Death by Death voted Best First Film at Palm Springs
by Aurore Engelen
- The Best First Film Award at Palm Springs provides Xavier Seron’s film with huge visibility on the international stage
Last weekend, Death by Death [+see also:
interview: Xavier Seron
film profile] by Xavier Seron, which was revealed last autumn at the Namur International French-Language Film Festival, won the Best First Film Award at the Palm Springs Film Festival, one of the most prestigious gatherings in the United States, especially as it represents a real running board in the race for the Oscars, and actually draws a great deal of attention from the specialist media. The movie is therefore being offered a huge amount of visibility, and of course we should also mention the substantial in-kind prize that comes with it, comprising $60,000 worth of equipment rental from Panavision.
Presented as an international premiere, Death by Death was among 12 films competing in the New Voices/New Visions section, dedicated to debut works. The jury, comprising US distributors, lauded "this Belgian dark comedy for its humour and unique, unexpected approach to narrative storytelling that pushes form and structure within a story that follows themes that are common to many films".
Death by Death tells the story of thirtysomething Michel, who has decided to stop smoking. However, that won’t stop him from dying, and he knows it. It’s inevitable. It’s all his mother’s fault. By giving him life, she gave him death… Death by Death is just as over the top as its black-and-white cinematography is full of contrast. But it is precisely these overindulgences that make the movie exciting, along with the director’s uninhibited way of trying, even if it sometimes means failing. With this unusual feature debut, Xavier Seron boldly tries his hand at all kinds of madness: wordplay, schoolboy humour, irritatingly awkward moments, scathing caricatures and, above all, a relationship with the intimate that often borders on the mundane.
Death by Death was produced by Novak Prod and Tobina Films with the support of the Film and Audiovisual Centre of the Wallonia Brussels Federation, the Belgian Tax Shelter, the CNC and the Brittany region. The film comes out in Belgium in April and is being sold abroad by Stray Dogs.
(Translated from French)