Run: run and, above all, turn around!
by Bénédicte Prot
- Through the initiating journey of a character we follow from childhood into adulthood, from one identity to the next, Philippe Lacôte tells us a story of violence in the Ivory Coast
Philippe Lacôte, invited to Cannes in the Un Certain Regard section to present the French Ivorian co-production Run [+see also:
film profile], is in the running for the Caméra d'or. The precious gaze it sets on the different facets of its country, its magical landscapes, the confusion between what is real and what is imaginary and the violence, which is so omnipresent - all elements contribute to blur the borders between life and death.
The film kicks off with a killing in a hypnotic scene in which we see a character with a mad face striding towards his victim: the prime minister. While he runs to escape arrest, this young man whose nickname is Run (Abdoul Karim Konaté) tells us about his life on the road, fleeing “like the sand in the hand of a child.” We are guided through his journey, which led to his act.
This journey, divided into three, is one that Run the orphan undertook by positioning himself under the tutelage of various mentors. Tourou was his spiritual guide, “he who can make it rain.” Gladys is the professional eater – an enormous woman full of life, with whom he toured the country (shown to us through beautiful shots). Shared with her are his happiest moments and his passage into adulthood. Then there is the Admiral – a young political leader working for the prime minister. During the course of this existential journey, a permanent transformational process occurs, which holds an initiation quality to it, but is also held necessary by the leap from one step to the next – to escape, move forward and look ahead.
His final step, given to him by his last protector Assa (Isaach De Bankolé), is that of a madman, and this story of Run’s tells us the story of a madman, who – in order to decapitate his master Tourou – has started to run, up until he finally commits murder, without any motive except that of putting an end to his flight.
Lacôte explains that the point of view of a madman perfectly lent itself to his country – in this inquest into Ivory Coast’s history of violence. Through Run’s crazy journey, the young director seeks to understand what happened to his country to lead up to the culture of daily violence, where a person can be killed in the midst of general indifference.
As for his film’s form, with its organisation of frames highlighting Run’s life changes (from student, to dandy to nightlife king), Lacôte attributes this to the fascinating way in which he discovered cinema at the Magic theatre in Abidjan. Run is not just a story of violence told through the eyes of a madman, but it is also a beautiful piece of work, told by someone who is mad… about cinema.
(Translated from French)