La Biennale di Venezia

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Gilles Bourdos - Espèces menacées

Orizzonti – Competition



France, Belgium / 105’
language French
cast Alice Isaaz, Vincent Rottiers, Grégory Gadebois, Suzanne Clement, Eric Elmosnino, Alice De Lencquesaing, Carlo Brandt, Agathe Dronne, Damien Chapelle, Brigitte Catillon, Pauline Etienne, Frédéric Pierrot
screenplay Michel Spinosa, Gilles Bourdos
cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-Ping
editor Yannick Kergoat
production designer Guillaume Deviercy
costume designer Virginie Montel
music Alexandre Desplat, John Cage, Willis Earl Beal, Juventino Rosas
sound François Waledisch, Valérie Deloof, Thomas Gauder

Synopsis

Three interlinked family stories. Josephine and Tomas are happy newlyweds, but Josephine’s parents quickly discover a darker reality behind the couple’s glowing matrimonial bliss. Meanwhile, Melanie announces to her parents that she is pregnant—and the father is far from the ideal son-in-law! And lastly Anthony, his head in the clouds and unlucky in love, who is faced with having to take charge of his suddenly uncontrollable mother.

Director’s Statement

The film is conceived as if it were the game of Happy Families, in which the cards are continually called onto the table. Espèces menacées is based on the concept of confrontation, on the clash, the conflict between father and daughter, between son and mother, between husband and wife, in which fathers are challenged by the romantic choices of their daughters, in which a son has to deal with the disastrous married life of his parents... The situations reverberate on one another, entering a resounding chamber, creating amplified effects. While making this film I found it particularly emotional to tell a multifaceted story in which the tragic verges on the comic. Constructing a “mosaic film,” i.e. “one made entirely of individual tesserae,” is the same as putting together an object with many faces that eludes any all- embracing conclusion in terms of meaning. Our three family stories are guided by diametrically opposite dynamics: one father sinks into madness, another is reconciled with his daughter, a wife throws off her neurosis to rediscover the role of mother. The bosom of the family is precisely where some find refuge, while others go under. For this reason I also wanted the end of the film to be open to multiple interpretations. In the last sequence, while some will find a tangible motive for hope in the radiant expression on the face of Alice Isaaz, others will tend to remember the title of the film and have the impression of a gloomy ending. Both will be right.

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