Premonition premieres to applause for Darroussin
by Paolo Menzione
Critics Week kicked off in style this year on Lido. The same grand style behind the directorial debut of actor Jean Pierre Darroussin, one of the most familiar faces, even abroad, of French cinema, the favourite actor of Robert and a regular in the comedies by Agnès Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri.
His first feature film, Premonition [+see also:
film profile], based on the 1930s novel by Emmanuel Bove, was received very warmly by the critics and public alike this afternoon at the festival. The film tells the story of a rather unique man, a wealthy lawyer who, one day, tired of his existence, decides to break with the past and present. He leaves his family and friends, his job and privileged lifestyle, to begin a spartan and solitary life in a working class neighbourhood in Paris.
The character intrigued Darrousin from the first page. "Twenty years ago,” he said at the festival, “I read Le Pressentiment. I was left with a memory of a very mysterious plot, marked by disturbing elements, such as, for example, the way the main character managed to distance himself from his surroundings. It is a subject that fascinates me because I myself have never felt completely a part of life ".
Actually, although he is detached and a little absent-minded, the lawyer, Charles Bénestau, dedicates himself to helping others, not unlike Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie Poulain, yet here the tone is more sombre, less lively and cooperative. The setting is also fascinating: a Paris rarely captured in film, seen from outside; a Paris of somewhat shabby inner courtyards of its very poor neighbourhoods and public gardens.
The various characters that cross Bénestau’s path include a rather unbearable housekeeper played by Valérie Stroh, also the film’s co-screenwriter.
(Translated from Italian)
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