Opening 7 Apr 2022
Writing credits: Jacques Audiard, Nicolas Livecchi, Léa Mysius, Céline Sciamma, Adrian Tomine
Principal actors: Lucie Zhang, Makita Samba, Noémie Merlant, Jehnny Beth, Camille Léon-Fucien
Six exceptional comic book stories from the 2015 collection of Killing and Dying by American cartoonist Adrian Tomine acted as the mainframe for French director, scriptwriter, and producer Jacques Audiard’s new film Les Olympiades.
Due to their wide range of focus, we find ourselves in a labyrinth of stories introducing to an array of unpredictable characters with hidden histories. Behind these stories lies a dark sense of humor which sets the tone of the film. The ambitious script was Audiard’s collaboration with two feminists Céline Sciamma and Léa Mysius. Sciamma was a founding member of the French branch of the 50/50 by 2020 movement which took off in 2019, first in Sweden and then at the Berlinale and has the strong idea of changing the views we have on gender roles which we see clearly in this film. Both these women have created their own award-winning films featured at Cannes and the Berlinale and therefore make a perfect team in the creation of Audiard’s most ambitious and empathetic film he has ever made to date.
The film focuses on four adult characters that deeply touch us with their struggle to find themselves while hanging out on the fringes of the concrete jungle of Paris outskirts. Émilie (Lucie Zhang), an Asian student, attempts to create an alternative life that breaks tradition with the expectations of her parents while the intellectual Camille (Makita Samba) desperately searches for success but finds love instead. In taking a closer look at the characters, many of us may find ourselves remembering actress Noémie Merlant who played an incredible role in the French historical lesbian-romance Portrait of Lady on Fire which appeared at Filmfest Hamburg 2019, now takes on the role of Nora who finds herself with a double-ganger who works in the sex industry and takes a risk to discover her shadow. This is more an art piece than a film and should be seen more than once in order to catch all its nuances. The cinematography is sure to linger in the back of your mind long after this film has come to an end. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)