Bandit Rouge for La Sélection
by Fabien Lemercier
- Fred Nicolas’ sophomore feature-film project is among the 12 titles being presented today by the Gan Foundation for Cinema and Le Groupe Ouest
This afternoon, the first edition of La Sélection will be held in Paris; this annual event was launched by the Gan Foundation for Cinema and Le Groupe Ouest in order to shine a spotlight on 12 projects being developed by emerging filmmakers (either first or second feature films) that the two organisations are supporting. Standing out particularly among the auteurs who will be presenting their projects to the film-industry professionals in attendance (including producers, distributors, sales agents and so on) is Fred Nicolas. Currently on the cinema listings with his feature debut, the head-turner Max et Lenny [+see also:
film profile], the filmmaker has again teamed up with François Bégaudeau (the lead actor and the winner of the César for Best Adaptation – of his own book – in 2009 for The Class [+see also:
interview: Carole Scotta
interview: Laurent Cantet
film profile], which also snagged the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2008) to write the screenplay for Bandit Rouge (lit. “Red Bandit”), which revolves around the path chosen by the “gangster-revolutionary” Charlie Bauer.
The story kicks off in Marseille in 1960. A police officer is questioning a young man about his rebellious activities. Twenty-year-old Charlie doesn’t say a word in response to the relentless barrage of questions that seem to intertwine politics and criminality. Gradually, through his increasingly aggressive interrogation and the half-conscious Charlie’s daydreams of the past, the story of a young man of Jewish heritage unfolds, a man who is up in arms about the squalid conditions in the slum of L’Estaque. His anger gives way to political activism, and the armed action he undertakes later gives way to banditry, at a brutal moment in history – the Algerian War. Together with his gang, Charlie holds up the region’s banks, strips trains of all their goods and breaks into luxury shops in order to redistribute the booty to the most needy in his neighbourhood, as well as to the FLN liberation front to support the Algerian cause. There will be countless run-ins with the police, and people dying all around him. Their trail of destruction comes to an end with an arrest by the military as Charlie and his gang are celebrating Algeria’s independence. That takes us up to November 1963. And in spite of the electroshock torture that the army subjects him to, Charlie does not abandon his convictions and does not snitch on anyone. Thrown into prison at just 20 years of age, he will stay there for a quarter of a century...
The 11 other projects at this first edition of La Sélection are Les Garçons n'existent pas (lit. “Boys Don’t Exist”) by Cécile Mille, L'Ange Forel (lit. “The Forel Angel”) by Muriel Edelstein, Les Insoumises (lit. “The Disobedient”) by Pablo Agüero and Katell Guillou, L'Age de déraison (lit. “The Age of Madness”) by Joël Brisse, Sentinelle Sud (lit. “South Sentry”) by Mathieu Gérault, Des jours, des mois, des années (lit. “Days, Months, Years”) by David Lambert, Le Gardien (lit. “The Watchman”) by Stéfan Le Lay, Rochus by François Lunel, Eaux Noires (lit. “Black Waters”) by Fabrice Main, Les Néons de Babylone (lit. “The Neon Lights of Babylon”) by Laurent Salgues, and La Course de l'Occident (lit. “The Race of the West”) by Nicolas Verpilleux.
(Translated from French)