Filming on Olivier Meys’ La vie devant nous enters the home straight
- The Belgian filmmaker, who turned heads with his debut feature Bitter Flowers, has just wrapped filming on his second opus
Olivier Meys is about to wrap filming on La vie devant nous. The Belgian director first turned heads in 2017 with his debut fiction feature film Bitter Flowers [+see also:
interview: Olivier Meys
film profile], which painted the portrait of a young and ambitious woman called Lina who left her husband and son in China and made her way to Paris in order to secure a better future for them all, but who found that nothing went as planning upon arriving in Europe. The movie won the director the Magritte for Best First Film in 2019.
Meys is now focusing on an entirely different subject, homing in on the fate of young migrants detained in a centre in the heart of the Belgian countryside. 16-year-old Jahia lives in an asylum seekers’ centre. With no prospects, her fears over the future isolate her and stop her from living her life. One day, she meets Mila and is swept up in her crazy energy. Unfortunately, Mila’s family are ordered to leave the country. The latter sinks abruptly into a deep sleep, struck by resignation syndrome. Jahia does everything she can to rouse her friend and to avoid succumbing to the infectious despair around her.
Thus, La vie devant nous depicts two teenagers: Rania Noura Bance is from the Ivory Coast and Sofia Malovetsaka is Ukrainian. Following a long and brutal casting process, these two newcomer actresses were selected to play their roles on account of their own experience as migrants which led them to Western Europe.
These new faces selected to topline the film will be joined by the more familiar French actress Céline Sallette, who was recently seen in Green Tide and Bright Women [+see also:
film profile]. She has also just finished shooting her first feature-length directorial effort Niki, which is a biopic of the French-American artist Niki de Saint-Phalle.
For cinematography, Olivier Meys has reunited with director of photography Benoît Dervaux, who also helmed the lighting in Bitter Flowers, as well as in the more recent films put forth by the Dardenne brothers, who have provided Olivier Meys with yet another of their regular collaborators: editor Marie-Hélène Dozo.
The movie is mostly set in a centre for asylum seekers run by the Red Cross in the province of Liège, with filming carried out in direct collaboration with the people actually living there (working as extras, on the production team, etc.).
La vie devant nous is produced by Alice Lemaire and Sébastien Andres on behalf of Michigan Films, who were also recently responsible for Camping du Lac [+see also:
interview: Éléonore Saintagnan
film profile] by Eleonore Saintagnan - unveiled several weeks ago in Locarno, where it won the Special Cine+ Jury Prize - as well as Paloma Sermon-Daï’s first fiction feature It’s Raining in the House [+see also:
interview: Paloma Sermon-Daï
film profile], which was selected back in May for Cannes’ Critics’ Week, where it scooped the French Touch Prize. La vie devant nous is co-produced by Kidam in France and by Red Lions in Luxembourg. It also enjoys support from Canal+, RTBF and Proximus.
(Translated from French)
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