69th Venice International Film Festival
Director: Alberto Barbera
Out of Competition
Damien is a professor of Chinese civilization who lives with his wife, Iva, a theater director, and their son Noé. Their love is mired in a mountain of routine and disenchantment. To help keep Zorica from getting deported, Iva gets Damien to promise he’ll go to his father, a state department official, for help. But Damien and his father have a distant and cool relationship. And this mission is a risky business which will send Damien spiraling downward and over the edge...
language: French - s/t English, Italian
Jean-Pierre Bacri, Isabelle Carré, Kristin Scott Thomas
Illegal immigration is not the subject of Cherchez Hortense. If I had to put a word to it, I would say it’s about identity, or the visible portion thereof (which explains the title). My movie is a comedy, which means hopefully it will get some laughs and also that it ends well. Still, as in any comedy, the characters go through some very dramatic stuff—particularly the hero, Damien, who is being pulled in many directions at once. When Damien finally sees that the abstract commitment to an unknown person which is demanded of him actually coincides with the actual interest he has taken in a young woman encountered by chance, he realizes just how wrong he has been and fi nally swings into action. What Agnès and I have tried to achieve through this comedy is an exploration of self-confidence, which isn’t given but earned, or conquered. It’s about identity, an identity crisis, which for Damien spells an impossible confrontation with his father. But two other characters—who never meet and who are at first glance very different—both deal with this issue—Sebastien, the aforementioned father, and Aurore/Zorica, the young woman who’s on Damien’s mind. So to sum up the story that Agnès de Sacy and I have tried to tell here, let’s say it’s about a guy (Damien) who has to become visible so that a girl (Aurore) can remain invisible and, conversely, about giving up invisibility in order to finally live life to its fullest.