Jimmy Rivière challenges gypsy stereotypes
by Fabien Lemercier
09/03/2011 - He’s a gypsy who loves Thai boxing and the girl he is forbidden from loving, two passions that are disapproved of by his Pentecostal travelling community. Teddy Lussi-Modeste has grabbed the attention of critics with his debut feature Jimmy Rivière [trailer] (Audience Award at the Premiers Plans Film Festival in Angers), which is being launched today on 33 screens by Pyramide.
Carried by an outstanding Guillaume Gouix (recently acclaimed in Nobody Else But You [trailer]), with fine supporting performances by Hafsia Herzi and Béatrice Dalle, the film surfs on a feverish energy in a misunderstood world, resonating with current events.
"The film doesn’t denounce or demand anything," commented the director who co-wrote the screenplay with Rebecca Zlotowski (Dear Prudence [trailer]). "I think some viewers, including perhaps the best-intentioned ones, will be surprised. They won’t recognise the image of gypsies they’ve been shown up to now. There are many stereotypes that remain embedded in the collective imaginary (…)”
“My film describes how an individual renegotiates his place within a group, how he attains individuality in fact. Jimmy’s family has planned many things for him. But this family is itself governed by the rules of the community. The alienation is twofold. My film tries to look at that; how someone manages to disalienate himself a bit and assert something different within the group."
Five other French narrative films are hitting theatres this Wednesday, including Julien Leclercq’s compelling The Assault [trailer] (see news – Mars Distribution on 228 screens), about the 1994 Airbus hostage-taking incident. Other releases are Régis Wargnier’s patchy sports melodrama The Straight Line [trailer] (see news – Gaumont in 230 theatres); Dominique Farrugia’s solid comedy The Marquis [trailer] (Pathé Films in almost 420 theatres); Marina Déak’s feminine-centred portrait Pursuit [trailer] (Contre-Allée Distribution in six theatres); and F.J. Ossang’s radical Dharma Guns (La Succession Starkov) [trailer], which was unveiled at Venice in the Horizons section (see news – Solaris Distribution in six theatres).
Meanwhile, ARP Sélection is releasing a generous 120-print run of We Want Sex Equality [trailer] by Brit director Nigel Cole (see video interview), which won acclaim out of competition at the Rome Film Festival (see review).
Finally, two documentaries complete this week’s European panorama: Winds of Sand, Women of Rock by Belgium’s Natalie Borgers (distribution: Eurozoom) and Open Sky by France’s Ines Compan (Mosaïque Films).
(Translated from French)