His star status in France, since it was revealed by the Canal + channel, would not have influenced his decision.
hawk lake, which does not yet have a theatrical release date in Quebec, centers on the emotional upbringing and first loves of a 13-year-old Frenchman (Engel). When Bastien’s family comes to vacation at a lakeside chalet where his mother from Quebec (Monia Chokri) grew up with her childhood friend (Karine Gonthier-Hyndman), she instantly falls under the spell of Chloe.
The 16-year-old, who is a bit eccentric and believes her own ghost stories, is immediately irritated by the boy’s intrusion into her life (they share the same bedroom), but she likes Bastien. Is it the affection of an older sister for a little brother? Chloe dates 18-19 year olds, drinks, smokes and is fascinated with death. Bastien is especially fascinated by Chloé.
Produced in particular by French actors and directors Dany Boon and Jalil Lespert, for whom Charlotte Le Bon acted in Yves Saint-Laurent, hawk lake It deals with the early days, with the petty jealousies and humiliations of the ungrateful time. Charlotte Le Bon’s production is particularly neat and subtle, with a splendid play of shadows on faces and silhouettes, special care in the soundtrack and an enigmatic ending that stays in the mind for a long time.
“It’s the first film I’ve produced that isn’t mine,” says Jalil Lespert, whom I met by chance in Albane. It was Lespert who suggested to his friend that she read the graphic novel. A sisterof Bastien Vivès, whose hawk lake It is a very free adaptation. The Quebecois appropriated the story and transposed it from the Sea of Brittany to a lake in the Laurentides.
“It was also reassuring to shoot in a place that I know very well, he says, where I grew up as a teenager and where I spent all my summers. There is a kind of ambivalence in the landscapes of Quebec that I really like. In summer, you feel that nature has absorbed all the snow. It is exuberant, nature is in full power, like those adolescents who experience their first impulses, those first emotions. At the same time, the waters of the lakes are black, you can’t see the depths, there is a very small death floating! I find lakes more mysterious than the sea.”
In the placid lake where his story takes place, in the dense and disturbing forest that surrounds it, one apprehends the drama at any moment. Filming took place in the aptly named town of Gore, in the Lachute region. “The movie is a bit dark. I did not expect it because I experienced this shoot almost like a vacation”, comments the young Joseph Engel, discovered by Charlotte Le Bon in a Louis Garrel film, the crusade.
The filmmaker, on the other hand, had not seen Sara Montpetit in the lead role of Mary Chapdelaine, by Sébastien Pilote, when he chose her to play Chloé. The young actress was apprehensive when she read the graphic novel that inspired the film, especially because of the “pretty crude, stereotypical images of women,” she says. “I was relieved to read Charlotte’s script, which is very different from the comics. »
Charlotte Le Bon openly admits that early versions of her script were “pretty erudite” and lacked originality. “I was expelled by SODEC! It was brutal! she laughs herself, referring to the many notes in the second version of the script, which inspired her to create a more unique work.
Only when I started to inject a bit of strangeness and the fascination I have for ghosts, for the backworld, for all this melancholic side, between two worlds, that we have found with my collaborator François Choquet, who is a co-writer, the identity of the movie. I started to have fun, to have more ideas, and that’s when we got funding from SODEC!
An ambiguous game of seduction is at the heart of hawk lakewhich is one of the candidates for the Caméra d’or, which is awarded to the best debut film at the Cannes Festival, all the sections together.
“Bastien has one foot as a child and one foot as an adolescent, and Chloé has one foot as an adolescent and one foot as an adult,” says Charlotte Le Bon. They meet at this little crossroads between the two. She has an ascendancy over him that she doesn’t necessarily have with men older than her. She plays with him, manipulates him a bit, but realizes he might be funnier and smarter than she thought. »
“Teenagers are cruel,” he adds. All my memories of adolescence are cruel. I’ve been through so many betrayals. I liked, and that’s what I put of myself in the character, that Chloé at the same time was a little scared by the sexual impulses of men who are older than her, who look at her with gender. »
The omnipresent male perspective in cinema inspired the self-taught filmmaker, who presented her first short film at Cannes, Hotel Judith, as part of the Adami talent show in 2018, to make a first feature film. “I recognize that the fact of being an actress and sometimes facing the visions of directors that I did not like, of experiencing disappointments, frustrations as well, perhaps gave me the little push of the final farewell and the courage to leave. And tell myself that I could do it. »
It is mainly men who have directed her to the cinema since her debut, recalls the actress, who is also a painter, photographer and illustrator. “It is a bit banal to say it, but they had a priori, they had clichéd ideas of femininity. For me it was important that my female character was not in the female archetypes of the little dress or the little skirt. On the contrary, she is weird, she is dark. I identified much more with a character like that. I wrote a character that I would have liked to play at Sara’s age. »
It was a kind of Quebec Sunday in Cannes. In addition to hawk lake, the actors Théodore Pellerin and Vassili Schneider presented films on the Croisette. The first of the Directors’ Fortnight in one of the main roles of Continental drift (to the south), by Lionel Baier (whose director of photography is Josée Deshaies from Quebec). The second in a secondary role of almond treesby Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, one of the most inspired films in the official competition to date.
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