– CANNES 2022: Witchcraft plays a bad trick on Léa Mysius in an overambitious film that puzzles despite many intrinsic qualities
Adele Exarchopoulos in The Five Devils
“Did you love me before I existed?” This worried question of a ten-year-old girl discovering that the past of her parents, and especially her mother, bears little resemblance to the perfect wedding photograph displayed at home and at the work of her progenitor is at the heart of the Five Devils [+lire aussi :
fiche film]the long-awaited second feature by Lea Mysius (revealed with Ava [+lire aussi :
interview : Léa Mysius
fiche film] at Cannes Critics’ Week 2017), presented at the Directors’ Fortnight from the 75th Cannes film festival.
Unfortunately, despite a demonstration of very solid directing qualities in spectacular mountain panoramas, the feeling prevails that the director has let herself be carried away by an attractive idea on paper, but very delicate to implement since the story uses the fantastic to clear up the realistic, sentimental and quasi-psychoanalytical knots that permeate the atmosphere. It is even innate witchcraft that is involved. Why not, you will say to me because we have already seen the implausible take shape many times in the cinema by seizing without firing a shot the spirit and the soul of the spectator. But for this alchemy or sorcery to work, the elements (water, fire, earth and air) must be totally mastered by the person who manipulates them at the risk of turning against their creator, in the process. occurrence a creator.
What is it exactly? The little Métis Vicky (Sally Drame) lived ten years of love and happiness with his mother Joanne the aquagym teacher (Adèle Exarchopoulos) and his firefighter father Jimmy (Moustapha Mbengue), who came from Senegal in the past. Harassed at school because of her hair look (to cries of “toilet broom”), Vicky developed an extraordinary sense of smell (worthy of that of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille in The perfume). Also, when his aunt Julia (Swala Emati) shows up unexpectedly (“we haven’t seen each other for ten years, these are things that happen when you’re an adult” specifies Jimmy), to the great displeasure of his mother, Vicky feels although something is wrong. And the discovery of a small bottle of an enigmatic black liquid will precipitate her into the past of those around her, invisible to everyone except Julia. Interacting time travels that reveal immense secrets…
Training at the lake for a maximum of 20 minutes in freezing water at 7° because beyond that, it’s hypothermia and the heart stops, devastating fire and disfigured face, mad passionate love between two women, poisonous weight of rumor in a small provincial town: The Five Devils reconstructs the puzzle of the past which repeats itself in the present which in turn shapes the past. A sprawling prefabricated loop that does not convince, failing to compose a homogeneous solution, even if almost all its ingredients (in particular the female performers and the photography of Paul Guilhaume) taken separately are very well made. But the witchcraft of mixing genres is an art that requires caution and the daring Léa Mysius will undoubtedly draw instructive lessons from it for the future because the talent is there, but she has to channel the source.
Produced by Trois Brigands Productions and by F comme Film, The Five Devils is sold by Wild Bunch International.