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CANNES 2024 Un Certain Regard

Julien Colonna • Director de Le Royaume

"Es importante mostrar la maquinaria del crimen organizado durante su inevitable extinción programada"

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- CANNES 2024: El cineasta francés habla de su primer largo, una ficción parcialmente inspirada en un recuerdo de su infancia, sobre un padre y una hija a la fuga

Julien Colonna • Director de Le Royaume
(© Fabrizio de Gennaro/Cineuropa)

Este artículo está disponible en inglés.

French filmmaker Julien Colonna chatted with us about his first feature film, Le Royaume [+lee también:
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, which is world premiering in the Un Certain Regard section of the 77th Cannes Film Festival.

Cineuropa: Where did the idea for this film come from? To what extent is it based upon real-life events?
Julien Colonna
: It all stems from the time when my wife announced she was pregnant six years ago. I wondered about the child I was going to have and the dad I was going to try to be, and I also thought about the type of child I’d been and the parents I myself had had. A fairly striking memory from my childhood then floated to the surface. I must have been around ten years old; I was with my father and some friends of his in a campsite by the sea on the wild Corsican coast, with nothing and no-one else around us. We spent our days fishing, chatting, telling stories, and we slept under the stars. But, years later, I found out that what I’d thought was a nice getaway with friends had actually been an entirely different thing for my father. That’s how the idea to write a fictional film about a father and a daughter on the run came about; and while they’re on the run, they get to know, understand and love one another.

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Why the female character?
My co-screenwriter Jeanne Herry and I felt that it would be more interesting, from a dramaturgical point of view, to place a little girl in a predominantly male environment. What’s especially important is the divide between the world of children and the world of adults, which is really opaque. I didn’t transpose myself into Leisa - I would have loved to have had her courage and determination. I took inspiration from the parent-child relationship that I’d had, from the truth surrounding the world that I knew, but the idea was to write a pure fiction film.

All of your actors are non-professional. Why so?
The film is set in Corsica, it’s written by a Corsican and features Corsican characters, so it was obvious to me that I had to work with locals. For the two main roles - for Leisa’s, who had to be over 16 years old, for production reasons, but who was actually supposed to look a bit younger, and for the father’s, who was in his mid-fifties, there weren’t many actors or actresses of those ages in Corsica, and that didn’t fit with my plans. So we carried out an eight-month wild casting process. It was incredibly challenging, not least vis-a-vis my producers to whom I had to explain how choosing someone well-known in France could damage the underlying substance of the film. Ghjuvanna Benedetti and Saveriu Santucci, whom I eventually chose, had to learn what it meant to embody a character and they worked tirelessly in the workshops we organised with an acting coach in Corsica and Paris. It was mind-boggling to witness their evolution and to see them discovering a potential they never knew they had within themselves.

How do you go about depicting the world of organised crime with authenticity?
Corsica is both a paradisiacal island and a tragic land. And all of us Corsicans are immersed in this reality, which brings us wonderful things but also the worst possible news, which is always very closely connected to those kinds of people. In just one single family, there can be thugs, lawyers, doctors, etc. It’s a work of observation, a desire to get as close as possible to those people’s reality, which is ultimately a life of misery. I didn’t want to produce yet another portrait of people lusting after an easy life, money, power, posh restaurants, beautiful women on their arms, etc. The reality is, they live like hunted animals: one day they’re being chased, the next they’re the ones doing the chasing. It was important to show the machine of organised crime as one which results in death, and these men who are like dead men walking.

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(Traducción del francés)

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