The film that shocked Cannes is released in Geneva

The film that shocked Cannes is released in Geneva

We are in a forest, in the heart of the night. Some noblemen chased from the court of Louis XVI meet to indulge in their favorite activity, libertinism. The bodies feel and assemble, the deformities are expressed, the fluids spring up, and we speak - albeit little - of that. At the last Cannes Festival, "Liberty" by Albert Serra, which appeared in the "Un certain regard" section, shocked a number of festival-goers and angered a few others. In question, raw sequences, uncommon in today's starched cinema - charcutage of a bloody stump for enjoyable purposes, characters in wigs urinating on them, various copulations - and an apparent absence of narration in this night fawn which may seem free to those who do not know the cinema of Albert Serra.

"I understand that we can come out of my film shocked," explained the director a few days ago. "I wanted to make a film about the lack of night logic. "Freedom" does not provide feelings, it empties people. It corresponds somewhat to the mechanics of Sade, that of the "120 days of Sodom". I would even say that what we see in the film goes against all contemporary concerns. I love the 18th century French, because it corresponds to a period when absolutism becomes extreme. It’s the first time that people have consciously thought about desire. It’s also a century of ambiguity. ”

To make this film, Serra’s method, which won the Golden Leopard at Locarno in 2013 for “Histoire de ma mort”, remains special. “I work with three cameras and take very long shots. The whole team was led into a space that reproduces the isolation they live on the screen. Then I listen but I don't watch the scenes. As for the actors, they have diverse origins. There are even several technicians playing in the film, as well as actors who have never played. It’s the opposite of the usual shootings. The film is taken from a play I edited in Berlin. One of the critics, bad, described it as a two and a half hour show in which actors are abandoned on stage. This is exactly what I was looking for in the film. "

At the heart of this curious distribution is an astonishing Helmut Berger. "He was already in the room," said Albert Serra. We convinced him quite easily. And then he held up well. He was sober, never drunk, nice. Everyone at first was a little afraid of it. But unlike Jean-Pierre Léaud in "La mort de Louis XIV", where he was involved in every way, Helmut Berger only did a few days. "

From Cannes, "Liberté" is selected in many festivals. “I travel non-stop. Before Geneva and GIFF, I was in Thessaloniki. My film is appreciated everywhere, because it creates a tension which contaminates the room. Sometimes until you feel unwell. And the public likes it, basically. ”Pascal Gavillet

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