69th Venice International Film Festival
Director: Alberto Barbera
language: French - s/t English, Italian
Kad Merad, Cecile De France
I began with a scene in the metro: passengers photographing and asking autographs from a nobody, who has no idea why they’re interested in him. He is Martin Kazinski and up until this day he was just another face in the crowd, with no ambition other than to do his job and lead a “normal” life. But the more he refuses this absurd celebrity, wanting only to return to his anonymity, the more people will love him. The more Martin will say modestly “I don’t want to be famous,” the more they will reply “That’s why we love you.” The more he tries to escape the system, the more he will lose himself in it. Martin is trapped in a contemporary labyrinth, with its rapacious media, intrusive social networks, crumbling human values and collapsing culture. Right away, I wanted to give his race to escape the madness that seems to take hold of the world a cinematic energy, simultaneously Kafkaesque and Hitchcockian. I wanted us to grow close to this man like a brother, to feel his hopes and his fears, to stick with him through his ordeals—by turn cruel and funny—to be moved by his melancholy view of a world collapsing to the soundtrack of an automatic talk show applause. It’s the story of a lone man standing up against oppression. The story of a man who wants to preserve his dignity, his anonymity, and his decency. I hope it’s also the story of human societies, past and contemporary, and their need for idolatry and sacrifi ce, that blind madness that can take possession of crowds, inciting them to cut off heads, burn books or tweet while watching cable tv. This is the turmoil in which I wanted my camera to venture, these are the faces on which I wanted to seek what human truth remains for us, and the spaces in which I wanted to examine our History.