Last lap for Le Prince de ce monde
by Anne Feuillère
14/11/2006 - After a nine-week staggered shoot this summer and over the past few days, Manu Gomez’s debut feature Le Prince de ce monde (lit. "The Prince of This World") wrapped up filming today in Brussels’ imposing Fine Arts building. In the oppressive decor of a bureau with heaving bookshelves, leather couches and stuffed animals, the rather relaxed cast are rehearsing one of the crucial scenes in the film, trying to get the right flow of the dialogue and the appropriate matching gestures.
According to the protean artist-painter-sculptor Gomez, who previously worked in experimental cinema, "[Making] a feature that follows rather classical narrative lines is an experience in itself!" After several shorts and features, the director returns to his favourite themes: "Bosch, Bacon, Kafka and even Greenaway," a "fantastic, caustic" and terrifying universe to recount a "path to insanity" and "tense and power-dominated relationships between a young priest and his superiors, simple village locals and a decadent aristocracy, a story of good and evil".
Adapted from the novel "Le choix de Satan" (Satan’s Choice) by Maxime Benoît-Jeannin – who co-wrote the script with the director – Le Prince de ce monde is based on an event that shook France in 1956, when a young priest, brainwashed by a satanic sect, committed the monstrous act of killing a young woman with whom he had a relationship and extracted the baby she was carrying in her stomach in order to baptise it and offer it up for sacrifice.
The film – co-starring Lio, Jean-Claude Dreyfus and Robert Guilmard – stars French actor Laurent Lucas, who was charmed by the energy of the director and the story of this priest "who experiences a shocking descent into hell", and "who remains devoted to God even if he experiments with other things in life that are going to drive him mad". Alone and isolated, the "victim of forces that overwhelm him, he goes insane when everything he has worked for falls apart."
This is a fitting role for Lucas, who is particularly fond of disquieting oddness and characters who are "consumed", who experience events that move them, resist and lose clarity of vision, and experience "complexity like in life itself".
Produced by Monkey Productions with the director’s company MGV Productions and developed by Alexis Films, Le Prince de ce monde received €300,000 (almost 30% of its total budget) in backing from the Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Communauté française de Belgique et les télédistributeurs wallons".
The film has also secured investment from Imagine Film, who will handle the film’s distribution.
(Translated from French)